The Piédrola site is located six kilometers northwest of the town of Alcázar de San Juan. From the topographic point of view, the site extends over a plain area, although with gentle undulations, cut in two halves by the construction of the train track that connects Alcázar de San Juan with Madrid. The presence of good quality subway water in this place explains the persistent human occupation of the site over time until it became one of the most important archaeological sites in the region, at least in terms of extension and chronology.Show more content
The archaeological interventions in collaboration with the City Council of Alcázar de San Juan, the Junta de Comunidades de Castilla – La Mancha and the University of Castilla – La Mancha have revealed that the human occupation of the Piédrola site could date back to the Paleolithic and continued to reuse the space since then until the contemporary period.
From the Paleolithic occupation, several tools carved in quartzite and flint have been found. A large number of handmade ceramic fragments, including numerous examples of bell-shaped pottery with internal and external decoration, point to the existence of an Early Metal Age settlement (Chalcolithic-Bronze) followed by an Iberian settlement. From the Roman villa of Piédrola, industrial and living facilities have been found with the appearance of fragments of decorative mosaics; for its part, the Islamic occupation has been confirmed with the discovery of an outstanding burial necropolis prior to the arrival of the Christians, of which late medieval remains have been found. From the modern age, it is worth mentioning the presence of the milling quarries.
It is currently possible to visit what has been named “Quarry C5”, located to the north of the archaeological site. It is the only milling quarry excavated and prepared for the visit in Castilla – La Mancha, being possibly the most important in the region and one of the most important in Spain. In total, more than 150 pieces still preserved in situ have been inventoried, which allow us to learn about the entire production process in quarries of this type. The stones extracted and worked in this place were of vital importance for the correct functioning of the agri-food industry of the time, based on the cultivation and transformation of cereals, vines and olives into bread, wine and oil.
The visit to the archaeological site of Piédrola will allow us to better understand the enormous work that, for centuries, the stonemasons carried out in this place, everything seems to indicate that the quarries of Piédrola had their maximum splendor during the Golden Century. In fact, almost in all probability, the millstones that gave life to the mills that Cervantes describes in Don Quixote came from Piédrola, so in a certain sense we are also in the presence of a Cervantine space. while we approach the daily life in the Spain of the Habsburgs.
Piédrola is perfectly signposted and conditioned for the visit. The explanation of the site can be followed by means of seven interpretative panels.