Castilviejo, a Celtiberian fortified settlement

A few kilometres away from Sigüenza and close to the town of Guijosa, we can find this magnificent fort, nowadays in ruins, but still admirable. Finding it may be rather tricky, since it is hidden in the woods and we need to walk up a steep slope, although it is quite close to a local road.

The archaeological works carried out on the site, differentiate three different times of occupation, without chronological continuity between them: few remains of the Bronze Age (12th -10th centuries BC), then the most visible part, which includes the defensive system, built in the Celtiberian period (4th-3rd century BC), and the most recent occupation by the Islamics (10th -11th century AD).

The first thing that calls our attention is the wall and the rest of defensive systems. The visible part of the wall, measures approximately 90 meters and the whole surface of the settlement is close to 3000 square meters, with remains of devastated constructions within. It seems that the houses were quadrangular, with their rear side built within the wall and thus reinforcing the natural escarpments of the promontory.

The most impressive remains, at least for me, are the Chevaux de frise (Frisian fields); several rows of stones, driven into the ground, whose mission was to prevent carts and warriors, footmen and horsemen, to approach the enclosure. Dismissing that option, cavalry and chariots should necessarily enter through a corridor which was left between the left-side and the right-side areas of the chevaux de frise, then pass through a gate, flanking the wall and being exposed to their enemies.

The wall consists of a double row of stones, with an inside and an outside part with better worked stones, and an intermediate area filled with random stones of different sizes. It is located on a –probably artificial- land elevation, and its height must have been considerable.

Another curious feature of the site is its defensive tower and observatory. It was built using the technique of successive staggered courses, which are still visible today.

Even though it was discovered in 1.929, the excavation works didn’t start until 1.977, and are still in progress today. Even though it may seem abandoned, there are some projects going on and hopefully we will be able to see some results soon. In the meanwhile, why not enjoying being in a town built more than 2.300 years ago? The feeling is just magic.

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