They restore the Cova de les Morretes in Benitatxell, where a XNUMXth century treasure was found They restore the Cova de les Morretes in Benitatxell, where a XNUMXth century treasure was found

They restore the Cova de les Morretes in Benitatxell, where a XNUMXth century treasure was found

January 10 from 2023 - 15: 29

The Cova de les Morretes in Poble Nou de Benitatxell is already a museum facing the sea. After the important discoveries of a XNUMXth century treasure, the restoration work on the cave has finally been completed, located on the Ruta dels Penya-segats, in a privileged place that has one of the most spectacular views of the Alicante coast.

It was not clear when these cave houses were built, only the date of abandonment, around the 50s and 60s of the XNUMXth century. It was thanks to the discovery of the little treasure and other related coins that allowed archaeologists to date the beginning of occupation of these caves around the end of the XNUMXth century. They served as a refuge for people of humble condition who were engaged in fishing and the exploitation of the surrounding terraces. As a complement to their precarious situation they practiced smuggling, very possibly tobacco.

The project, carried out by the company Arqueo Inventario SL, has had some meticulous work, which at all times has preserved the essence and original materials. The first phase of the project consisted of clearing the area, cleaning the cave and making a 3D photogrammetric model and drone flight to recreate the space.

Later, the rehabilitation of the walls, the ceiling and the interior elements began, such as the manger or the area of ​​continuous benches. The part of the roof attached to the bedrock was one of the most deteriorated. It had been detached by water leaks, which were undoing the lime mortar that they had used to glue the stones. This made the wall of the cave move and there were loose stones. Meticulously, the stones of the original construction were removed to be reused in the reconstruction, and then they were sealed with the same materials, in the case of the walls with lime mortar.

The interior continuous stone benches were also restored with the original materials, one of them using the dry stone technique and the other using the adobe technique, a mixture of mud, sand and vegetable fibers. Outside, the stone walls were rebuilt using the best materials, and the manger area and continuous benches were restored.

The study of the manger has given a lot of information about the ceramics, since it was where the owner of the cave threw them when they broke. Many fragments have turned up and thanks to this a tableware with plates, basins and a basin has been identified. A study has also been carried out on the materials that have appeared in the exterior benches, which were used for storage. It is presumed that the animal, probably a donkey, ate carob beans and straw. Likewise, fragments of almond shells have been observed, with which it can be assumed that the owner of the cave was dedicated to collecting almonds from the terraces, stored them there and took them to the town with the animal. Another of the benches would have been used to store firewood.

To protect the interior of the cave, which was used as a toilet by people on the route, it has been closed off with a strong wooden door with two lintels. The door has a window with bars so that when it is not possible to visit, it is possible to see the interior of the cave from the outside, as well as the elements that are going to be recovered or recreated: a restored cupboard, replicas of the ceramics that have been found in the intervention and the treasure of 68 coins.

And it is that the claim of the Heritage and Culture area is to make the cave a museum so that it can be visited in person and virtually, making it an accessible place for all people. "We want to preserve and protect this site and value the extremely important treasures that have been found thanks to the work of the professionals from Arqueo Inventario," said Councilor Víctor Bisquert.

To do this, the information panel will be updated and renewed in three languages ​​(Valencian, Spanish and English), a map of the cave, a photograph of the treasure and a QR code to access the 3D model will be added.

In addition, La Cova de les Morretes has been the subject of the innovative final degree project for Journalism 'Immersive archaeological experience in 360° video', in collaboration with the Miguel Hernández University.

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