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The remains of the Benalroma oil and salting factory can be visited from March

The industrial area of Benalroma dedicated between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD. to the production and export of olive oil and later converted by our Roman ancestors into a salting factory – similar to the one they already had in Torremuelle-, can be visited for the first time starting next March. With an investment of 267,047 euros, walkways will be built that will surround the site, it will be enclosed with a new access door and ornamental lighting will be installed.

The enhancement of this site, which has been worked on since the last legislature, is complemented by a visit to the Benalmádena History Center annexed to it, which dedicates its first floor to Benalroma – on the ground floor you will find an exhibition focused on local history – within a new exhibition project with audiovisual pieces, interactive models and explanatory panels that introduce archeology and municipal heritage to all audiences free of charge.

The Romans came to our lands in the second century BC, after defeating the Carthaginians in the Second Punic War. About 200 years later, the population that lived in Benalmádena was completely Roman.

From those times, some interesting archaeological remains are still preserved in our municipality that tell us about what they were like, their way of life or their economy. Regarding the results of the excavations in the different parts of the town of Benalroma, they have revealed that it is a town with a disseminated plan, with buildings separated from each other as independent modules that were built without any apparent order.

This type of scattered settlement is not common, with Benalroma being one of the few examples that have been found in Andalusia. Following the scattered village model, Benalroma is made up of three nuclei in different locations that make up a single village.

On García Lorca Avenue, next to the Los Molinillos roundabout, are the remains of the fruit pars, dedicated to the industrial activity of the town and which will now be enhanced by offering the opportunity to be visited. Specifically, these are the archaeological remains of a Roman oil factory that was active during the first centuries of our era.

Part of the pressing room is still preserved, with the anchors of the presses carved in stone, where the wooden beams would fit, and around it, a brick floor with channels through which the Betic liquid gold flowed that once pressed towards the decantation room.

Oil has been one of the basic products of the Mediterranean diet since ancient times, and together with wine and salted fish, it stands as one of the key elements of the Roman economy of our territories.

This oil mill was in use for 200 years, since in the 3rd century after Christ it was transformed, just as it happened in the garden area of Benalroma, into a salted fish factory. From this stage, a series of salting basins and the remains of a ceramic oven still remain, in which the amphorae destined to transport our products across the Mediterranean until the 5th century AD were produced.

Between both spaces, in 2004 due to road works, part of some baths appeared, and a room with a mosaic of geometric decoration common in Roman mosaics. The industrial complex of the Roman villa of Benalroma preserves the remains of a pottery kiln that was mainly used to fire amphoras, which were used to package, preserve and transport the salted fish produced in the factory. Likewise, the kiln was used for the manufacture of ceramics for domestic use. And it is that, from his birth to his death, each inhabitant of that Benalmaden Roman world needed ceramics of all kinds for all the activities of his daily life, directly or indirectly.

All these remains are probably part of the same large villa a mare, which was in use for at least 500 years, from the 1st century AD. to the 5th century AD dedicated to the exploitation of the countryside and the sea, with a luxurious part that is located in Benalroma – on Avenida de Las Palmeras are the remains of the urban pars, the living area of the owner of the villa – and another industrial part.

Political ‘medals’

The work to enhance this archaeological site began in the last legislature, under the management of the Culture area of the IU spokesperson, Pablo Centella, and at the mercy of European funds from Edusi. In fact, the drafting of the project was completed at the beginning of last year and it was sent to the Junta de Andalucía for approval, which months later, in approximately July, gave its approval for the City Council, – already since June with its new Active local government – could begin bidding for the project, which is already a reality and has an execution period of 65 calendar days.

Despite the public documentation related to this file – to which any citizen has access – in which, given the reports and the efforts carried out, there is no doubt that both the previous managers and the current ones have shown interest in executing this implementation. in value of the Los Molinillos site, the Councilor for Roads and Works, José Luis Bergillos, insisted today in a press release that “this is a project that the previous Government kept in the bottom drawer and that, after four years and a half without progress, we have launched the necessary actions to develop it with the start of the file between the end of July and the month of August.”

The reality is that the popular councilor seems to ignore or ignore that in order to be able to tender these works, the project had to have the approval of the Andalusian Government, which precisely gave its approval at the end of July, approximately, so previously It was impossible to advance the bidding of the works for their subsequent execution.

In the end, the true purpose of this type of initiative, so relevant in terms of the conservation of the heritage of our municipality and an excellent tourist attraction, is sadly overshadowed by the political struggle to become medals for projects in which there are those who take advantage of a kind of carom that is unrelated to the merits of self-management and the ability to handle difficulties, such as, for example, bureaucratic ones.

Aside from this, the archaeological sites of the municipality are achieving the necessary investment to ensure their conservation for the enjoyment of citizens and tourists of this trace of the history of Roman Benalmádena, which deserves much more attention than these political tensions that They stretch or relax depending on the chair they are occupying at any given time in the municipal corporation.


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