• Begastri
  • Cehegín
  • Bigastrum / Cabezo de las Muelas / Cabezo de Roenas
  • Spain
  • Murcia
  • Murcia
  • Cehegín


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  • 199 BC - 899 AD


    • The hill where is located the city of Begastri is very close to the Quipar riverbed, in the northwest sector of the region of Murcia. The archaeological site is in the hill of Cabecico Roenas, about 2,5 kilometres north of Cehegín and it covers an area of more than 2 hectares. The existence of important archaeological remains has been known since the mid-17st century. In 1878, A. Fernández Guerra located Begastri based on the epigraphic documents in the vicinity of Cehegín, whose municipal council town purchased the area in 1985 and declared it a Historic-Artistic Site. In 2002 it was registered as a Heritage of Cultural Interest (“BIC”). The excavations begun in 1980 under the leadership of A. González Blanco, at the helm until 2010. Currently there are excavation and reconstruction works on part of the walls and other areas of the town. Although initially works were aimed at finding the Visigothic town, an occupational sequence from Iberian Age going through Roman Age to the Medieval has been demonstrated. From the very beginning the intention was to capture the main constructional outlines of the town: establish its perimeter, identify its entrances and document the walls. The starting point was established in the lower part of the northern side of the hill where a necropolis was found. However the archaeological excavations have been determined by the walls of the acropolis. The the main evidence for the Iberian site, which began in the 4th century BC, is ceramic materials and a cyclopean wall that can be seen in certain areas under the one built one in the Late Antique period. In the Roman Republican period there was little change in the settlement. Begastri became a Roman municipium in the 1st century AD and developed into a classic town equipped with public buildings (forum, amphitheatre, temples, shrines, gymnasia and baths_); the discovery of decontextualized capitals, cornices and mouldings, reused in latest dates, corresponds to that time. In the 3rd century AD the town attained great splendour having then an impressive fortification that is a spectacular example among the Late Antique Hispanic fortified towns. The hill was defined as an acropolis with oval shape measuring 50 meters wide and 150 meters long. Architectural and epigraphic materials from the Roman Early-Imperial buildings were used in order to build the wall surrounding the acropolis. The Visigothic Age is the best known period of this town, due to the material finds and the written documentation. This urban centre became an episcopal see, countersigned by several Toledan councils. However the bishopric didn’t give it a vital importance nor a noted role; Orihuela, though it never had a bishopric, became the provincial capital and an important Visigothic administrative centre. Begastri kept its population until the 11th century AD, when it was transferred to the present historic centre of the nearby Cehegín, probably because of the pressure of the Arabs who lived there. By the 4th century or perhaps a little later the walled zone was increased; at present it partially encloses partially the hill slopes within the fortified enclosure known as a “second ring walls”. The existence of subsequent remains of wall to expand the defended area is likely. Whilst some researchers place Begastri in the area held by the Byzantines, this town shouldn’t have been conquered, or at most it could have been under Byzantine domination gor a short period. Future excavations will clarify this matter. The later Muslim occupation didn’t allow the repair of the doors and towers that fortified the town due to strategic reasons. Then the new Cehegín became the main population centre. (translation by Pilar Alarcón Blázquez)


    • Sebastián F. Ramallo Asensio, Antonio Yelo Templado, Antonino González Blanco, Pedro Antonio Lillo Carpio (1983): "La Ciudad Hispano-Visigoda de Begastri (Cabeza de Roenas, Cehegin- Murcia): Dos primeras campañas de aproximación al yacimiento". En Crónica del XVI Congreso Arqueológico Nacional, pp. 1011-1022.
    • Pedro Martínez Cavero (1984): "Estratigrafía y cronología arqueológica de Begastri", Antigüedad y cristianismo: Monografías históricas sobre la Antigüedad tardía, Nº 1, pp. 89-92.
    • José Luis García Aguinaga, Pilar Vallalta Martínez (1984): "Fortificaciones y puerta de Begastri", Antigüedad y cristianismo: Monografías históricas sobre la Antigüedad tardía, Nº 1, pp. 101-108.
    • Salvador Martínez Sánchez, José Moya Cuenca (1991): "Aproximación al estudio de la estratigrafía de Begastri", Antigüedad y cristianismo: Monografías históricas sobre la Antigüedad tardía, Nº 8, pp. 543-550.
    • Antonino González Blanco (edit.) (1994): Begastri: imagen y problemas de su historia, Colección Antigüedad y Cristianismo. Monografías históricas sobre la Antigüedad Tardía, 2º ed, Murcia.
    • Antonino González Blanco (1999): "Begastri y la formación de la ciudad medieval". En XXIV Congreso Nacional de Arqueología : [celebrado en] Cartagena, 1997, pp. 245-254.
    • Antonino González Blanco (2004): "Begastri y la recuperación de la Antigüedad Tardía en el sureste peninsular: refle-xionando sobre la arqueología de campo de este período histórico". En Antigüedad y cristianismo: Monografías históricas sobre la Antigüedad tardía, Nº 21, pp. 543-564.
    • Antonino González Blanco (2007): "Las murallas de "Begastri" (Cehegín, Murcia)". En Murallas de ciudades romanas en el occidente del Imperio: Lucus Augusti como paradigma : actas del Congreso Internacional celebrado en Lugo (26-29, XI, 2005) en el V aniversario de la declaración, por la UNESCO, de la muralla de Lugo como Patrimonio de la Humanidad / coord. por Antonio Rodríguez Colmenero, Isabel Rodà de Llanza, pp. 549-566.
    • Antonino González Blanco, José Antonio Molina Gómez (2006): "Trabajos arqueológicos en Begastri (Cehegín): campaña de 2005". En XVII Jornadas de Patrimonio Histórico : intervenciones en el patrimonio arquitectónico, arqueológico y etnográfico de la región de Murcia / coord. por María Belén Sánchez González, Manuel Lechuga Galindo, Pedro Enrique Collado Espejo, pp. 133-134.
    • José Antonio Molina Gómez, José Javier Martínez García (2006): "Campaña arqueológica de Begastri (2006)", Antigüedad y cristianismo: Monografías históricas sobre la Antigüedad tardía, Nº 23, pp. 261-268.
    • José Antonio Molina Gómez (2006): "Begastri: la interpretación tras la campaña de excavaciones del 2006", Antigüedad y cristianismo: Monografías históricas sobre la Antigüedad tardía, Nº 23, pp. 269-274.
    • José Antonio Molina Gómez, José Antonio Zapata Parra (2008): "Nuevas aportaciones al urbanismo tardío de Begastri. Campaña de 2007-2008". En XIX Jornadas de Patrimonio Cultural de la Región de Murcia: [celebradas en] Cartagena, Alhama de Murcia, La Unión y Murcia, 7 de octubre al 4 de noviembre 2008 / coord. por Manuel Lechuga Galindo, Pedro Enrique Collado Espejo, María Belén Sánchez González, Vol. 1, (Paleontología, Arqueología, Etnografía), pp. 139-142.
    • José Antonio Molina Gómez, José Antonio Zapata Parra (2015): "Begastri: historia de una excavación". En El patrimonio como generador de estrategias e ideas para el desarrollo territorial: I Jorna-das de Arqueoturismo y Ecoturismo "Tierra de Íberos" [Caravaca de la Cruz, 2015], pp. 73-88.