The Orihuela City Council has bought an area of Los Saladares, in the neighbourhood of Desamparados, where there is evidence of important archaeological remains, from the 9th century to the 4th centuries BC. The objective of the purchase is to once again open the area and resume the excavations.
The plot, which was purchased at a cost of 54,490 euros, is located on the archaeological site of Los Saladares, the most important Bronze Age town that was previously occupied by Phoenicians, Greeks, Iberians and people of Argaric culture.
It sits in a protected area and is classified as an Asset of Cultural Interest (BIC), a historical-artistic and archaeological site of national character, but despite its importance, and having strict protection in the Orihuela Urban Ordination Plan, it has been the object of multiple unauthorised breaches.
The plot acquired by the City Council, of more than 10,000 square metres, was previously owned by a resident of Desamparados.
The formal contract of sale will be carried out in a couple of weeks and, thereafter, the City Council as the new owner, will begin to condition the area. It is currently full of weeds and vegetation as well as lemon and orange trees, and once the clean-up has been carried out visitors will be able to visit the archaeological site, formerly an important part of the city history.
Councillor Rafael Almagro, spoke of his “satisfaction and pride that, finally, the old site of Los Saladares is municipal property, more than 40 years after it was first discovered.”
The site was found by accident in 1968 by children who were playing football in the area. It was first excavated in the late 60s and early 70s of the last century by Oswaldo Arteaga and María Rosa Serna.
The excavations found several houses as well as numerous objects, such as vessels, pottery, jars and glasses, which are now preserved in a number of different museums, including the Archaeological Museum of Orihuela (Marquo). Since then no excavation work has been carried out in the area, during which time it has become overgrown and abandoned.
Los Saladares is located on top of a hill from where you can see much of the Vega Baja, the fertile plain of Murcia and the city of Orihuela. The good visibility was the main reason why, for over 500 years, settlers continually occupied these lands. Being located near to the Segura river they are also very prosperous for the growing of crops and agriculture, in addition to which, it has a great biodiversity that made the area, at the foot of the Sierra de Hurchillo, even more attractive to settlers.