null Historia de las excavaciones - Santa Trega

Santa Trega

The first city

_Historia de las excavaciones


In 1914, Ignacio Calvo Sánchez carried out the first excavation campaign, demarcating the site for the first time and drafting the first plan. In 1918, another excavation campaign was launched, although who directed it is unknown. Ignacio Calvo was to excavate once more that year, uncovering a new group of dwellings and objects that passed into the care of the museum. The concheiro, or shell midden, was uncovered, and part of the wall discovered. These excavations are recorded in different publications. In 1919, 1921 and 1923, new excavations took place. One of the most outstanding elements on Mount Santa Trega was discovered during the final excavation: the Northern Gate. The area excavated by Ignacio Calvo is known today as the Calvo Quarter, or Northern Sector.


Interventions by Cayetano de Mergelina y Luna focused on the eastern part of the site, although he would also excavate in the Calvo Sector and the Southern Gate. José Filgueira Valverde and Sebastián González García-Paz took part in these excavations, the latter making drawings and diagrams of the structures uncovered. This was the most high-profile excavation to date. The following year, excavations continued and the bronze antennae sword found is kept in the museum. In 1930, the search for the necropolis of Trega was launched, to no avail, although one of the hillfort’s most representative items was found: the tip of a gold torque. In 1931, the “Ruinas de Santa Tecla” were declared a National Historical Monument. In 1932, explorations resumed, although whether these were in the form of excavations or study of materials is unknown. Mergelina’s last excavation was in 1933, once again with the participation of Sebastián González, although we do not know to which sector it corresponded. The results of the different campaigns from 1928 to 1933 were published by Mergelina in 1945.


The person in charge of the excavations in this 20-year period was Manuel Fernández Rodríguez. In 1952, a general clearing of the site was undertaken and the invasive acacia species, which continues to cause problems today, removed. Thanks to the archaeological prospection carried out, an important volume of material was documented. In 1953, a sector adjacent to the Northern, or Calvo, Sector was excavated, leading to the recovery of, among other items, a curved knife. Excavation work continued in 1955, to be halted in 1959 for economic reasons. The minutes of the Sociedad Pro-Monte reveal that excavations resumed in 1960, but there is no record of the results. In 1961, all of the wall that surrounds the Northern Sector, which would continue to be excavated the following year, was discovered. In 1963, a small campaign was carried out, uncovering findings of little importance, and work was abandoned until 1967. In 1968, Manuel Fernández took charge of his tenth campaign, continuing on with work that had begun the previous year, although its results are unknown. Further small campaigns followed until 1972, the results of which are also unknown, although it would appear that they focused on the upper part of the hillfort.


The new excavation stage was made possible by a collaboration between A Guarda Town Council and the Sociedad Pro-Monte. Six consecutive campaigns, headed by Antonio de la Peña Santos, were carried out. The work focused on the Northern Sector. Unlike previous excavations, these benefited from suitable archaeological methodology, uncovering new and interesting huts and structures. Among the items recovered feature two polychrome millefiori glass bowls, one of them almost completely intact, making it one of the best preserved in the entire Iberian peninsula. During this stage, a correct typological and chronological classification of the site was established from the results obtained. The Santa Trega hillfort was defined as an unusually large settlement, occupied from the 1st century BCE until the end of the 1st century. Once the excavations ended, the structures uncovered were consolidated and restored by the Xunta de Galicia’s General Directorate of Heritage.


This intervention, funded by Pontevedra Provincial Council, was undertaken some 30 years after the previous one and focused on conditioning and re-evaluating the Central, or Mergelina, Sector, first excavated in the 1930s. The results were extremely positive, not only because the documentation of structures that had been excavated 70 years prior was carried out, but because a new perspective of the site was achieved, completely changing the preconceived vision that had prevailed up until then. As of that moment, occupation of the site was dated much earlier, with three occupational phases now distinguishable, dating from the 4th century BCE to the 1st century.


The consolidation and conservation of the structures uncovered in the 2015-2016 campaign was carried out, funded by Pontevedra Provincial Council. During these works, stone steps providing access to an upper storey of one of the dwellings were uncovered.


The CSIC (Spanish National Research Council) carried out a small intervention, financed by A Guarda Town Council and Pontevedra Provincial Council, focusing on the Southern Gate and the shell midden.