of 42 /42
Since the publication in 1980 of the conclu- sions of Manuel Bendala and Iván Negueruela on the findings in the Patio de Banderas of the Alcázar of Seville, the idea of a possible exten- sion of this excavation to the rest of the place was settled between the different groups invol- ved in knowledge of our heritage, to solve the mystery by then posed: the existence of an an- cient late religious complex that would last since the fourth century until its destruction by Isla- mic Alcázar builders (Bendala and Negueruela 1980: 335). Subsequent work conducted in 1999 served to reinforce this idea when Roman remains of buildings of interest were localized to six feet deep. (Tabales 2000: 212). After being a scheduled activity, the decision to excavate was taken in the Special Plan of Pro- tection Sector 6 Reales Alcázares. At the same time, a study strategy was carried out, to a first approximation to the subsurface stratigraphy, developed in 2009, and the development of an overall research program, which would include excavation and relevant analysis and subse- quent enhancement of remains in an archaeo- logical underground under de current surface. Three campaigns have been developed up to now, culminating in the complete excavation of the central sector of the square. New actions on the perimeter of the courtyard and in one of the houses, which will be fitted out as interpretive center of the archaeological crypt (Figure 1), will be carried out for the completion of the project. We present here a state of affairs in our rese- arch, although it should be understood that these are ongoing and are, therefore, provisio- nal. HISTORICAL PROBLEMS. The Patio de Banderas, one open square of the city, is the result of various operations of demo- lition and refurbishment of the central sector of the first Islamic fortress, whose most important milestones were: first, the creation of a space as a large parade ground in the Middle Ages, the opening of the walls to communicate it with the rest of the city in the sixteenth century, its reor- ganization and landscaping in the nineteenth century, and finally, setting its current form as a ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS IN THE ALCÁZAR OF SEVILLE THE SUBSOIL OF THE PATIO DE BANDERAS BETWEN 9th CENTURIES BC AND 12th AD. CAMPAIGNS 2009-2012 ARCHAEOLOGICAL ANALYSIS PROJECT OF ALCÁZAR OF SEVILLE II. 2010-2015 Miguel Ángel Tabales (University of Seville) Research Team: José Luis Escacena (Dr. archaeologist. University of Sevilla), Enrique García Vargas (Dr. archaeologist, University of Sevilla), María Ángeles Barral Muñoz (Ph.D. geographer, University of Huelva), Francisco Borja Barrera (Dr. geographer. Uni- versity of Huelva), Diego Oliva Alonso ((Archaeologist. Museo Arqueológico Sevilla), Eloísa Bernáldez (Ph.D Paleozoology ,IAPH), María Dolores Robador (Doctor architect, University of Sevilla), Francisco Javier Alejandre Sánchez (Dr. chemical, University of Sevilla), Juan Jesús Martín del Río (Dr. chemical, University of Sevilla), Pablo Oliva Muñoz (archaeologist), Rosario Huarte Cambra (archaeologist), Margarita Alba Romero (archaeologist), Cristina Vargas Lorenzo (archaeologist), Elise Arnold (archaeologist), Ana Durán Jerez (archaeologist), Alejandro Jiménez Hernández (archaeologist), Fernando Daza Pastrana (archaeologist), Cinta Maestre Borge (archaeologist), Jacobo Vázquez Paz (archaeologist), Luis Alberto Núñez Arce (construction engineer), Jesús García Carpallo (technical architect), Rubén Gordo Capilla (technical architect). ENGLISH VERSION APUNTES DEL ALCÁZAR DE SEVILLA 1


  • Upload

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)



Since the publication in 1980 of the conclu-sions of Manuel Bendala and Iván Negueruelaon the findings in the Patio de Banderas of theAlcázar of Seville, the idea of a possible exten-sion of this excavation to the rest of the placewas settled between the different groups invol-ved in knowledge of our heritage, to solve themystery by then posed: the existence of an an-cient late religious complex that would last sincethe fourth century until its destruction by Isla-mic Alcázar builders (Bendala and Negueruela1980: 335). Subsequent work conducted in1999 served to reinforce this idea when Romanremains of buildings of interest were localized tosix feet deep. (Tabales 2000: 212).After being a scheduled activity, the decision

to excavate was taken in the Special Plan of Pro-tection Sector 6 Reales Alcázares. At the sametime, a study strategy was carried out, to a firstapproximation to the subsurface stratigraphy,developed in 2009, and the development of anoverall research program, which would includeexcavation and relevant analysis and subse-quent enhancement of remains in an archaeo-

logical underground under de current surface.Three campaigns have been developed up to

now, culminating in the complete excavation ofthe central sector of the square. New actions onthe perimeter of the courtyard and in one of thehouses, which will be fitted out as interpretivecenter of the archaeological crypt (Figure 1), willbe carried out for the completion of the project.We present here a state of affairs in our rese-

arch, although it should be understood thatthese are ongoing and are, therefore, provisio-nal.

HISTORICAL PROBLEMS.The Patio de Banderas, one open square of the

city, is the result of various operations of demo-lition and refurbishment of the central sector ofthe first Islamic fortress, whose most importantmilestones were: first, the creation of a space asa large parade ground in the Middle Ages, theopening of the walls to communicate it with therest of the city in the sixteenth century, its reor-ganization and landscaping in the nineteenthcentury, and finally, setting its current form as a





Miguel Ángel Tabales(University of Seville)

Research Team: José Luis Escacena (Dr. archaeologist. University of Sevilla), Enrique García Vargas (Dr. archaeologist, Universityof Sevilla), María Ángeles Barral Muñoz (Ph.D. geographer, University of Huelva), Francisco Borja Barrera (Dr. geographer. Uni-versity of Huelva), Diego Oliva Alonso ((Archaeologist. Museo Arqueológico Sevilla), Eloísa Bernáldez (Ph.D Paleozoology ,IAPH),María Dolores Robador (Doctor architect, University of Sevilla), Francisco Javier Alejandre Sánchez (Dr. chemical, University ofSevilla), Juan Jesús Martín del Río (Dr. chemical, University of Sevilla), Pablo Oliva Muñoz (archaeologist), Rosario Huarte Cambra(archaeologist), Margarita Alba Romero (archaeologist), Cristina Vargas Lorenzo (archaeologist), Elise Arnold (archaeologist),Ana Durán Jerez (archaeologist), Alejandro Jiménez Hernández (archaeologist), Fernando Daza Pastrana (archaeologist), CintaMaestre Borge (archaeologist), Jacobo Vázquez Paz (archaeologist), Luis Alberto Núñez Arce (construction engineer), Jesús GarcíaCarpallo (technical architect), Rubén Gordo Capilla (technical architect).






result of the improvement works undertaken intown for the 1929 Exposition. As a result ofthese changes, its understanding as a neuralgicpart of the Alcázar was undermined by the story,to the point that today the square, paradoxically,is not part of the palace itself.Its basement was raising unknowns of scien-

tific interest in joining up two keys whose deci-sion became impossible elsewhere in Seville. Onone hand, the detection of the first activities forthe construction of the first palace, especially therecognition of its interior layout, transits, featu-res, etc. On the other hand, we looked for theunderstanding of the process of urban transfor-mation experienced by the city in its southern-most point, precisely where the channels of thecreek Tagarete and the Guadalquivir traditio-nally converged.The first enclosure of the Alcazár and buil-

dings from earlier periods were installed over anarea very different from today in its topographi-cal configuration, on an area adjacent to the har-bor and the river itself, neuralgic in controllingaccess from the South. This was essentially cri-tical, where the archaeological evidence pointedvery complex processes of transformation, wi-thout whose understanding would be difficultto understand the same city as an entity in con-tinuous reorganization. (Figures 2 to 9)

DESCRIPTION OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL PHASESGeoarchaeological sequence1Preliminary data obtained from the laboratory,

with the field review of the profiles identified inthe excavation stratigraphic surveys, permits tosuggest some initial contributions in two mainareas of analysis of this research:> the matter relating to the identification and

characterization of natural conditions on whichthe first occupation of the area, and possibly ofthe city of Seville, takes place, that is, the iden-tification and characterization of soil formationsreceiving the initial impact of the human pre-sence.> the aspect that is related to the palaeotopo-

graphy of the area, especially in regard to thepresence of the river terrace, slope on which pri-mitive settlement was implanted.Regarding the first of these issues, the cu-

rrent state of research allows us to confirm thatedaphic horizons related to the fersiallitic soils

of low terraces of the Guadalquivir have beensuccessfully identified in the SE XIV, the firsttime they have been described. This edaphicprofile is the base of the geoarchaeological se-quence of Seville, associated with an occupa-tional setting of the protohistorical city. This isthe U.A. 1695, located in the Southern profilebase of the aforementioned stratigraphic pro-bing. In this wall is detected, in effect, a Cca /Bca horizon of carbonates accumulation, whichcontinues to roof a B clays accumulation as wellas part of an A2 or AB (?) organic horizon, withabundant bioturbation marks. The first resultsof physicochemical analyzes obtained in thisregard support this interpretation, although itsprovisional character advises us to keep openthe characterization and the end classificationof the horizons. Without prejudice to any sub-sequent modification, this reinforces the possi-bility to calculate, first, the walking surface forthe time of occupation and, secondly, the abi-lity to impact these first groups of settlers onthe edaphic cover.In this regard it should be noted that this pro-

file provides an unique opportunity to know de-eply the characteristics of the upper horizons ofsome soils that no longer exist, either becausethey were destroyed by the urban setting, or be-cause, without being amortized by the differentconstructions, have been subjected to a furtherevolution or erosion processes that have remo-ved it. We can say that we have a fossil, a naturalelement that existed at the time of the foundingof the city of Seville, and that it would not existif it had not kept under the structures and anth-ropic fillings over the past two millennia.Paradoxically, this soil is part of nature that

has been preserved thanks to a particular humanintervention.Moreover, the first results concerning the de-

tailed analysis of the palaeotopography of the te-rrace spur on which the Patio de Banderas of theAlcázar is placed indicate, indeed, that there is asignificant drop in the middle levels of the same.This difference of height, of several meters, takesus directly to the terrace slope. This ramp worksduring different times of the historical develop-ment until the Islamic era, when it is wiped awayand, in a way, set back south. There is a majorhandicap to achieve this ultimate goal: the exca-vation has not reached natural levels not affectedby urban setting.

Prehistoric data and first occupation(Neolithic-Copper Age and 9th-7th centuries BC)2As elsewhere in the Lower Guadalquivir and

its main tributaries, the stable oldest human set-tlements are also from the Neolithic in the pro-vince of Seville. In the Patio de Banderas exca-vation, the presence of this chronological andcultural horizon is evidenced by a still minimalwitness, because it has been found only from apottery shard also found in secondary stratigra-phic position. It is a piece of vessel decoratedwith an embossed outer lace, which has impres-sions of small segments, perhaps made withnails. The container to which this fragment be-longed was light colored and was colored witha red ocher bath, that the one found still partlyretains (Figure 10). This would be a Neolithicculturally linked to Horizonte de Zuheros (Ga-vilan and others 2009), with dates basically oc-cupying VI and V millennia BC. In the districtof Lower Guadalquivir, this world has been re-latively well detected in Corbones valley (Fer-nández Caro y Gavilán 1995: 56-57), but also inthe town of Lebrija, where is the opening levelof the settlement (Caro et al 1987), and near Se-ville, in Coria del Río, although here also withonly one pottery shard, appeared outside theiroriginal archaeological context (Gavilan and Es-cacena 2009: 345).Neolithic findings in Seville (Patio de Bande-

ras) and Coria del Río (Cerro de San Juan) pre-vent, for the moment, its valuation, especiallybecause it is extremely scarce materials and se-condary stratigraphic position of what we aretalking about. In fact, these findings do not showa Neolithic occupation in the same place wherethey were found, it could also be the result ofthe transfer of land, for construction, or for anyother use, which could include much earlier ce-ramic fragments. If so, the primary depositswould be at other points than those that haveproduced these findings, although in areas notfar from these places.This Neolithic documentation suggests at

least the presence of settlements at that timein the region of the Guadalquivir Paleomouth, one end of the river which at that timewas between Coria del Río and Seville, as mul-tiple geomorphic studies have shown (Gavala1959; Menanteau 1982; Arteaga and others1995).

