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Rioja_Clubia Celtiberian City

(Images above the Interpretation Center of Aguilar del Rio Alhama-Rioja-Spain)
The archaeological ruins of the Celtiberian city of Clunia, Contrebia Leukade are of interest in my website, as well as because of their high cultural value, because they are less than3 km. from my birthplace, Cervera del Río Alhama (Rioja) and I like to walk there whenever I can.

I include the summary information about this place that they have kindly given me in the Club of Lovers of the Good Life of La Rioja.

Celtiberians in Contrebia Leukade

Clunia is one of the oldest population settlements in La Rioja, located on the right bank of the Alhama River, near Inestrillas and Aguilar del Río Alhama, between two small hills. The oldest remains correspond to a burial, from the end of the second millennium before Christ. In the cave of the Lagos human remains and fragments of ceramics of the end of the Age of Bronze were found.
The Pelendones settled in Contrebia Leukade in the Iron Age. They built a fortress taking advantage of a rocky escarpment on the river. They urbanized the ground and built houses excavated in the rock, of rectangular plant.
Towards the second half of the 4th century BC other Celtiberian tribes arrived that enlarged the town and reinforced the defensive systems, with a deep moat dug in the rock and a wall that surrounded the city. They carried out conditioning works for the use of drinking water. Then came the Romans, who conquered the city in the year 142 before Christ, which meant the Romanisation of the lands of Alhama.
Currently the archaeological site is one of the most spectacular in the Peninsula and the most significant at the time of knowing the degree of technical development and organizational capacity of the Celtiberians.


The excavation of the pit that reaches a length close to 700 m. and whose width and depth revolve around the 8, supposed the extraction of more than 40.000 cubic meters of stone that were used in the construction of the wall. Of this, although there are only a few sections, the whole layout can be followed after the last excavations. In the canvases that remain standing several repairs are visible whose chronology should be specified in future works.

To the primitive stage belong the conserved sections in the eastern end, in the highest point of the archaeological set. The wall that closes the north side, the lowest in the city and immediately to the river, differs from the rest of the wall both typologically and technically. It has six semicircular towers, two of them flanking a door, and in its factory predominate sandstone ashlars well carved and arranged. Its construction, set back several meters from the Celtiberian wall, dates from the end of the 1st century or the 2nd century AD


The layout of the interior of the city is adjusted to the irregular relief of the place. The houses are arranged aligned with well-marked streets, following the contour lines. Its plant tends to rectangular and often appears compartmentalized in several units arranged longitudinally.

The most complete consist of three rooms: a hall that was used for auxiliary purposes such as storing firewood and tools, placing the loom or store products for immediate consumption, a main room in which the home was placed slightly elevated on the ground and a warehouse of variable proportions, that in many houses acquires a great development in depth forming large underground rooms with the roof excavated with double slope. Indistinctly in the hall or in the main room, but almost always in its contact area, there are one or two deposits dug in the rock and plaster plastered that were covered with a wooden lid.

The conservation of an important part of the elevation of the walls excavated in the rock, as well as the shrouds in which the beams fit together, makes it possible to know the existence of several plants in some houses, counteracting its small surface with a great development in height.

Normally, the floors of the houses are formed by rammed earth that was repaired and regularized periodically with new manteados. But at an advanced stage, coinciding with the Roman domain, special pavements of mosaics decorated with geometric motifs and schematic animals and plants were used.


To ensure a permanent and sufficient supply of water without depending on the exterior, the inhabitants of Contrebia carried out two works unparalleled in the Celtiberian environment. It is two accesses that connect the interior of the city with the Alhama water table. The one that is more to the south communicated with the call cave of the Lagos and the entrance and the first meters of route are conserved. The second is an open hole in the rock, which is accessed from the interior of the city through a staircase also carved into the rock and partly vaulted.

In its construction, two phases can be determined. In the first, it was a well that was supplied through a channel that took water from the Alhama. This dependence on the outside facilitated that, in moments of siege, the channel could be intercepted and the supply interrupted, circumstance that had to take place and that caused a remodeling that consisted of deepening the whole, access stairs and cistern, until reaching the phreatic level of the river which allowed to keep the supply constant without relying on the outside.

If you want more information about Contrebia Leukade you can visit her

Interpretation Center in Aguilar del Río Alhama or www.contrebialeucade.com

Principal investigator: HERNÁNDEZ VERA

Clunia wikipedia

clunia wikirioja

General visit information



Dinámicas infograficas




Body and Art




Fotografías de mis viajes
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