Monday, May 7, 2012 - 13:15
Benicató
Benicató
Benicató

The BENICATÓ was an important Roman rural villa, which was both used for agriculture and as a residence area. It is located on the outskirts of the city, between the existing orange groves, roughly 2.50 miles away from the current coastline. It was probably inhabited between the first century BC and IV AD, with its most glorious period in the second century AC.
 
It was officially discovered on December 23, 1955, taking advance of agricultural works carried out in the area. Diputació (the county Council) expropriated the land in 1956 and began to dig out the ground, covering around 2500 m2 of land, which was inexplicably abandoned for 20 years, and many of the remains were lost. In 1973, work started again, and subsequently Benicató was transferred to the municipality of Nules, which is the main responsible for its preservation up to the present day.
SIAP interventions followed two baselines: on the one hand, the excavation of certain intact areas and on the other, cleaning the excavated area, in order to reconstruct the ruins, preparing the place for tourist tours.
 
The central part of the village shelters a gallery with columns whose foundation is blue grey and limestone, with a width of 2.50 meters that runs through the entire environment of a square yard of about 16 meters. At the centre it appears a reservoir or rounded pool (impluvium circularque) that used to collect rainwater. Its diameter was 7.60 meters. This is accessed by a corridor paved with opus testaceum. We recognize at present a total of 35 departments (the best preserved are located in the eastern sector), with the noteworthy presence of a ?hyposcaustum? (conserving a brick structure). Only other two departments bear mosaic floors with geometric patterns in black and white, the others incorporate several unspecified structures with hardened flooring made of earth materials. Among those, some were probably used for storage purposes since there are remains of large jars or hurt.
 
Ceramic materials indicate its origin towards the end of the Roman republican epoch, reaching its greatest economic climax in the second half of the second century. At those times, the gallery was remodelled; the pool was built, along with tile flooring. The whole thing lasted until the mid-third century, as indicated by the coins that were found embedded between the floor and a mosaic layer after the mortar coating. After the crisis originated in the French and German invasions at the time, the village existed as such until the sixth century, when it was finally abandoned.
In 1996, the County Council agreed to approve an architectural project to reconstruct the foundations, walls, floors and structures with a tourism attraction perspective in mind.

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