Something similar happens with other cera-mic fragment, now assignable to the CopperAge. Such testimony would be contemporary ofthe final of the important settlement that duringthe third millennium BC and the first centuriesof the next, was in the upper Aljarafe, occupiedtoday by Valencina and Castilleja de Guzmán. Itwould be also residual archaeological material(Harris 1991: 166). We would now approach toa bell style vessel fragment, corresponding to alate or end time of copper age, from dates bet-ween 2100 and 1900 B.C. according to the chro-nology of this phenomenon in the SouthwestIberian in general and in particular in the LowerGuadalquivir (Lazarich 2005: 363-365; GarcíaSanjuán 2011: 128-130 and 136-137). The frag-ment found in the Patio de Banderas shows ablade valance framed by two horizontal lines,and under it, an horizontal zigzag. All this de-coration was made by printed dots with an arrayof multiple teeth, a well-proven technique in bellceramics southern of the Iberian Peninsula (Fi-gure 11). Testimonies closest to ours, with simi-lar decoration, also come around Seville, speci-fically in the area of Carmona (Harrison et al1976) and again Coria del Río (Escacena and Iz-quierdo 1999). Human occupation of Betic pa-leo-estuaries is especially abundant in the vici-nity of Seville during the last phase of the Cop-per Age, at a time before the end of this culturalhorizon. Seville’s testimony has found good shel-ter among well known nearby sites with bell pre-sence: Valencina, el Carambolo, Universidad La-boral, Las Arenas, etc. (Ruiz Mata 1978-79; Fer-nández Gómez y Alonso 1985).But the first stable occupation of Seville, co-

rresponding to the founding of the city itself,can be dated to the Tartessian period and in par-ticular at the beginning of the first millenniumBC. More direct traces of a permanent humansettlement begin to appear from this date in va-rious sectors of the older inner city, includingthe land occupied by the medieval Alcázar. Theboth fluvial and marine environment of the sitecertainly had great prominence in this founda-tional episode, which qualified the layout andthe topographical accommodation of the firstsettlement and the ancient city (González Acuña2011: 30-32).In the Patio de Banderas several structures ex-

cavated on the Guadalquivir tertiary terrace co-rrespond to this *Spal first time.




In all these cases it is negative stratigraphicunits in shape of holes with oval trend plant andirregular contour, that were gradually filled withsmall thickness layers, product of human activi-ties within those cavities. All these structures,whose utility is related to food preparation pro-cesses, and therefore with the operation of hou-sehold inside the hole, correspond to Old Ironage. In the packages of sedimentary fill of thesemass graves of combustion, ceramics made byhand is highlighted numerically, traditionally at-tributed to the Phoenician not community ofTartessos, but the one made by winch is nevermissing. They are signs of a timeline in whichthe Semitic presence in the old mouth of theGuadalquivir has become effective. Therefore,the archaeological data recovered now in the Pa-tio de Banderas certify something that specialistshad relatively clear: the origin of Seville as stablecity and as habitats supporting real urban cha-racteristics is framed in older times of Phoeni-cian colonization.They are not in any event prior to this histo-

rical phenomenon. Our interpretative proposedprefer to stop using the term Bronze Final forthis opening stage of the settlement, at least untilproved conclusively that the town itself Sevilleoccupancy levels prior to arrival of the Canaani-tes, now well documented dates correspondingto the beginning of the first millennium BC.The pit formed by the EU 1696 (negative) was

filled to the brim with various levels of small ho-mes (1694-EU-positive) (Figure 12), amongwhich is well represented burnished pottery andceramic pots by hand with little maintained orintentionally rough surfaces, normally used inthe kitchen for food preparation.As part of the EU 1694, the ceramic ele-

ments with more personality and that couldprovide better chronological data are dark grayor almost black bowls, with vertical walls,which sometimes show very marked fairingsnear the edge. They have the inside finished orpolished and rough exterior, except the areafrom the ridge to the edge (Figure 13). In somecases such containers were decorated on its in-ner face with burnished geometric designs. Onthese occasions the surfaces were also burnis-hed or smoothed. They correspond to the mostcareful choice of handmade ceramics (Figure14).It seems that all these fragments were part of

containers used for cooking and/or containingprepared foods.Anyway, their sizes exceed the more normal

used to eat in the tableware of the period. In thiscontext, one wheel ceramics fragment, paintedon the outside with dark brown lines on yello-wish background, certifies that this pit, the ol-dest detected to date in these habitat opening le-vels in the Patio de Banderas sevillian area, doesnot correspond with occupancy levels in the pre-Phoenician Late Bronze, but in an Old Ironphase3 (Figure 15).The EU 1931, negative, appeared filled by the

EU 1933 positive, which also contained abun-dant vessel fragments from Tartesian period (Fi-gure 16). In this case, its use as combustionstructure may be able to be discarded becausehomes were not documented. The now locatedarchaeological materials are somewhat more re-cently. The rough handmade pottery predomi-nates, corresponding to fragments of cookingvessels and/or storage.West Grey wheel's ceramics is also documen-

ted with these testimonies.This ceramic isn’t prior to the last moments

of the eighth century BC, and is especially abun-dant in the seventh and sixth centuries BC (Caro1989; Vallejo 2005). Because of these modernceramic elements, the 1931 and 1933 UUEEcould correspond to the seventh century BC,since for this century, a special abundance ofrough surfaces and poor quality handmade ce-ramics, as vascular cooking repertory or even fu-nerary equipment has been confirmed. Clearevidence of such uses are, for example, Cerro dela Albina located in La Puebla del Río in the firstcase (Escacena and others 2010) or tumular ne-cropolis of Setefilla (Lora del Río) and its asso-ciated settlement in the second (Aubet 1978,1981; Aubet and others 1983: figs. 30 and 33).Following the current course of the Guadalqui-vir, Seville downstream, Cerro Mariana and con-temporary cremation cemetery, the NecropolisRabadanes (Las Cabezas de San Juan), also re-present clear evidence of this wealth in oneplace, over the centuries eighth to sixth BC, ofcourse handmade pottery, used both in daily lifeand in the funeral rites (Beltrán and others 2007;Pellicer and Escacena 2007).Archaeological evidence detected so far in the

Patio de Banderas of the medieval Alcázar, lin-ked to earlier evidence from the same place or

its vicinity (Huarte 2002: 254-255; Tabales2010: 43-46; Escacena 2008: 320), correspondto the earliest occupation levels of Seville. Theyare actually the oldest direct evidence of anthro-pic structures of the *Spal Phoenician foundingmoment. Although several archaeological re-mains of this period had been found before inother areas of the old town, it was decontextua-lized elements or, in any case, from levels wheregroundwater conditions had prevented strata ofoccupation adjusted autopsy. Only the interven-tion conducted in the street San Isidoro in theeighties of the last century had documented apacked dirt floor and a few bricks, elements thatare dated also in the eighth century BC and co-rrespond to the northwest sector of the proto-historic city (Campos and others 1988: 19).Considering the architectural record at the

Tartesian time in southwestern Hispanic, butmostly paying attention to most of the interpre-tations of this record, circular or oval construc-tions of the type now located in the Patio deBanderas could have been interpreted as “fundsof huts” belonging to not Phoenician Tartessospeople, as Semitic settlers used in their home-lands and their colonies square or rectangularhousing, straight walls and corners at angles of90°. However, there are now serious doubts thateverything has been described as “hut fund” areactually underground in a house, as previouslybelieved. Some experts have expressed strongobjections to consider that many of these cavitieswere prehistoric dwellings, especially those ofthe Copper Age, the alleged ancestors of proto-historic, (Jiménez and Márquez 2006). The casethat was interpretive paradigm of Tartessoswhole series, the Carambolo (Escacena 2010:104-113), is already ruled out. Actually, the Ca-rambolo “hut fund” has proved a bóthros or ritualgrave in the context of the shrine dedicated tothe Phoenician goddess Astarté and well knownnow in the eastern Aljarafe cabezo (Bethlehem2000: 72), ie a pit possibly intended to throwthe remains of sacrifices and other temple sacred“junk”. Since the identification of this hollow ofCarambolo as housing, explanation that emer-ged during excavations in 1958, after the disco-very of the treasure, it was assumed that all si-milar structures would also be the same, and inthis way were interpreted those found, for exam-ple, in the metallurgical settlement of San Bar-tolomé de Almonte, in Huelva (Ruiz Mata y Fer-

nández Jurado 1986), and also those of Vega deSanta Lucía, in the Cordovan locality of Palmadel Río (Murillo 1994: 63-131 and 132-188).This relationship also joined many other sitesdisclosed in the specialized bibliography and lo-calized for almost the whole Tartessian area, es-pecially in the province of Cádiz (Ruiz Mata yGonzález Rodríguez 1994). Hardly anyone hasnoticed that the same formal record may reflectdifferent functions. Moreover, both in the Colinade los Quemados de Córdoba (Luzón y RuizMata 1973: 10) as in the city of Acinipo along-side Ronda (Aguayo and others 1986), or inMontemolín, near Marchena (Chaves and Ban-ner 1991), the finding of true circular houseswith their masonry walls, with dirt floors, withdoors, porches with access, and even their do-mestic stoves, did not raise the slightest doubtabout whether or not they were those otheroblong holes with different design and registra-tion, certainly uninhabitable in many cases as re-vealed by the complex containing stratigraphies.Consider the case of Pocito Chico (Ruiz Gil y Ló-pez Amador 2001), which looks more like a ri-tual grave (Izquierdo y Fernández Troncoso2005: 719). Moreover, in almost all occasionssuch holes have no access to ramps or steps anda signal indicating the existence at the time ofpoles to support the roof, either in the peripheryor in the center.The finding in Las Cabezas de San Juan of an

oval structure with similar features that havenow appeared in Seville, which was filled withhomes, remains of cooking pots, many animalbones and abundant ash (Beltrán and others2007: 83). This reveals that we are really facingstructures used perhaps as outdoor kitchens, atleast in some cases, explanation that fit well atleast for the Patio de Banderas EU 1696 and itscorresponding filling with several levels showingcombustion evidence (EU 1694). In any case, wecannot exclude that similar cavities or similarplant were used as dumping grounds outside thehouses. This new feature may correlate betterwith the EU 1931 and the deposit that fills it (EU1933), especially for being absent these house-holds traces.The open structures on the terrace of the Gua-

dalquivir, which formed the original floor in thePatio de Banderas, correspond to communityservices the city found and that lived in the EarlyIron Age, during the time Carambolo sanctuary



was lifted, whose founding dates are also fromthis period (Fernández Flores y Rodríguez Azo-gue 2007). We would actually face a possiblesouthern suburb on the settlement outskirts,whose urban area would be developed primarilyfrom the Mateos Gago Street toward the north,to the Plaza de la Alfalfa.From these remains located on the combus-

tion pit, very interesting data have been obtainedto begin rebuilding the daily lives of the peoplewho used them as kitchen or as landfill. For thetime being, the appearance of coarse pottery, ge-nerally attributed to culinary use, with more lu-xurious tableware apparently dedicated to tablevessels, as the one with burnished decoration,indicates that the specialization degree of eachtype of vessel was not as high as sometimes hasbeen suspected. In fact, it is possible that the ri-cher variety will also be used for the preparationof food, in the same way that the rougher kinddevoted to contain the ashes of dead ancestorsin the necropolis that at that time were followingthe incinerator rite. This dedication for variousfunctions of almost all ceramics varieties explainthe analyzes results that we have carried out inboth potters modes, from the pits now studiedin the Patio de Banderas, data that are difficultto understand if the tasks to which each type ofvessel were engaged had known a high speciali-zation degree.To investigate these domestic roles of the ves-

sels, we have carried out analyzes of fat absorbedby the recipients. These experiments, conductedby Professor Paloma Álvarez Mateos in the Che-mical Engineering Department, University of Se-ville, have revealed the use from the ninth cen-tury BC of two basic types of fats, one animal(beef tallow) and other vegetable (olive oil). Asthese first data should be compared with newtests, they can be taken with enough caution. Infact, it is not known yet whether the olive oilused in the cooking procedures of these outdoorkitchens are obtained from the small wild olivesprovided by the wild olive tree so abundant inthe region, or from domestic olive trees. Thedata so far checked at the Iberian Peninsula in-dicate that the olive tree came to the West fromthe hands of the Phoenician colonization. So ifit were confirmed that the pottery fragmentsfound in the Patio de Banderas contain domesticolive oil, we could again support the idea thatthese culinary activities had been made at a time

when the Phoenicians had already settled in theGuadalquivir lower valley. The same data wouldbe easier to explain if Patio de Banderas burningpits were Phoenician kitchens or of some othercommunity of Eastern origin, because the eatinghabits of the local population rather obey tradi-tions linked to the Atlantic world in the lateBronze Age. Tastes about what you eat or do noteat, and the traditions on its preparation, are al-most never easy to change, so that the use ofolive oil in such an early stage of the Phoeniciancolonization seems more acceptable if is attribu-ted to these foreign communities newly installedat the site.Even within these reflections should be noted

the appearance of palm oil in a single vesselamong the several analyzed. Future tests willconfirm the peculiar result of this particularanalysis, which, as an alternative hypothesis,could have been camouflaged by ancient proces-ses of other fats bacterial decomposition. The study of faunal remains localized in the

structure defined by EU 1931, held at the Auto-nomous University of Barcelona by archaeozoo-logist María Isabel Montero, has not shown anycontradictory results to this functional hypothe-sis concerning the Patio de Banderas hollows.That is, it would be logical data expected in agrave burning, of about 50 cm. depth, used asoutdoor kitchen. They are “caprinos” bones(sheep and/or goats) and cattle, and a few landmollusc shells (snails) and marine ones (razor-clams). These last would in any case be revealingthe nearby sea, something already proven to Se-ville in this inaugural phase of urban life throughvarious geomorphological studies (Borja and Ba-rral 2005; Barral 2009). The domestic animalsbones show in some cases signs of having beenin contact with fire, which certify its waythrough the burning homes.In summary, these data clearly speak of a sta-

ble occupation in the ninth and eighth centuriesBC, the early centuries of city life just foundedby the Phoenicians.

