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"EARLY MEDIEVAL CHURCHES: HISTORY, ARCHAEOLOGY AND HERITAGE"

Final Report Summary - EMCHAHE (EARLY MEDIEVAL CHURCHES: HISTORY, ARCHAEOLOGY AND HERITAGE)

The research area of this project (running from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2017) is the archaeology and history of the early medieval rural churches and their value for cultural management in Galicia (Northwest Spain). The project team is composed by archaeologists, historians, art historians and geologists from Universities of Santiago and A Coruña.

Main work and results of the project are:

1. Creation of an extensive georrefenced database of all the textual and/or material evidences of early medieval churches in Galicia. This GIS (Geographic Information System) comprises 880 records, and is a useful tool for both scientific and heritage management activities.

2. Fieldwork has proved to be very productive in this project. We have surveyed near 150 churches across Galicia, and we have confirmed that at least 27 of them preserve standing early medieval phases (8 of them were previously unknown). 12 of these churches have been selected for a more detailed stratigraphycal analysis: San Pedro de Pambre (Palas de Rei), A Cidadela site (Sobrado), San Estevo da Barcia (Lalín), Santa María de Bermés (Lalín), San Xoán de Palmou (Lalín), San Martiño de Pazó (Allariz), San Xés de Francelos (Ribadavia), Santa Eufemia de Ambía (Baños de Molgas), Santo Tomé de Tordea (Castroverde), San Martiño de Armental (Sobrado), San Mamede dos Mártores Chapel (Valga), San Xulián de Pontecesures (Pontecesures). As main conclusión, we have identified 4 groups of early medieval churches according to their construction techniques (masonry, new carved ahslars, reused materials and combination of the previous techniques).

3. A total of 20 churches have been dated in the EMCHAHE project by OSL (Optically Stimulated Luminiscence) or 14C, being 6 of them dated by the two methods at the same time. Main results of this extensive dating work are:

-Santa Comba de Bande (Bande) (OSL and 14C): 751-789 AD for the construction of the church.
-Santa Comba de Louro (Valga) (OSL and 14C): early 9th century for the construction of the church
-San Martiño de Pazó (Allariz) (14C): 957±63 AD for the construction of the church,
-San Xoán de Panxón (Nigrán) (14C): 957 ± 65 AD for the construction of the church
-Excavations under Santiago de Compostela cathedral (14C): 6th and 7th centuries for the structures below the first prerromanesque church (9-10th centuries).
-Santa Eufemia de Ambía (Baños de Molgas) (OSL and 14C): 967 AD ±87 for the oldest phase of the church.
-San Xés de Francelos (Ribadavia) (OSL and 14C): 881 A.D ±107 for the oldest preserved phase of the church
-Adro Vello site (O Grove) (14C): 14th century AD for the oldest preserved phase of the church
-Santa María de Mixós (Verín) (OSL): end of 10th century for the oldest phase of the church.
-A Cidadela (Sobrado dos Monxes) (OSL and 14C): 10th century AD for the construction of the church (with earlier and later phases in the site dating 4th and 13th centuries AD)
-San Martiño de Armental (Vilasantar) (OSL and 14C): early 11th century for the oldest phase of the church.
-San Xoán de Palmou (Lalín) (OSL): 919-1097 AD for the construction of the church
-San Martiño de Prado (Lalín) (OSL): 18th century AD for the church reforms
-San Adriao de Amiadoso (Allariz) (OSL): end of 10th century for the church construction
-Santo Tomé de Castelo (O Incio) (14C): 17th century for the church reforms
-San Breixo de Ouvigo (Os Blancos) (14C): 9th-11th century for the oldest preserved phase of the church
-San Estevo da Barcia (A Estrada) (14C): 17th-19th centuries for the church reforms
-Santa María de Bermés (Lalín) (14C): 1210-1275 AD for the Romanesque phase of the church
-San Bartolomé de Rebordáns (Tui) (14C): 1025-1190 AD for the construction of the romanesque church
-San Salvador de Samos chapel (Samos) (14C): 17th-20th centuries AD for the mortar reform of the church.

4. Intensive fieldwork was carried out in A Cidadela site (Sobrado dos Monxes), an interesting case study of an early medieval church built over an ancient roman camp. Fieldwork included: review of all available information about the site, stratigraphical analysis, photogrammetric survey using a drone, Optically Stimulated Luminiscence and Radiocarbon dating, revision of the imported ceramics, geophysical surveys using georadar and spectrometer and two small archeological excavations. This work has changed our knowledge about this site: the church must be dated in 10th century and most of the allegedly “Germanic” structures are actually 13th century constructions.

5. Spatial and landscape study of the studied churches has been carried out during this second reporting period. As main results of this part of the project we discovered that in general, early medieval Galician churches were placed in the most productive soils, and that cluster of churches existed in specific areas like main rivers (Sil and Miño rivers). This concentration of churches can be explained by different reasons (resources, communications, population density...) but political strategies seem to have played an important role in it. Both material and documentary evidence of churches show more density in areas where political reorganization between 8-10th centuries (“Reconquest”) was more intense.

6. We have produced 13 papers on several topics of the project, both in national and international journals and monographs (including Antiquity journal and Brepols Studies on Early Middle Ages Series), and 2 more are currently in press.

7. We have given 20 presentations regarding the project, several of them in international Conferences like the Annual Meeting of the EAA (2014), Leeds Medieval Congress (2015), Ibercrono Congress (Barcelona 2016), the Annual International Scientific Symposium of the International Research Center for Late Antiquity and Middle Ages (2017).

8. We have organised two International Conferences at the University of Santiago de
Compostela: “Churches and Landscapes in Early Middle Ages” (27 May 2014) and “Churches and Society in the Early Middle Ages” (14-16 June 2017)

9. We have created and regularly updated a website and a Facebook profile (with 453 followers), containing all the relevant information regarding the project and news (fieldwork, publications...):

http://proyectosjcsanchez.wixsite.com/emchahe

https://www.facebook.com/EMCHAHE/

10-Moreover, as planned in the initial proposal, we have participated in a number of outreaching activities: preparation of informative guides, posters for exhibitions, outreaching conferences in public institutions, interviews in local radios and newspapers, as well as preparation of technical reports for the Regional Cultural Authorities.