The Antiquaries Journal

Research Article

The Late Roman Villa of Vilauba and its Context. A First Report on Field-Work and Excavation in Catalunya, North-East Spain, 1978–81

R. F. J. Jones, S. J. Keay, J. M. Nolla and J. Tarrús


The first three seasons of a joint Anglo-Catalan research project in north-eastern Spain have concentrated on the Roman villa of Vilauba. It has been shown that the site was occupied for some nine centuries, but the most important discoveries have been the elucidation of substantial phases of occupation from the fifth to seventh centuries A.D., which included in the latest phase a large press building for olive oil. These findings have pointed to the problems of the transition from the Roman to the early medieval period, which have also been met in the field survey of the surrounding region. The medieval settlement pattern had emerged by the ninth or tenth centuries, but its relationship with the Roman pattern remains to be clearly established. Important discoveries have also been made about considerable geomorphological changes in the area, which can be dated to the post-Roman period. A range of techniques have been used in the survey, including recording of standing buildings, geophysical survey and surface collection, which, added to the environmental and pottery studies from the excavation, are shedding important light on the Roman and early medieval rural development of this part of Spain and on the western Mediterranean more generally.