Beginnings of Roman urbanism. Republican Phase I (circa 100 BC)Remains identified for this stage are concen-

trated in the central and northern part of the ex-cavated space, confined to the area of the abovementioned high elevation. They are locatedslightly above the elevation +7.75 asl (about 5

meters under the Patio de Banderas floor), a le-vel in which their pavements are set, althoughsome of its elevations exceed the height + 9.00.Excavated structures are arranged orthogonally.Apparently they were the first that urbanizedthis sector of the city, inaugurating a system ofguidelines that will last, although with signifi-cant alterations, until the eleventh century AD.They seem to belong to a single housing thatwould have walls with masonry baseboards, aporticated patio, lime plaster4 adobe elevationsand opus signinum pavements of coarse aggre-gate. (Figure 17)The walls, 0.40 and 0.55 meters thick, are

built with mud bricks, corresponding to 0.48 x0.32 x 0.06 module with 0.02 slit. They have arich composition of clay minerals (illite and kao-linite) which is reasonable for a material made from earth /raw clay and a high percentage of fi-nes < 0,063 microns. They settle on a carious li-mestone masonry socket arranged on a founda-tion of gravel from the same material, which fe-atures a small hot shoe 0.76 mts.The outer coating for plastering termination

is made by a single layer of liming/coating of athickness between 300 and 450 microns. Itscomposition has detected the presence of hema-tite (Fe2O3), perhaps due to impurities in thelime, the existence of a polychrome with ironoxide pigments on lime or liming impregnationwith iron oxides from the earth (clay), withwhich it has been buried for centuries. The Gua-dalquivir clays are rich in hematite from themouths of Chanza and Murtiga tributaries in theriver. Considering surface texture observed ismore likely that we are facing a liming than a co-ating. The technique used for plastering is cer-tainly original, scoring overlapping light projec-tions that reveal the use of some sort of overlap-ping planks. (Figure 18)One of these adobe walls is more than two

meters high, which is surprising, given the pre-servation level of other structures of this phase(Figure 19). This wall was reused as the westernboundary of one of the rooms of the buildingbuilt a few decades later. It appears associatedwith a single rammed lime pavement, whichruns next to a drain.We found two signinum opus paving remains

linked to these structures. One of them, that hashighest quality, uses reddish ceramic shreds butin higher concentrations. Its surface is perfectly

smoothed and high hardness, having a smallstone pitching base.In the center of the space, a gallery that retains

a column base of bricks and tiles quadrants se-parates two rooms, highlighting in the southerna pavement of opus signinum with gentle slopes,which, though destroyed by later buildings,allow supposing an organization based on thehydraulic containment. (Figure 20)In this area, a round edge basin of Turdetani

tradition has been localized in situ, apparentlyarranged under the floor level for food preser-vation. (Figure 21)The chronology of these elements, marked by

the materials located inside clogging fillers andcancellation of the structures in question, marksthe transition between the second and first cen-turies BC Radiocarbon dates have been made,marking its construction within a range thatspans the second century BC, without exclu-ding the last years of the third century BC5 (Fi-gure 22)

Republican Phase 2 (60-30 BC)Excavated structures are organized around a

central space, where we could have accessed bytwo separate passages oppositely located at itseastern end. Inside four stone pillars with asquare base were placed, whose task is unk-nown, but judging by its thickness and height(1’20 x 2’00 m.), thet could have been used tosupport an above structure.To the north, three side by side naves would

give access to that central space, while at leasttwo rooms did the same to the south. At thispoint, an arcaded gallery stood in front of the fa-cade, sheltering over to the various rooms, whilea street would perhaps complete north perime-ter. (Figure 23)Although we still do not know whether this

set of units was part of a larger complex, itsadaptation to natural topographic slope loweringto the south can be noticed. We can also realizethe parts of the previous building reuse, the spa-ces uneven transformation during its short life(less than a century) and the final persistence ofone sector, the South, until the third century AD.The functionality of this building cannot be

defined with certainty, since the materials argu-ments (ceramics) are questionable when we as-cribe to them a clear role. However, both its ap-pearance and its proximity to the port area of the


city in this period suggest that it is a buildingwith administrative and/or commercial func-tions, perhaps a large horreus, according to theimage that Latin sources transmitted from thecity at the end of the Republic6. What certainlyis not debatable is the quality and accuracy ofinvoice constructive solution employed, at leastcompared to other buildings found in differentparts of the Spanish geography7. Up to three sectors with factories and different

origin can be identified in the set, as part of a re-distribution of urban southern city probably lin-kable to the port reorganization during this pe-riod. Most of the previous structures were remo-ved for its construction while maintaining a por-tion of the adobe building at the eastern end ina new passage8.We are surprised by the spatial irregularity of

the set and the deficient adjustment of the pillarsto both side passages, which are partially inva-ded, and to the same room in which they are ins-cribed. The pillars are badly suited to the sidepassages, which are partially invaded. In thesame room in which they enroll, galleries of dif-ferent sizes are much smaller than the interiorspace defined by these pillars. We think that thisinconsistency is due to the forced adequacy ofthe building to debits generated by the absorp-tion and integration of only one part of the pre-vious building in the eastern sector and perhapsthe adjustment to the limits imposed by the pre-vious perimeter road.

Sector 1. Northern naves.It is the best preserved, configured through a

series of juxtaposed murals alignments, signingelongated and compartmented stays that some-times reach up to 2.50 m in height, being a cubit(0.44 mts.) the walls average thickness. Whilethe north façade of the building is lost under theprofile of the excavation, it has been possible todocument its southern boundary, which showsa stepped profile with incoming and outgoingand pilasters or maybe ashlar abutments in ho-rizontal arrangement, and the southeast cornerof the building at the point where the ends ofthe walls that form the eastern and southern fa-çade are joined (Figure 24).The stays are long, of varying width and a

length of over 11 meters. They are arranged dif-ferently on the inside. The nave of eight cubits0’44 meters (3’65 meters) is the only one which

apparently does not preserve internal partitio-ning. The largest, located to the east, about 9 cu-bits wide (4’08 meters), is divided into two sec-tions by a powerful ashlars wall. The westernnave, somewhat smaller (3,44 meters), has at le-ast five subdivisions with side entrances exceptone, in the middle, whose jambs are executedwith a different technique. Tegulae and rubblebase walls in one case and regular masonry oreven ashlars stones in other are used for thesecompartmentalization. This diversity respondsto a powerful post processing.

Sector 2. Southern naves and gallery.The northern sector scheme is almost symme-

trically repeated to the south of the central space,although at a lower level. The floors, which arepreserved here, are placed under the dimension7 asl. A similar passage connects the centralspace with the Southern outside, where a porticowith bricks and tiles columns, plastered withlime mortar, is developed, some of which areabout two meters of elevation preserved. The ga-llery is 1’92 m. long and the aisle is 9’70 x 1’50m., measures somewhat lower in both cases thanthe opposite corridor.A large full room has been excavated as well

as part of another of similar dimensions. Thefirst has an 55 m² area, provided with 5’71 x9’70 rectangular mts. side and a great ashlars pi-llar in the center of the room. It preserves its en-tire perimeter except for its northwest corner,paved with a magnificent opus signinum floor al-tered only by a few holes that possibly belongedto wooden posts that would serve in the finalstages to reinforce or repair the roof. (Figure 25)It had two doors: one of them in the south-

western corner, and another, located in the nor-theastern corner, consisting of bulky stone as-hlars door jambs, opened into the central under-ground space.Construction materials perhaps coming from

collapse of the upper floor were located in amor-tization landfills, highlighting among themabundant signinum opus fragments, marble de-corative items, sectiles, polychrome tiles andplasters. The top floor would have apparentlysome dignity, in contrast with the lower, pro-bably used for storage, judging from the soiltype. The next room is partially under the west pro-

file of the excavation, but it is identical in its size,

factory, pavement and probably transit system.Undoubtedly, the most decisive element of

this sector is the wall between these rooms andthe central space (sector 3), since it was used tocontain the thrusts derived from the foreseeabletwo north side floors. Its three feet thick and itsclay masonry factory are the result of a large re-paration and partial previous wall replacement,possibly derived from the destruction and re-form of the barn on the north side during theFlavian period. The blinding of the communi-cation passage and the central basement andlime recent pavements located in this room areattributable to that time.In this description we highlight the presence

of a porch on the south side of this sector. Dis-covered in 1999 in the SE II, now it is set bybricks and tiles columns of plastered and white-washed quadrants. Its maximum size preservedis 1’80 meters high, with a diameter of one cubit(0’44mts.). (Figures 26, 27, 28). The interco-lumn is around 3’50 mts. high, and the galleryhas 1’92 mts. of light. The columns reveal thebuilding long life through higher dimensionsshown by its base. Different lime soils are shor-tening their height, transcending outwards thegallery in each phase, which seem to hampertheir belonging to a street. It looked as if the ga-llery was part of a courtyard, a square or even,as we proposed in 1999, of a hypostyle systemthat supported a higher level. We have to takeinto account that the third century fillings thatcaused their destruction are mainly composedof signinum blocks and other building elements,moving and turning the columns quadrants.

Sector 3. Central room.The set most original area is places between

the two described sectors. It is a rectangularspace of 16 meters lower side, in which at leastfour stone pillars in quadratum opus are registe-red, irregularly arranged (Figures 29 and 30).Its width is 1,20 meters and it has a maxi-

mum elevation of 1,99 meters in the northeas-tern pillar, with rough squared Alcoriza stoneblocks that were set in place with perfectly re-gular ropes and logs and in alternate rows withsome wedges of the same material into stripesthat appear to have been placed in dry status9.The documented remains range between +9.55and +7.56 dimensions. They seem to definethree North-South direction naves with smaller

galleries on the ends (3,77 mts.) and a centralmore light area of 5’60 mts. Its eastern boundaryis defined by the opus lateritium wall, composedof mud bricks. It was built a century earlier, andnow it will be reused with pillars framing a na-rrow space of just 1’42 mts. in its longest side. The western end is not clear yet, but we could

find something similar here, taking into accountthe presence in that sector of an adobe dump li-neup that would define a 3’45 mts. gallery. Itcould also be that this alignment, which belongsto the first Republican phase, was now overta-ken, allowing a greater opening of this space tothe West (we hope to resolve this matter in thenext excavations campaign).The central space opens itself to adjoining ro-

oms through different transitions, having keptthree of them with sufficient clarity. A door ofashlars stacked without mortar connects it to themain room of the southern sector in one corner.We don’t know its format, although trapezoidalvoussoirs appeared in one of the fillers, whichcould have been part of a flat arch. To the northof the pavement slabs stood from the dimension8 up to overcome the 9, over the 12 mts. of itslength through four steps. At the door, a verticalslot in the wall shows the presence of a gate cou-pling. To the south, on the opposite side, a si-milar pavement lime corridor was about onemeter below the level of the central space. Herethe presence of a posterior blinding prevents thesystem check that would solve the stepwise tran-sition between the two spaces. Summarizing, itwas a central space to dimension 8 from whichyou could descend from the northern sector andfrom which you could ascend from the south.(Figure 31)Although their pavements have not been pre-

served, there is evidence of at least two solutionsbelonging to different times. Beside the south-western pillar, which was plundered and fromwhich the circular extraction pit is preserved,we found the first remains of a carbonate naturalsoil layer, artificially discharged at elevation 8 asl.It could be the remnant of the original earthenfloor of this basement.In the southeast corner, at a slightly higher

elevation, remains of a limestone slabs pavementlocked with mud appeared, they were settled ona medium size limestone masonry rudus. Thispavement has been interpreted as the corridorfloor that descends stepwise throughout south




sector10. Precisely in this descendant way, as partof that building eastern façade, a sculpture inbas-relief with phallic motif (Vargas Lorenzo2011: 106) was located on one of the stonechains.One of the key issues in the interpretation of

these structures is their dimensions and theirpossible double height. From north to south thefoundations are placed on decreasing natural te-rrain, like this over forty meters from 8 mts aslup to 6'60. Every wall rests on the naturalground using small outsoles seats composed ofleveled fine masonry with mud, on the bottomof small pits on which the walls are placed.There are exceptions to this general trend. Insome instances that preparation is absent. In the1691 wall of the northern, reinforcement ismade through facing stones basement, raising itsfoundations on the opposite wall along the nor-thern passage dimension. This passage descendsat least one meter to the central space. In thesouthern of the set, the foundation appears at le-vel 6'50.Floor levels would be approximately the

height 8’75 asl in the North three naves and atelevation 8 in the central space with pilasters,except the access passage, that came from astreet in the north, between the dimension 9 and10 (not excavated yet), would fall to that levelby four steps. The rooms in the southern sector,which survived several centuries and certainlychanged ground several times, have preservedopus signinum pavements at elevation 6’80, ie,1’20 lower than in the rest.In short, the passage saved the decline of

ground floor (Figure 32). We believe that therewould be a higher floor to regularize a consistentlevel from the North street above the dimension10. We have the details here:> First, during the Flavius period sectors 1

and 3 were artificially filled, arranging their newland on the benchmark 10 perhaps because of astructural failure, while sector 2, in the south,kept their lower levels. The northern and centralarea keep plastered signs that reveal their use tothat dimension. It would be surprising a big ar-tificial levels rise, without any changes in thenorthern street unless it responded to the clog-ging of a ground floor or basement.> The Northeast Passage goes down stepwise

from North Street, in which we might be expec-ting open doors to this dimension.

