2021 archaeological works start at the Roman site of Mas dels Frares (Constantí, Tarragona)

Imatge de l'inici dels treballs d'excavació al jaciment de Mas dels Frares, 2021. Foto: ICAC.
The ICAC started this week the archaeological excavation works for the 2021 campaign at the Roman town of Mas dels Frares, sited in the town of Constantí (Tarragona).

The intervention will take place from June 28 to July 30, 2021. The activity belongs to the research project Estudi i difusió de la vil·la romana del Mas dels Frares (Constantí, Tarragonès), I Fase (Projecte quadriennal CLT009-18-00100), under coordination by Josep Maria Macias, leading researcher at the Arqueología Cristiana y de la Antigüedad Tardía research team, and technical direction by Karen Fortuny and Francesc Rodríguez.

The 2021 campaign also has the participation of 15 students from different studies who will get involved in archaeological works, archaeological drawing, architectural consolidation, and the study of materials.

Treballs d'excavació al jaciment de Mas dels Frares, 2021. Foto: ICAC.
Archaeological works at Mas dels Frares, 2021. Photo: ICAC.

The Roman archaeological site of Mas dels Frares is located in the municipality of Constantí, 1.5 km from this town and next to the Experimental Winery of the URV’s Faculty of Oenology. There is archaeological evidence that points to the existence of a Roman villa with productive wine-type structures. It is a site built during the change of Era that lasted until the 7th century. In the 2019 and 2020 campaigns, it has been possible to verify that it was a stately villa and researchers found the remains of an agricultural warehouse with large jars.

Archaeological works in this Roman villa started in 2019, within the collaboration agreement between the University Rovira i Virgili (URV), the Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology (ICAC) and the City Council of Constantí to foster archaeological research in the archaeological site ‘Mas dels Frares’ and place value on the patrimonial entity of this Roman site of the old territorium of Tarraco. The project also has the funding of the Consejo Regulador de la Denominación de Origen Catalunya.

In the 2020 excavations, directed by researchers Karen Fortuny and Ada Lasheras, and with the participation of students from the Interuniversity Master’s Degree in Classical Archeology (URV-UAB-ICAC) and the Degree in Art History and Archeology at the URV, we set the magnitude of the site and verify that it was a stately Roman villa. Excavation works followed a strategy of small surveys in the field to trace the scope of the site. Researchers also found remains of an agricultural warehouse with large earthen jars that were used to store wine and took organic samples to set the origins of the productive activity associated with wine.

One of the most remarkable features of winemaking in Catalonia is precisely its long tradition since the Phoenicians and Romans arrived on our shores. ICAC research can provide new historical evidence of this millenary tradition and show that in an adjoining space in the Mas dels Frares experimental winery, where future winemakers are trained today, wine was already being made in Roman times.

At the end of July, we will share the results of the excavation works for the 2021 campaign.

Jaciment rural de Mas dels Frares, 2021. Foto: ICAC.
Rural archaeological site of Mas dels Frares (Constantí, Tarragona), 2021. Photo: ICAC.


Generalitat de Catalunya, Ajuntament de Constantí, Consell Regulador Denominació d’Origen (CRDO).

Con el apoyo de:

Facultat d’Enologia de la Universitat Rovira i Virgili.