> The central sector pilasters ashlars is so po-werful that cannot be understood except as apart of a framework support system whose be-ams were recessed at least two meters aboveground level.> The constructive remains that we suppose

were part of the top floor have appeared over-turned on the sectors 2 and 3. We may witnessa finishes higher quality in these rooms, at leastin the southern part. An enormous number ofhigh quality and size opus signinum fragments ap-pear here, being responsible in some cases of thedisplacement and tilt of the bricks and tiles co-lumns in the south façade. These are especiallyabundant in the central space.The general technique used for building res-

ponds to Opus Africanum, it is called like this be-cause it was used in North Africa. Carthaginianorigin, its diffusion will be extended over the en-tire Roman Empire, stretching from Spain andItaly, documenting even in southern Italy and Si-cily some points (on the island of Mozia and theacropolis of Selinunte, where we find the oldestremains dated back to the fourth century BC).This technique, also called “of bones or filling”or “Opera a telaio” consists of the two elementsalternation, firstly the ashlars (granite, limestone,sandstone... etc.) which can be arranged bothvertically and horizontally, forming the suppor-ting elements of the wall, and on the other thefilling, made of masonry, joining blocks struc-ture. The ostionera stone and sandstone makeup the ashlars, while limestone is used to fill thebones of those blocks11. (Figure 33) The interior of the rooms was plastered with

polychrome stuccos that have been located notin situ but in abandonment fills. Footprints of acoarse plaster of lime-site are only at a point in-side in the west nave, positioning a pavementlost to the dimension 8. Meanwhile, a lot of plas-ter black stucco was found in the clogging stuf-fed of the southern boundary, giving us an ideaof the naves external socket appearance and per-haps of the central basement.One of the western wall ashlars of the central

room has a special feature. The inscription“LCIL” can be seen in its East face, while haulingvoids are seen on its west face. Such traces, leftconsciously, have a clear feature that can be pro-pitiatory, symbolic, and constructive or witnessof the work done by its executor. In this case,two types of marks are recognized in the ashlars

stones. The first one has no intention but the re-sult of the manipulation of the work piece beforebeing placed in its context. This is a small circu-lar hole that was used to fit the tips of the twee-zers, the Roman ferrei forfices (Durán 2008:9),instrument used for lifting and handling of theblocks12. The second mark is more complex tointerpret. This is an inscription carved in ashlarswith the letters “LCIL”. It could be mason marks,a habit that seems to have been originated in theOrient (Durán 2008: 12), where there was amarked respect for individual expression13. Theycould also be engraved indicating the armies in-tervention in Roman public works14. Their pre-sence is observed in Spain and beyond. This isthe case of the construction of the Martorellbridge over the river Llobregat by the Macedo-nian IIII, VI Victrix and X Gemina legions,which have been printed in the construction ofthe engineering work on the ashlars with the nu-merals LIIII, LVI and LX, or on the road thatconnected with Caesaraugusta Oiasso, possiblybuilt by the same legions.This leads us to maintain a usage hypothesis

for this building: containing goods, perhapsgrain. The type of soil and the aeration systemdefined by the existence of the downstairs base-ment indicate this kind of use. This is a commonsolution both in silos excavated in the groundand in elevated barns. According to Varrón thesestructures were often upgraded to level pave-ment and walls to ensure isolation. It defines twostorage types: the Granaria sublimia or elevatedgranaries (excavated ground here can be of thiskind) and the supra terram granaría in agro16.They would be both laterally vented through thebottom of the pavement. Columella adds other vaulted horreum with

opus signinum pavements to combat moistureand invasion of animals through the gaps in thewalls17. It would be in his opinion the most ap-propriate type of building conservation, by ha-ving as insulation a kind of opus signinum usingunsalted vegetable water layers and layers ofcrushed brick with mortar of lime and sand.In our case the existence of a basement, solid

walls to withstand the pressure of the grain andpainstaking pavements of opus signinum seem torespond to that schema. The vaulting, althoughnot discarded, could not be found.Either because this sector of the building was

intended for disposal of important goods or va-

luable merchandise, the truth is that we findsome details that indicate special considerationby the builders. We are talking, on one hand,about the placement of a phallic relief in one ofits façades, clear indication of the need to protecttheir content or function. Furthermore, the ap-pearance of foundational votive pits in its foun-dations, with unguent jars in one case and over-sized pondus in the other, and the provision of aterracotta female statuette, perhaps a represen-tation of the goddess Diana protected by a saucerunder a rock at the base of one of the basementpillars. The appearance of this type of archaeo-logical deposits, with probable votive or ritualfunctionality, is a well-established phenomenonin the official Roman religion. Many of these fin-dings have to be related to the need to makesome actions with a sacrificial act, as the buil-dings that would alter the integrity of naturewere, considered divine and inviolable.No doubt the most original building element

is the phallic relief located in the eastern façade,facing the street18. Carved in one of the ashlarsused in the construction of the building, is loca-ted at the midpoint of the facing, about a meteraway from the original soil elevation. It measures0,279 m long and 0,215 m wide. The specialcharacteristic compared to other phallic carvingsis its complexity. While the reliefs found in Ro-man Hispania, as the Acueducto de los Milagros(Mérida), the Mérida Bridge, or the wall of Am-purias, are only limited to represent the peniswithout attributes, the documented in the Patiode Banderas appears erected and with two ele-ments of the animal world, hindquarters andtail, with its functionality in relation to a clearprophylactic and apotropaic intention (LorenzoVargas 2011:106) (Figures 34 and 35).The study of materials19 places the beginning

of this phase in the mid-first century BC, in fullharmony with the usual chronology of the usedconstruction techniques and the phallic relief.Radiocarbon dating also agrees to match the twosamples taken at foundational landfills within arange that goes from 110 BC to 30 BC20. By com-bining the different evidences, we are provisio-nally inclined by the most recent time of theband, under government of Caesar or Octaviansfirst moments.The active life of these properties was long, al-

though the reforms were constant. The wides-pread rise in levels was the most important, de-



tected during the change of Age, as well as thereconstruction of the opus africanum building,using new opus testaceum walls, with the insta-llation of a major water and sanitation network,during the Flavian period (60-90 AD).

Reforms of the imperial period (1st and 2nd centuries AD)The Republican urbanism will last more than

a century with little changes of interest, exceptfor some minor elevation changes and repairsthat have been dated at the turn of time in par-ticular between 15 BC and 20 AD21.It will be during the Flavian period, between

60 and 90 AD, when we will see the implemen-tation of further reforms of greater intensity, ai-ming at the repair and remodeling of the oldspaces. Firstly, we have documented a rise in thelevels of use of 1.30 meters power in the opusafricanum building, by the contribution of veryhomogeneous filling packages with a high con-centration of ceramic material22. This rise can beexplained if we think that the old building hada basement in one of its rooms, which now cea-ses to function, being canceled prior tamponadewith an old vain bricks, while the walls growagain by a bricks and tiles factory. (Figure 36)The new rig will be built with bricks of 0.29

x 0.22 x 0.06 meters and set in place with alter-nating rather irregular ropes and logs, and ag-glutinated with good quality lime mortar. A ho-rizontal row of brick tegulae leveling is used toeliminate irregularities in the wall. A rig consis-ting entirely of tegulae fragmentary pieces min-ted is used elsewhere, forming pseudo-horizon-tal rows of bricks taken with mud.Coatings in situ have not survived but a lot of

polychrome fragments in the imperial levels did,describing for the late republican time and forthe first imperial times a richly decorated inte-riors with quality plastering23.Another action of this period is the installa-

tion of a sewer covered by barrel vault, acrossthe opus africanum building; bricks threadedNorth-South direction, which maintains a docu-mented length of 5.08 meters24. Under the eas-tern alley also has been noted the existence of adrain culvert built with bricks laid in a headerbond in the wall and lid, and set on levelingcourses tegulae that lock with mortar with highlime concentration. We think it drained in thecollector located on the works for the crypt of

the baptistery, dug in 1976, beneath the squarenorthern row of orange trees, from East to West(Bendala and Negueruela 1980: 379).The southern sector of the patio works diffe-

rently being at a much lower elevation. In thiscase, the imperial reforms are limited to the pla-cement of new pavements directly on the for-mer, one of them possibly placed in opus sectileby the amount of residual marble slabs collectedin attached landfills. Maybe the cracks and thecollapse of one of the alignments as a result ofearthquake would be behind the rise in levels.The truth is that this operation generated a verysharp gap between the buildings on the northside of the square and to the south. In the centerof the square it must have existed at this time acontainment system that would allow the coe-xistence of buildings with four meter differencebetween the soils.The opus africanum walls have continuity in

the time sequence, space reforms on the buil-ding can be observed. Along with repairs to thewalls, we can document the installation of floorsto a level much higher than those marked by theold foundation (asl on the dimension +10.30)and with very unitary sealed fillings whose ma-terials date from the first century AD, amongthem a good numismatist set whose dating pos-tquam is marked by both Claudio coins25.We place the time of destruction of Roman

imperial structures in the late third and fifth cen-tury AD, as the identified materials in the res-ponsible units for the amortization of suchstructures show us. These include those relatedto the construction of a new building that com-pletely destroys the previous classical elements,resulting in new plants and orientations. Theseelements are dated by fillings foundation as wellas by sealed under some pavements remains,showing fifth century chronologies with ceramicmaterials of the period, although numismaticsets, as usual in that time, are somewhat earlier,corresponding to emperors Constantius II orMagnus Maximus.

Late-old and Visigothic buildings (5th-7th centuries AD)The present elevation difference from the first

Roman urbanization throughout the square wasdefinitely softened after floods that ended thesouthern sector of the whole Republican set inthe late third century. If during the imperial pe-

riod the rise in central and northern sectors hadsharpened that unevenness, now all sectors wereapproximately terraced around the dimension10. (Figure 37)The Republican urbanism, despite its trans-

formations, changes in elevation and functionalalterations, it lasted for six hundred years untilthe second half of the 5th century, and at thattime the new architectural principles derivedfrom the establishment of Christianity, leadingto a reorganization of the sector. A large buildingwas built then, probably linked to a possible re-ligious complex erected in this environment. Itwas built on the ruins of the Imperial age, wi-thout observing any reuses and except for theorientation, which is similar to the older, and wefind a radical alteration of the prior urbansystem. After a short life (barely two hundred ye-ars), it was dismantled to levels of foundationand was replaced by a new building during theseventh century, this time changing dimensionsand orientations26.

The great Late-old building. 5th century ADIt’s evident the floor of a building arranged

around a large central courtyard surrounded bya gallery that leads to the other rooms. It is bor-dered by a colonnade of which we have the fullfoundation of the Western Front27. Only two ofthe marble bases on ashlars have lasted, the oneon the Southwest corner is larger than centrals,although the rupture interfaces are identified,caused by the plundering of the remaining pie-ces that would form a 8.20 meters front with arow of five columns. (Figure 38)The central courtyard pavement consists of a

signinum opus surface with a clear inclination to-wards the center, under which a hydraulic linepassing through the wall runs diagonally to whatwould be its central area. This leads us to believein the existence of a water container in thisspace, even if only as a first working hypothesis,without their typology can be defined more pre-cisely28. The water should be from a pit locatedin one of the adjacent rooms, built with ashlarsand tegulae in which a symbol in the shape of afish was printed. (Figure 39).Surrounding the courtyard porticos, we

would find a large perimetral gallery, of whichwe fully preserve the Western Front and in partthe North and South sides. These galleries were

floored by a ceramic tile floor, kept in verygood condition laid in stretcher and headerbond, alternating and staggered, interlockedwith mud and small shards wedges, toppedwith a border header bond along the walls29.The pavements dimensions of use range bet-ween 11.00 and 10.47 meters above sea level.(Figure 40)The walls were carved using mixed brickwork

with irregular stone masonry aimed at heading(pseudo-spictaum) and medium to foundation le-vel, while elevation were preparing facings withregular ashlars leveled by rows of fragmentedbricks and an irregular nuclei of small parts. Thewall thickness is 0.70 meters and the entirebrickwork is made with improved mud withlime. Such foundations are typical of late anti-quity (vid. Basilica of San Lorenzo in Milan,Krautheimer 2002) and in Bética are associatedwith walls of great power, but poor constructionmethods, such as the Coracho basílica (Botella-Sánchez 2008) or the mausoleum excavated inthe Parque Infantil de Tráfico de Córdoba (Cas-tro-Pizarro-Ruiz 2004).We appreciate the contrast between the size

of the rooms, which is very generous, and theapparent good architecture of so powerful co-lonnade, with the irregular layout of the wallsthat rarely fail to be parallel, which is commonin the construction of the time and throughoutthe Mediterranean. The rooms are connected bydoors that need to be, sometimes, of differentheights. For example, the access to the patiofrom the outside, which mark the northern endof the excavation, consisting of a ramp pavementending at the beginning of the patio with a bowon columns, from which part of a shaft has beenpreserved30. (Figures 41 and 42)We are, in short, in front of the remains of a

large building that now transcends the limits setby the excavated space. This building would co-exist with the remains of the traditionally consi-dered northern end of the patio of baptistery,which apparently would be part of a differentbuilding separated from ours by a street or openspace.The late building was built at the end of fifth

century as associated materials suggest, althoughmost previous fillings are marked by a broad re-presentation of the fourth century and the be-ginning of fifth, among them the numismatic re-pertoire and the same ceramic31.



The large ancient late building lasted at leastuntil the second third of the sixth century AD,being destroyed and dismantled to erect a newbuilding in its place. The wear rate of the pave-ment is remarkable, but the razing caused by thesubsequent building and also by the Islamicquarter centuries later prevented the continua-tion of those ornamental elements, marked flo-oring or coatings you would expect from a latebuilding of this kind.

The Visigoths building. 7th century.On the ancient late ruins we have located a

building that appears to be surrounded by but-tresses on the outside, while inside appears onlyone that could be interpreted as supporting atransverse arch on the set of a building of greatentity that would develop across and along thePatio de Banderas surface, transcending allbounds.Unfortunately, only a few walls with east-west

orientation are preserved, since they coincide inaltitude with Islamic levels whose foundation al-most completely swept that horizon. The bestpreserved walls appear to the height of +10.98m above sea level. It develops in east-west direc-tion for approximately 12 meters, with a thick-ness of 0.65 using bricks, following irregularbrickwork in elevation, mixed with irregular li-mestone masonry pieces and stuck in mud. Thebricks have dimensions of 0.30 x 0.22 x 0.04.The unit presents at the level of its foundation asmall scarp that increases the thickness of thestructure to reach 0.90 meters and the brick-work becomes a brick line. Adjoining the nor-thern side of this wall we found brick abut-ments, equal to the wall, a quadrangular floorplan with dimensions of 0.60 x 0.60. On thesouthern side, a single interior abutment appe-ars, sharing some features with the above. Thebuilding system is very similar (if not identical)to that found in recent excavations of the El Ara-hal (Rodríguez e.p.), where exist architecturaland funerary remains that respond to a seventh-century monastic complex (Sánchez Velasco,2012).The link between the destruction of this buil-

ding and the construction of the original Alcázaris a key issue. The discoverers of the traditionalbaptistery identified the Alcázar wall with the Dral-Imra, fortress built after the riots of 913-14against the Emirate of Córdoba. We ourselves

have participated in this dating until several fin-dings have leaded us to a few decades later (Ta-bales 2009:135). According to Bendala and Ne-gueruela, the baptistery is covered by Islamic fi-llings and buildings that will raise the dimensionup to one meter below the current level. Sincethey do not know the starting level of the foun-dation trench of the wall, they consider that suchbuildings are subsequent to the construction ofthe Alcázar. However, our excavations of the Patio de Ban-

deras, on the Alcázar original door and in thenorth wall identified a powerful explanation onthe ground at elevation 11 asl, on which a deeppit would be excavated and used as a strip foo-ting for lifting the fortress walls. These founda-tions have two characteristics that define the de-terioration horizon of this hypothetical religiouscomplex. The first is the chronology of the ele-venth advanced century (as latest possible date)for both the trench as also for fillings excavated.The second is that the earthworks required forsuch work directly affect the disappearance oflate levels above pavement, indicating that thebuilding persisted, we do not know whetherabandoned or not, at least until the middle ofthe eleventh century and actually, as Negueruelaand Bendala maintain, its existence is incompa-tible with the original Alcázar.Our excavations from 2009 to 2011 added

the presence of a raised area in the middle of theeleventh century, prior to the construction of theAlcázar on the Visigoth ruins. Refill packets havebeen located on the remains of the building, inwhich the amortization materials of the Visigothbuilding were mixed with all subsequent opera-tions of the Islamic period, so we have no amor-tization pure filler. The registered trousseau da-tes back to the tenth century, with honey-colo-red ataifores, greenish or enameled decorated in“green-manganese”, sinuous profile “bizcocha-dos” pots, oval spout oil lamps, flat edge andglobular body “bizcochados” pitchers, etc. Butmost of the findings are from the following cen-tury.Three trenches excavated in the Islamic pe-

riod stand out with the intention of reusing thebuilding material of the earlier buildings, beingutilized upon completion to fill them with trashdeposits with many ceramic and organic wastematerials. Along with the pits, interference indepth are also noteworthy, as a result of the ex-

cavation both foundation pits as the medievalwalls around the sewage or sanitation system re-sulting in Islamic infrastructure. Most medievaldestruction over earlier remains is due to thesmall difference between the levels of use of apoint and another.The organization that articulated the imperial

city does not last beyond the fifth century. Thestreets and buildings, stores, professional asso-ciations, walls or any other installations, weresimply eliminated in this sector32. We see theconstruction of an unknown dimensions buil-ding, probably religious complex under the Pa-tio de Banderas, extramural in theory. A large ce-metery is located on its environment, at least un-til the seventh century, occupying the whole areaof the Archivo de Indias and surroundings. Dif-ferent parts, sections and structures, along withthe interpretation of historical documentation,allow a reasonable hypothesis about the impor-tance of the building in the late ancient city.No excavation in this area has shown a struc-

tural continuity between the ancient Romanworld and the newest one. On the contrary, a di-sappearance of urban life can be observed, asconceived at that time from the fourth centurygiving way to other functions, such as religiousor funeral, whose continuity is evident for cen-turies (Tabales 2009:70)33. The inherent confi-guration of the building would indicate, with lit-tle room for doubt, a buildings complex of con-siderable proportions.Since the sixth century we document the

abandonment of that building. In the presentcase we see that its abandonment is linked to theunits as shown in the brick sealed with the bis-hop’s Marciano chrismon, with a timeline ran-ging from early and mid 5th century, as the firstpossibility, or even the beginning of the 6th cen-tury if he is the well known Bishop of Écija, pre-sent in other similar elements34. We do not knowif the late building was violently destroyed orsimply removed. Only part of the foundationand the floor has been preserved, but the fact isthat at the beginning of the seventh century itwas replaced with a new building, very differentin its orientation and in the construction tech-niques35. The real background of the two ancient late

buildings discovery in this context lies in theChristianization phenomenon of suburban “bé-ticas” cities, from the fourth century AD, through

the construction of martyrial basilicas (Krauthei-mer 2002) or the foundation of suburban mo-nastic complexes (García Moreno 1993; MorenoMartín 2011), or both at once, as seems to hap-pen in the ancient late Tarragona (Vilar López2006). There are indications that there was a re-ligious complex in the area. The found remainscould be part of it.

Islamic Urbanism. Organization and reforms (11th and 12th centuries).The excavation of the patio has now comple-

ted an area of approximately 500 m² of Islamicurbanism, apparently prior to the constructionof the first Alcázar enclosure. Located outsidethe city walls, right in the eleventh century, thesuburb was distributed over a wide area cove-ring at least from the present Cathedral and Ar-chivo de Indias to the English Garden of the Al-cázar and lasted until the twelfth century, to di-sappear during the transformation process of theIslamic city southern sector during the AlmohadCaliphate.Thanks to the remains found, we see a chro-

nological and spatial perception rich in transfor-mations and redistributions that paint a complexpicture whose beginning is marked by the des-truction of the 7th century Visigoths buildings,the grading of the land, the continued plunde-ring execution pits to extract construction ma-terial from recumbent below36 Roman buildingsand finally, the construction of a neighborhoodthat would suffer several changes to its final de-mise, a century later37. (Figures 43 and 44)From an urbanistic point of view, the excava-

ted buildings are adapted to two different orien-tations established by two streets, one of whichwas located on the eastern edge of the currentcourtyard, crossing diagonally from northwestto southeast about their present organization. Atleast one of the localized housing opened itsfront and its door to this street. Two other homeswere located in the western part of the patio, al-though in this case the wall with the aforemen-tioned marked a slight deviation in the orienta-tion. The explanation lies in its adaptation to astreet that probably would be located in that sec-tor North-South arrangement, which wouldopen its doors. In other words, we have locatedseveral buildings belonging to a block with partywalls that reveal the distribution of perimeterstreets.


We only know for sure the width of a streetthat had at least 3.5 meters between façades, forwhose center ran a sewer, collecting numerousdischarges from latrines located in homes. (Fi-gure 45). In the twelfth century this network re-placed the original system, much simplerthough common during the prealmohade pe-riod, consisting of evacuation to cesspools loca-ted on the street that would be cleaned quite of-ten because of their small size38. In relation tothe spatial distribution and delimitation of hou-sing, we have completed the plant of two hou-seholds and the patio plant corresponding toone third, all organized around courtyards withsunken parterre square format, without side-walks or internal partitions. The east locatedhouse (housing 6) was about 50 mts² and wasset by two midsections facing the courtyardnorth and east sides.The first one had the entrance from the street.

At least in the final moments of the twelfth cen-tury it had an ornamental baseboard with red in-terlacing on white background39. A latrine arran-ged in a canonical manner appeared next to thedoor with many reforms, until its final elimina-tion. A pantry was located at the bottom of thisstay-hall. Two large vessels appeared sank on thepavement, one of them perfectly preserved. Westof the patio, the main room opened its dooraxially on the patio, equally decorated with redinterlacing which appeared overturned on thepavement. At East, the patio provided three cu-bicles that faced the front. A warehouse, the kit-chen and perhaps a new latrine would be distri-buted in one of them, closed by a partition wall.The courtyard itself, surrounded by small terra-ces, was sunken as all detected, and had a singledrain gutter on the side of the main room, onwhich we find a hydraulic ejector rod that actsas inner limit of the trough40. The courtyard wasrenovated at the end of its life, canceling the de-pressed landscaping and paving the whole sur-face with a molten lime41. This building meetsall the requirements of a housing complex type:depressed flowerbed gardens, surrounded by pe-rimeter terraces, irrigation canals under the te-rraces, possible kitchen, and at least two tripsaround the patio, warehouse and main room, soits inhabitants would not surely belong to the lo-wer strata of the society. We thought it might be-long to a social group related to artisanal-indus-trial work, because although the building is not

quite humble (interlacing decoration is presentin two of its rooms) it does not have a large sizeso as to consider high class.Also in the East, but in the northern end of

the square, the remains of another property ap-pear. Besides sanitation infrastructure of thehouse, inside (housing 1) there is a room inwhich a ceramic storage jar is located, belongingto the last moments of the building life in Almo-ravid period42.The following household (dwelling 4), much

smaller, was only about 35 mts², having a rec-tangular room and a very small depressed gar-den with brick low walls which replaced anotheroldest patio. In this house the changes weremore significant, undergoing a radical improve-ment of materials and distribution.The remains of the buildings within develop-

ment of the street northwestern side belong towall structures whose use of level is marked bya Dess pavement. This bound is +11.71 andwould be the point of reference to Northern Is-lamic remains localized (housing 2). This boundis +11.71 and would be the point of reference toNorthern Islamic remains localized (housing 2).We find here a no detailed structure that seemsto be identified as an element of hydraulic cha-racter, since it preserves the remains of a channelon a leveled surface.Finally, the completely destroyed remains of

a quadrangular courtyard with single pool onthe west side (housing 3) were located in the ex-cavation west extreme. It would be perhaps ahighest ranking house than the previous ones,with a main hall into the area, but unfortunatelynothing could be preserved unless the lowerrows of the patio foundation. The last two hou-ses would have access from the street in the westof the excavation.A water well that had to have a partially pain-

ted red curbstone appeared between houses3,4,5 and 6, as part of what could be a walkwaythat will come from the east street, or maybe per-haps from the same second house. It was risingabove a pool and surrounded by a well riggedstone slab pavement. Radical changes occurredin this area during the century of the neighbor-hood, building platforms over wells which inturn were replaced by gardens and new parti-tions43. The water supply was achieved by wellsin the central North-South axis of the currentPatio de Banderas. The one which is located in

the 3rd house stands out among them. It con-sisted of stones reused as support of a disappe-ared curbstone that was painted with red ocher,judging from the marks left on base. The pit wallwas brick and masonry, being located insideabundant organic material (under study) and ce-ramic. We have a wide representation of domes-tic installations beside the well of rings of the ad-joining house and septic, sewers, latrines andcesspools. The storage of food appears here sol-ved by large vessels embedded in the pavement,always in tiny dwellings that served as storage(Figure 46).In the oriental house (housing 6) there was a

specific storage room at the back of the mainhall, while three spaces were opened in the samecourtyard, serving to the same purpose besidescooking. (Figure 47)The preservation level of the Islamic remains

was insignificant, due to the damage caused bysubsequent looting pits and refurbishment of thecourtyard in the twentieth century, by placingtheir land near the present surface. Because ofthe difference in height between the North andSouth ends of the present patio, as we approachthe southern sector, the Islamic remains conser-vation is greater. So you can better identify hou-ses of this period in the south side, showing de-tails such as the adequacy of housing to theslope marked by the street by staggering the in-terior of the rooms. Dating back to the initialmoments of the neighborhood, we found anumber of stuffed packages where Visigothicbuilding destruction materials were mixed withall subsequent operations, already from the Is-lamic period, so we have no pure filler amorti-zation.Deposits show taifas44 full productions going

through to the end of the century ship withslight fluctuations between +10.96 / +10.30 asl,characterizing “dess” pavements, leveled withstone, wall structures, culverts and wells. Thetransition between centuries occupies similar di-mensions and can reach deeper levels by thepresence of small detrital accumulations thatpierce the ground. This demonstrates the conti-nued use of the previous housing through va-rious reforms that result in the presence of newwalls, floors or improvement of the hydraulicsystem. In these fillers we usually detect Taifaadvanced productions, interspersed with Almo-ravids contributions.

The horizon of the twelfth century unfoldsaround the yard with some variety of heights, es-tablishing some boundaries ranging from +11’70/ +10.50 asl, being the latest time that the houseswere occupied. We ascribe to this phase associa-ted fillers to the landscaped space and surroun-ding rooms with its walls and floors, located inthe southern sector of the courtyard, which re-cord all productions of the first half of the cen-tury, being in the amortization of its cancellationwhere we find potteries advanced enough toconsider them the background of “tardoalmo-hade” trousseau.In the final moment of the neighborhood life

we identified fillings canceling sanitation infras-tructure of the main street, which mark its sil-ting. The units that filled inside the jar of theNortheast house were also identified. On theseitems we also confirm leveling and abandon-ment general fillings, ranging from +12.09 and+11.69 dimensions asl45.Although in recent years, excavations in the

Alcázar and its surroundings have cleared partof the changes experienced by the southern sec-tor of Isbilia between the 11th and 13th centu-ries, archeology still has much to say about eachstep of the process and especially the very earlyIslamic urbanism, between the 8th and 10thcenturies. It is true that the fundamental tracesof these developments are now beginning to beunderstood, but nevertheless some essentialsteps still remain unresolved or a stage in whichtests discarded traditionally raised possibilities,but is still unable to close precise answers.The current situation of research raises the fo-

llowing scenarios, certainties and questions forthe sector in the Islamic period: We raise the possibility that, since the arrival

of the Muslims in 711 until the construction ofthe suburb located in the Patio de Banderas inthe eleventh century, this area, which we thinkwas extramural, somehow maintained a buildingof the ancient late religious complex standingand in use. There is no direct evidence to sup-port this hypothesis except the superposition ofboth stratigraphic horizons at that point of theAlcázar. The appearance of a Mozarabic graves-tone of the Caliphate period in this environmentwould support the theory. Nearby, the whole re-ligious and burial sites were amortized at leastsince the 10th century by landfills, wells, pottery,etc., so that its scope and weight in the area was




apparently reduced to its complete disappea-rance in Abbadi period (Tabales 2009 : 76).In theory, the first fortress was responsible for

the replacement. Bendala and Negueruela saidthat decades ago and so it would appear in thearchaeological work made on the outside of theenclosure, which also moved the event from the914, suspected traditional date, until the end ofthe 11th century, time at which archeology madeit possible (Tabales 2009:99). Ibn ‘Abdun descri-bes a late Abbadi and Almoravid city collapsedin accelerated and disorganized growth, forcedto acquire new urban infrastructure like the cre-ation of new cemeteries outside the city walls, be-cause of overcrowding and the absorption of theold ones by the village. Some people get to seean urban expansion during the 11th century tolevels similar to Almohad City, as a result of anurban forecasting, anticipating future intramuralneighborhood46 development. Recent excava-tions of the Alcázar show how extramural Isbiliawill be colonized by new unplanned neighbor-hoods, arranged under the protection of the ci-tadel from the moment of its construction.The finding of a considerable length (500 m²)

of Islamic buildings under the Patio de Banderasposes a question that we hope to resolve throughfurther work. The question is: since the neigh-borhood was established in the 11th centuryand evolved into Almoravid-Almohad period,after which time we read their destruction, doesthis neighborhood coexisted in the time of itsfounding with the first Alcázar? In other words,was it recently raised when it was decided toclose a part to build the Alcázar? Do both werebuilt at the same time? Or maybe the suburb wasdestroyed to build the Alcázar, and was the Al-cázar even newer than we thought? The state ofresearch undertakes to maintain some caution,given the importance of the questions raised.There was a homogeneous development du-

ring the eleventh century and destruction in thetwelfth century after undergoing significanttransformations. We cannot say that on the con-trary the Almoravids or Almohads were respon-sible for its destruction. Abandonment fillingsindicate that, at least, that is the time from whichsuch a measure may be justified and may be inthe early Castilian stages. It would be importantto excavate in preserved and currently standbuildings at the Patio de Banderas, to see if theywere part of that neighborhood and suffered the

same evolution. This would allow a better un-derstanding of its link to foundational sameplace of the Alcázar, lasting until today andbeing edified directly on its walls.The truth is that the homes and streets located

under the Patio de Banderas have their levels ofuse at levels slightly lower than those of the Al-cázar north wall foundations, which forces us toargue about their compatibility. The wall foun-dations materials are contemporaries and insome cases slightly subsequent to the houses.The orientation of the main street, obliquely tothe Alcázar, and the lack of openings in the wall(gate) at its end, seem to discard coexistence bet-ween both realities.

PROVISIONAL CONCLUSIONSThree years after the excavations were initia-

ted; campaigns undertaken in the Patio de Ban-deras demanded a provisional disclosure of itsmain results. We have tried over these pages toexpose our findings, study lines and our doubts.At deadline of this publication we are in thecampaign of 2012, for phase 2 of our GeneralResearch Project. In parallel we are in the pro-cess of drafting the relevant Project of Enhance-ment and Construction of the ArchaeologicalCrypt. (Figures 48, 49, 50)In short, the Patio de Banderas shows today

the following results:> A stratigraphy covering a period of two

thousand years, from the ninth century BC tothe twelfth century AD has been analyzed.> Sedimentological studies have consolida-

ted the observations of the paleo-topography ofthe southern boundary of Seville by analyzingthe topography of the natural level detected un-der the Plaza. Being the first discovery of a pri-mal terrace level of Seville retained in the instantbefore the anthropization in the ninth centuryBC, its morphology takes center stage in our me-thodological approach. In the southern part ofthe square, the virgin land is located under thedimension 6 asl, two meters below the northernsector. In the 2010 campaign the exact point ofwhat we believe is the natural ground depres-sion, was located under a large Roman structureof ashlars located in the vicinity of the fountain.> Remains belonging to the Early Iron Age

period have been found, specifically two kit-chen-pits as well as bone remains and ceramicsfrom the ninth to the seventh century BC.

> A series of buildings, streets and overlap-ping walls have been located, belonging to dif-ferent historical periods of the city, from the se-cond century BC until the eleventh century, atwhich time the newly built Alcázar definitely re-defined that urban sector. Broadly speaking,there is a prolongation of Roman urbanism fromthe second century BC until the fifth centuryAD, time when new buildings emerge in res-ponse to a different urbanism, perhaps linked tothe religious buildings of the environment.> Structures belonging to an ancient Roman

building have been documented, along with theproven of its pristine character at the guidancesystem in force in the sector.> The most important of the excavated buil-

dings is the one raised by the opus africanumtechnique, in the middle decades of the first cen-tury BC, in the late Roman Republican period.This is a relatively well-preserved building, per-haps a port warehouse; perhaps a horreum withsome points raised in excess of 2 meters inheight, conserving two sectors around a court-yard or central basement, which encompassesseveral stone pillars.> A phallic relief carved on one of the sands-

tone blocks in one of its passages stands out inthis set. Its protective and apotropaic charactercould be a further indication of public use of thebuilding of which it formed part.> The complex transformation process of

the Roman structures has been verified, assu-ming changes in building and especially a signi-ficant rise in the pavements general level. Weknow that the stratigraphic behavior is differenton both sides of the square. While in the nor-thern the renovated building during the Flavianperiod will last until the fifth century, on thesouth side Roman remains do not exceed thethird century, occurring here an accumulation ofsilt from the river drag absent in the North side.> At the end of the fifth century a large buil-

ding is built around a columned courtyard. Per-haps it would belong to religious units linked toa church outside the walls. There is conflictingevidence that allow maintaining the hypothesisof the existence of a basilica in this environment,but the evidence is not conclusive and other ap-plications cannot be discarded. Radical changesoccurred in the sector after a century and a half,being a new construction built after the seventhcentury. We do not know the durability of the

Visigothic building, but there are indicationsthat it could be in use until its remains were re-placed by the eleventh-century Islamic urbani-zation.> The existence of a neighborhood in the

eleventh century can be proven, lasting untilthe twelfth century with significant repairs. Westill need to specify the timing and direction ofchanges experienced by these buildings until itsdemise. According to our research, some data in-formation about the first Alcázar could havebeen implemented after the construction of thehouses.

BIBLIOGRAPHYAguayo, P.; Carrilero, M.; de la Torre, M.P.;

Flores, C. (1986): “El yacimiento pre y protohis-tórico de Acinipo (Ronda, Málaga): un ejemplode cabañas del Bronce Final y su evolución”, Co-loquio sobre el Microespacio 3. En ArqueologíaEspacial 9: 33-58.Amores, F. (2005): “La cristianización de la

ciudad de Sevilla en la Tardoantigüedad” en Lacatedral en la ciudad (1) Sevilla, de Astarté a SanIsidoro. Aula Hernán Ruiz, pp. 140-160., Sevi-lla.Arteaga, O.; Schulz, H-D.; Roos, A.M. (1995):

“El problema del 'Lacus Ligustinus'. Investiga-ciones geoarqueológicas en torno a las Marismasdel Bajo Guadalquivir”, Tartessos 25 años des-pués, 1968-1993, Jerez de la Frontera: 99-135.Ayuntamiento de Jerez de la Frontera, Jerez dela Frontera.Aubet, M.E. (1978): La necrópolis de Setefilla

en Lora del Río, Sevilla (túmulo B). CSIC-Uni-versidad de Barcelona, Barcelona.Aubet, M.E. (1981): “La necrópolis de Setefi-

lla (Lora del Río, Sevilla): el túmulo A”, en P.I.P.:Andalucía y Extremadura. Universidad de Bar-celona, Barcelona.Aubet, M.E.; Serna, M.R.; Escacena, J.L.; Ruiz

Delgado, M.M. (1983): La Mesa de Setefilla. Loradel Río (Sevilla). Campaña de 1979 (Excavacio-nes Arqueológicas en España 122). Ministerio deCultura, Madrid.Barral, M.A. (2009): Estudio geoarqueológico

de la ciudad de Sevilla. Universidad de Sevilla –Fundación Focus-Abengoa, Sevilla.Belén, M. (2000): “Itinerarios arqueológicos

por la geografía sagrada del Extremo Occidente”,en E. Costa y J.H. Fernández, Santuarios feni-cio-púnicos en Iberia y su influencia en los cul-



tos indígenas. (XIV Jornadas de Arqueología Fe-nicio-Púnica): 57-102. Museo Arqueológico deIbiza, Ibiza.Beltrán, J.; Izquierdo, R. Escacena, J.L. (2007):

“El “Cerro Mariana”: excavaciones de 1998-99”,en J. Beltrán y J.L. Escacena (ed.), Arqueologíaen el Bajo Guadalquivir. Prehistoria y Antigüe-dad de Las Cabezas de San Juan: 73-92. Univer-sidad de Sevilla – Ayuntamiento de Las Cabezasde San Juan, Sevilla.Bendala, M. y Negueruela, I. (1980): “Baptis-

terio paleocristiano y visigodo en los reales alcá-zares de Sevilla”, en Noticiario ArqueológicoHispánico nº 10, pp. 335-380. Madrid.Blanco, A. (1984): La ciudad antigua. De la

prehistoria a los visigodos. Col. Historia de Se-villa. SevillaBlázquez, J. M. (1967): “Posible origen afri-

cano del Cristianismo español”. Archivo Españolde Arqueología, 40, 1967, pág. 30 y ss. Madrid.Blázquez, J. M. (1978): “La Bética en el Bajo

Imperio”. I Congreso de Historia de Andalucía.,197, 268-270. Córdoba.Borja, F. y Barral, M.A. (2003): “Análisis geo-

arqueológico” en El alcázar de Sevilla. Primerosestudios sobre estratigrafía y evolución construc-tiva. Pp. 235 ss. Madrid.Borja, F. y Barral, M.A. (2005): “Evolución

histórica de la vega de Sevilla. Estudio de geoar-queología urbana” en La catedral en la ciudad(1) Sevilla, de Astarté a San Isidoro. Aula HernánRuiz, pp. 5-36. Sevilla. Botella, D. y Sánchez, J. (2008): La basílica de

Coracho. Colección: Monográficos de Patrimo-nio Arqueológico y Etnológico de Lucena. Nº 1.(Ed. Ayuntamiento de Lucena, Córdoba)Campos, J.M.; Vera, M.; Moreno, M.T. (1988):

Protohistoria de la ciudad de Sevilla. El corte estra-tigráfico San Isidoro 85-6 (Monografías de Arqueo-logía Andaluza / 1). Junta de Andalucía, Sevilla.Caro, A. (1989): Cerámica gris a torno tarte-

sia. Universidad de Cádiz, Cádiz.Caro, A.; Acosta, P.; Escacena, J.L. (1987): “In-

forme sobre la prospección arqueológica consondeo estratigráfico en el solar de la calle Alca-zaba (Lebrija-Sevilla)”. Anuario Arqueológico deAndalucía / 1986. II, Actividades Sistemáticas:168-174. Junta de Andalucía, Sevilla.Castro del Río, E., Pizarro, G. y Sánchez I.,

(2004): “El conjunto arqueológico del parque in-fantil de tráfico de Córdoba. La ocupación Tar-doantigua del suburbio occidental de colonia pa-

tricia-corduba”. Anales de Arqueología cordo-besa, 17, 2006. Vol. II, pp. 103-118Chalkia, E. (1991): Le mense paleocristiane:

tipologia e funzioni delle mense secondarie nelculto paleocristiano. Pontificio Istituto di arche-ologia cristiana, Città del Vaticano (1992)Chaves, F.; De la Bandera, M.L. (1991): “As-

pectos de la urbanística en Andalucía occidentalen los s. VII-VI a.C. a la luz del yacimiento deMontemolín (Marchena, Sevilla)”, II CongressoInternazionale di Studi Fenici e Punici, vol. II:691-714. Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche,Roma.García Moreno, L.A. (1994): “La Andalucía de

San Isidoro”. VV.AA.: Actas del II Congreso deHistoria de Andalucía. Vol. III, Historia Antigua,pp. 555-579.Gutiérrez, S. y Cánovas, P. (2009): “Constru-

yendo el siglo VII: Arquitecturas y sistemas cons-tructivos en el Tolmo de Minateda” en El sigloVII frente al siglo VII: Arquitectura. Anejos de AEspa LI. pp. 91-132. Madrid.Escacena, J.L. (2008): “Cantos de sirena: la

precolonización fenicia de Tartessos”, en S. Ce-lestino y otros (ed.), Contacto cultural entre elMediterráneo y el Atlántico (siglos XII-VIII a.C.).La precolonización a debate: 301-322. CSIC,Madrid.Escacena, J.L. (2010): “El Carambolo y la

construcción de la arqueología tartésica”, en M.L. De la Bandera y E. Ferrer (coord.), El Caram-bolo. 50 años de un tesoro: 99-148. Universidadde Sevilla, Sevilla.Escacena, J.L.; FELIU, M.J.; IZQUIERDO, R.

(2010): “El Cerro de la Albina y la metalurgia dela plata en Tartessos”, De Re Metallica 14: 35-51.Escacena, J.L.; Izquierdo, R. (1999): “Proyecto

Estuario. Intervención Arqueológica de 1994”,Anuario Arqueológico de Andalucía / 1994. II,Actividades Sistemáticas: 161-166. Junta de An-dalucía, Sevilla.Fernández Caro, J.J.; GaviláN, B. (1995): “Ya-

cimientos neolíticos en el río Corbones (Sevi-lla)”, Spal 4: 25-67.Fernández Flores, A.; Rodríguez Azogue, A.

(2007): Tartessos desvelado. La colonización fe-nicia del suroeste peninsular y el origen y ocasode Tartessos. Almuzara, Córdoba.Fernández Gómez, F.; Alonso, J. (1985): “Un

fondo de cabaña campaniforme en la Universi-dad Laboral de Sevilla”, Noticiario Arqueológico

Hispánico 22: 7-26. Ministerio de Cultura, Ma-drid.García Sanjuán, L. (2011): “The numerical

chronology of the megalithic phenomenon insouthern Spain: progress and problems”, MengaMonográfico 1: 121-142.Gavala, J. (1959): La geología de la costa y ba-

hía de Cádiz y el poema “Ora Maritima”, deAvieno. Instituto Geológico y Minero de España,Madrid. Ed. facsímil en Cádiz, Diputación Pro-vincial de Cádiz, 1992.Gavilán, B.; Escacena, J.L. (2009): “Acerca del

primer Neolítico de Andalucía occidental. Lostramos medio y bajo de la cuenca del Guadal-quivir”, Mainake XXXI: 311-351.Gavilán, B.; Escacena, J.L.; Rodríguez, J.

(2009): “La ocupación neolítica de la Baja An-dalucía entre el Guadiana y el Guadalquivir”, IVEncuentro de Arqueología del Suroeste Penin-sular. Universidad de Huelva, Huelva.González Acuña, D. (2011): Forma vrbis his-

palensis. El urbanismo de la ciudad romana deHispalis a través de los testimonios arqueológi-cos. Universidad de Sevilla – Fundación Focus-Abengoa, Sevilla.Harris, E.C. (1991): Principios de estratigrafía

arqueológica. Crítica, Barcelona.Harrison, R.J.; Bubner, T.; Hibbs, V. (1976):

“The beaker pottery from El Acebuchal, Car-mona (Prov. Sevilla)”, Madrider Mitteilungen 17:79-141.Huarte, R. (2002): “Estudio general de mate-

riales”, en M.A. Tabales, El Alcázar de Sevilla.Primeros estudios sobre estratigrafía y evoluciónconstructiva: 253-282. Junta de Andalucía – Pa-tronato del Real Alcázar, Sevilla.Izquierdo, R.; Fernández Troncoso, G.

(2005): “Del poblamiento de época orientali-zante en Andalucía occidental”, en S. Celestinoy J. Jiménez (ed.), El Periodo Orientalizante(Anejos de Archivo Español de ArqueologíaXXXV): 709-730. CSIC, Mérida.Jiménez Sancho, A. (2002): “Excavación en c/

Abades 41-43 (Sevilla); del siglo III a.C al sigloIV.” en Romula 1. Seminario de Arqueología. Uni-versidad Pablo de Olavide, pp: 125-150. Sevilla.Jiménez, V.; Márquez, J.E. (2006): “Aquí no

hay quien viva”. Sobre las casas-pozo en la pre-historia de Andalucía durante el IV y el III mile-nios AC”, Spal 15: 39-49.Krautheimer, R (2002): Tre capitali cristiane.

Topografi a e politica. Milán.

Lazarich, M. (2005): “El campaniforme enAndalucía”, en M.A. Rojo y otros (coord.), ElCampaniforme en la Península Ibérica y su con-texto europeo: 351-387. Universidad de Valla-dolid - Junta de Castilla-La Mancha, Valladolid.López Vilar, J. (2006): Les basiliques paleo-

cristianes del suburbi occidental de Tarraco : eltemple septentrional i el complex martirial deSant Fructuós. Universitat Rovira i Virgili: Insti-tut Catalá d' Arqueologia Clàssica.Luzón, J.M.; Ruiz Mata, D. (1973): Las raíces

de Córdoba. Estratigrafía de la Colina de losQuemados. CSIC, Córdoba.Manganaro, G. (1996): “Fallocrazia nella Si-

cilia greca e romana” en ZPE, 111, pp. 135-139. Mañanes, T. (1983): “Bronces romanos de la

provincia de León” en Homenaje a Martín Alma-gro Basch II, pp. 399-410. Madrid.Martín Gómez, C. (1982): “Placas decoradas

de época paleocristiana y visigoda con inscrip-ción, del Museo Arqueológico de Sevilla”. Mu-seos. 1, p. 37. Sevilla.Mateos, P. y Caballero, L. (2003): Anejos de

Archivo Español de Arqueología. Repertorio deArquitectura Cristiana en Extremadura: ÉpocaTardoantigua y Altomedieval.IAM. Mérida. Menanteau, L. (1982): Les Marismas du Gua-

dalquivir, exemple de transformation d'un pay-sage alluvial au cours du Quaternaire récent.Université de Paris-Sorbonne, Paris.Mora, G. y Romo Salas, A. (2003): “Interven-

ción arqueológica de urgencia en el Palacio Arzo-bispal de Sevilla. Sectores de Archivo y Tribunal.Primera fase de los trabajos. Sondeos I-II-IV.Aportaciones a la Sevilla republicana” en AnuarioArqueológico de Andalucía. Pp. 179-196. Sevilla.Murillo, J.F. (1994): La cultura tartésica en el

Guadalquivir medio, en Ariadna 13-14. MuseoMunicipal de Palma del Río, Palma del Río.Ordóñez Agulla, S. (1998): “Primeros pasos

de la Sevilla Romana” Biblioteca de temas sevi-llanos. Ayuntamiento de Sevilla. Sevilla.Palol, P. (1967): Arqueología Cristiana de la

España romana. Madrid.Pellicer, M.; Escacena, J.L. (2007): “Rabada-

nes. Una nueva necrópolis de época tartésica enel Bajo Guadalquivir”, Lvcentvm XXVI: 7-21.Rodríguez, G.: “La necrópolis tardorromana

“la palmera” ubicada en la calle carmona de ara-hal”, Sevilla (en prensa)Romo, A. (1994): “El sondeo estratigráfico de

la Plaza Virgen de los Reyes (Sevilla). El registro



deposicional.” en Anuario Arqueológico de An-dalucía 1994, pp. 422-443. Sevilla.Ruiz Gil, J.A.; López Amador, J.J. (2001): “La

cabaña del Bronce Final”, en J.A. Ruiz Gil y J.J.López Amador (coord.), Formaciones socialesagropecuarias en la Bahía de Cádiz. 5000 añosde adaptación ecológica en la Laguna del Gallo.El Puerto de Santa María: 103-155. Arqueode-sarrollo Gaditano S.L., Cádiz.Ruíz Mata, D. (1978-79): “Nuevos yacimien-

tos campaniformes en la provincia de Sevilla”,Cuadernos de Prehistoria y Arqueología de laUniversidad Autónoma de Madrid 5-6: 41-57.Ruíz Mata, D.; Fernández Jurado, J. (1986):

El yacimiento metalúrgico de época tartésica deSan Bartolomé de Almonte (Huelva), en HuelvaArqueológica VIII (nº monográfico).Ruíz Mata, D.; González Rodríguez, R.

(1994): “Consideraciones sobre asentamientosrurales y cerámicas orientalizantes en la campiñagaditana”, Spal 3: 209-256.Salido, J. (2011): “El almacenamiento de ce-

real en los establecimientos rurales hispanorro-manos” en Horrea d�Hispanie et de la méditerra-née romaine, pp. 127-141, (Ed. J. Arce y Ber-trand Goffaux. Colección Casa de Velázquez,Madrid.Sánchez, J. (2006): Elementos arquitectónicos

de época visigoda en el Museo Arqueológico deCórdoba: arquitectura y urbanismo en la Cór-doba visigoda. Junta de Andalucía, Consejeríade Cultura, Córdoba, 2006.Sánchez, J. (2011): “New lines of enquiry in

the study of the late antiquity of baetica (II): ar-chaeological topography of the city of córdoba”.New Perspectives on Late Antiquity, CambridgeScholars Publishing. Tabales, M. A. (2001 a) “El palacio islámico

localizado bajo el Patio de la Montería del Alcá-zar de Sevilla” en A.A.A. 1997. Sevilla.Tabales, M. A. (2001 b) “Cronología y distri-

bución en los recintos islámicos del Alcázar deSevilla”. Fortificaciones en el entorno del BajoGuadalquivir, Alcalá de Guadaira, 265-276.Tabales, M.A. (2002): “Sondeos estratigráficos

en el alcázar de Sevilla. Campaña 1999” enAnuario Arqueológico de Andalucía 1999 pp.212-233. Sevilla.Tabales. M.A. (2005): “El patio de las Don-

cellas del Palacio de Pedro I de Castilla. Génesisy transformación”, en Apuntes del Alcázar de Se-villa Nº 6, Sevilla, 7-43.

Tabales, M. A. (2006) “Investigaciones ar-queológicas en la Portada de la Montería” enApuntes del Alcázar de Sevilla nº 7, pp. 7-39.Sevilla.Tabales, M.A. (2009): El alcázar de Sevilla. Re-

flexiones sobre su origen y evolución durante laEdad Media. Memoria de Investigación Arqueo-lógica 2000-2005. Sevilla.Tahiri, A. (2006): Estructura urbana de la ciu-

dad de Sevilla. Reconstrucción de la ciudad através de las fuentes árabes. BeirutTorres y León, I. (1913): “Los ladrillos visigó-

ticos de Val-Duan”. Revista de Archivos, Biblio-tecas y Museos, XVIII, p. 264 y ss. Madrid.Ulbert, T. (1968): “El Germo”. MM 9, pp.329-

398.Utrero, M.A. (2006): “Las iglesias cruciformes

del s. VII en la Península Ibérica. Novedades yproblemas cronológicos y morfológicos de untipo arquitectónico”. En L. Caballero, P. Mateosy M.A. Utrero (ed.), El siglo VII frente al sigloVII, arquitectura. (Anejos de Archivo Español deArqueología LI): 133-155. CSIC, Mérida, 2009Valencia, R. (1987): El espacio urbano de la

Sevilla árabe. Premios Ciudad de Sevilla de In-vestigación. Sevilla V.Valor, M. y Tabales, M.A. (en prensa) “La es-

tructura y evolución del casco histórico de Sevi-lla en época andalusí: Sevilla de mad�na a ha-dira” en La ciudad en el occidente islámico me-dieval. Granada 2004


realizados en el patio de Banderas” en Apuntesdel Alcázar de Sevilla nº 11, pp. 134-145. Sevi-lla.Tabales, M.A. (2011): “Resumen de los traba-

jos arqueológicos realizados en la campaña 2010en el Patio de Banderas” en Apuntes del Real Al-cázar de Sevilla nª 12. pp. 88-105. Sevilla.Vargas Lorenzo, C. (2011):”Estudio del mo-

tivo fálico hallado en el edificio romano republi-cano bajo el Patio de Banderas” en Apuntes delReal Alcázar de Sevilla nª 12. pp. 106-121. Se-villa.Tabales et alii. (1999). Informe Preliminar de

la Intervención Arqueológica Puntual en el Patiode Banderas del Alcázar de Sevilla. (1 tomo) No-viembre 2009. (Informe inédito)

Tabales et alii. (2010). Informe. Proyecto Ge-neral de Investigación Análisis Arqueológico delAlcázar de Sevilla II. Patio de Banderas. Fase I.(4 tomos) Noviembre 2010 (Informe inédito)

NOTES 1 Led by Don Francisco Borja Barrera (Doctor

geographer. Univ. Huelva) and María ÁngelesBarral Muñoz (PhD geographer, Univ. Huelva):“Avance de estudio geoarqueológico”, InformePreliminar de la Intervención Arqueológica Puntualen el Patio de Banderas del Alcázar de Sevilla. No-viembre 2009 (Tabales et alii. Informe inédito).And in “Secuencia paleogeográfica” Informe. Pro-yecto General de Investigación Análisis Arqueológicodel Alcázar de Sevilla II. Patio de Banderas. Fase I.Tomo II. pp.17- 46.(Tabales et alii. Informe in-édito)

2 Research by Dr. José Luis Escacena Carrasco(University of Seville) in “Secuencia estratigrá-fica. Actividad 1”, Informe. Proyecto General deInvestigación Análisis Arqueológico del Alcázar deSevilla II. Patio de Banderas. Fase I. Tomo I. pp.39-54. Noviembre de 2010 (Tabales et alii. In-forme inédito).

3 Radiocarbon dating (CNA Sevilla) of a sam-ple from inside the pit 1696, in unit 1694, is 863BC ± 57. With a sigma calibration extends from1128-973 BC while a second order sigma cali-bration ranges between 1216 and 906. Despitethe wide range of possibilities offered by this da-ting, in no case may a chronology seems newerto the ninth century BC.

4 The plastering mortar is a lime mortar that iscomprised mostly of silica sand (quartz) and cal-cium carbonate from the carbonation of the lime.The CaCO3 contents of the mortar has been me-dium-low (22.3 %), and whether it is consideredthat everything comes from the lime, we wouldbe facing a mortar of dosage by weight locatedbetween the 1:4 and 1:5 by weight (lime: sand).The open porosity of the mortar can be seen asintermediate (36.0 %), and it is within the rangemedium-low of the usual lime mortars, whichare very porous materials. (Analysis of materialsmade by Javier Alejandre, Juan Jesús Martín delRio and Javier Blasco, University of Seville) in“Estudio de materiales constructivos y datacio-nes”, Informe. Proyecto General de InvestigaciónAnálisis Arqueológico del Alcázar de Sevilla II. Patiode Banderas. Fase I. Tomo II. pp.47-75. Noviembrede 2010. (Tabales et alii. Informe inédito).

5 The dating of the ANC on a sample of coalextracted from adobe wall ue.1795 XV SE (year2009) establishes a conventional radiocarbonage of 202 BC ± 45 years and a calibration to46% chance between 264 and 205 BC.

6 We are talking about the news that Estrabónprovides us in his Geography or Caesar in his“Civil War” ,where both of them show an imageof a powerful Híspalis as a comercial Emporio.

7 We have good examples in Puerta de Sevillain Carmona, at the site of El Molinete in Carta-gena (Murcia), in Baelo Claudia (Cadiz) or in theRoman city of Clunia (Burgos).

8 In particular, we have to think that the align-ment of the adobe wall that we identify with theunits 1795, 1816 and 1930, although alreadydepreciated, would be part of the new structurewhich seems to be a consequence of the dimen-sion that maintains the coronation of said item(+ 9.24 ) it would be considerably higher thanthe marked by the remains of pavement identi-fied in the passage (+ 8.00 ). Therefore the adobewall would be forming part of the eastern boun-dary of the transit although its interior was aban-doned and written off already in this period.

9 The dimensions of the ashlars are 1.20 x0.50 x 0.50 meters, while the mortar layers havea width of 0.02 and the head joints of 0.10.

10 The dimension of this pavement (+8.00)coincides with the designated by the differencein completion of the rig in the elevation of thewall 1704, which goes down in stages from itsnorthern end. This fact makes us think that thesouth fall in levels of the alley is carried outthrough stretches of great width treads resulting,therefore, in a street with step paving. On thecontrary, in the southern sector of the 15th sur-vey, the dimensions are clearly identified withthe units 1825 to dimension +6.48 and 1829 to+6.54 dimension, which are signinum flooringsassociated with building located at this end ofthe courtyard and that clearly mark the great gapbetween the two parts of the city.

11 Constructive studies performed by CristinaVargas: “Estudio cronotipológico y constructivo”,Informe. Proyecto General de Investigación AnálisisArqueológico del Alcázar de Sevilla II. Patio de Ban-deras. Fase I. Tomo II. pp.17-46. Noviembre de2010. (Tabales et alii. Informe inédito).

12 The author also speaks about variants ofthis instrument in form, which are summarizedin three: rectangular (Ponte de Pedra, Portugal),



round, the most frequent (Puentes de Segura,Salamanca, Portugal), and rectangular, the mostrare, documented in some places as in the Am-phitheater of El Jem (Tunisia) or in the Alcazabaof Almería.

13 In the West there was no such tradition ofmarking blocks (most of these marks have aplace in Republican era). However, both in Gre-ece and Egypt blocks were engraved since it wastradition to pay workers depending on workinghours.

14 Authors such as Suetonius and Frontinospeak of displacement of Centurions sent by Ro-man emperors to intervene in the process ofwork and projects as roads, buildings, bridgesand aqueducts...

15 See Salido, Javier: “El almacenamiento decereal en los establecimientos rurales hispano-rromanos” en Horrea d’Hispanie et de la médite-rranée romaine, pp. 127, Madrid 2011 (Ed. J.Arce y Bertrand Goffaux. Colección Casa de Ve-lázquez)

16 Varrón, Res Rusticae, 1,57,2-317 Columela, Res Rusticae, 1, 6, 12-13.18 Vargas Lorenzo: “Estudio del motivo fálico

(Edificio romano republicano)”, Informe. Pro-yecto General de Investigación Análisis Arqueológicodel Alcázar de Sevilla II. Patio de Banderas. Fase I.Tomo II. pp.76-82. Noviembre 2010. (Tabales etalii. Informe inédito).

19 Materials study by Enrique García Vargas,Jacobo Vázquez y Cinta Maestre. “Análisis de lacerámica romana”, Informe. Proyecto General deInvestigación Análisis Arqueológico del Alcázar deSevilla II. Patio de Banderas. Fase I. Tomo III. pp.3-33. Noviembre 2010. (Tabales et alii. Informe in-édito).

20 CNA dating on carbonated samples in stra-tigraphic units 1684 (foundation of the buil-ding) and 1676. In the first case the conventio-nal radiocarbon is dated at 70 ± 40 b.C, with a95% chance to open the rate between 197 and17 BC. Meanwhile, the EU 1676 date in 75 ± 30BC opening the rate to 95% of probability bet-ween 184 and 40 BC.

21 At this stage we have only been able toidentify a number of refill packs that slightlyraise the heights of use but whose ceramic ma-terials (especially the italic sigillated pottery: be-low) show a chronology which is posterior to theones shown in the packages themselves of foun-dations of the building. These units are repre-

sented with the numbers 1879, 1880, and 1883that oscillate between dimensions +8.86 and+8.72.

22 It is identified with the units 1684, 1678,1866, 1869, 1871, 1878, levels of artificial fi-llers, heavily compacted and rich in ceramic ma-terial, stucco and construction material.

23 Lola Robador works in “Análisis de enluci-dos romanos e islámicos”: Informe. Proyecto Ge-neral de Investigación Análisis Arqueológico del Al-cázar de Sevilla II. Patio de Banderas. Fase I. TomoII. pp.76-82, Noviembre 2010. (Tabales et alii.Informe inédito). Analyses indicate a very carefulprocess because of the careful mix between bin-der and aggregate. They are plastered with lowindex of porosity and a high density, and with avery careful and selected granulometry. Compa-red to Islamic plaster located in the 11th centurywe could say that these are more care and betterexecuted than the Islamists ones, more compactand with higher qualities of hydraulicity.

24 This sewer has a total width of 0.74. Theinterior of the drainage canal is 0.29 wide andthe height to the key to the vault that covers it is0.72 meters. The bricks of the wall are placedfollowing a tackle rope locked with lime mortar.The dimensions of the bricks are 0.29 x 0.22 x0.06 meters while that same material slabs thatform the floor of the interior of the drainagechannel are 0.65 x 0.45 x 0.035 m.

25 Numismatic references in Diego OlivaAlonso “Estudio numismático”, Informe. ProyectoGeneral de Investigación Análisis Arqueológico delAlcázar de Sevilla II. Patio de Banderas. Fase I.Tomo III. pp.162-294 Noviembre 2010. (Tabaleset alii. Informe inédito)

26 We appreciate the invaluable help of Dr. En-rique García and Dr. Jerónimo Sánchez for thewriting of this chapter.

27 It has mixed rig limestone masonry of me-dium size and fragments of bricks that at regularintervals of 2 meters shows the incorporation ofan alcorizo ashlar 0.72 x 0.52 x 0.25 on whichrests reused marble bases marking the locationof the columns.

28 The channeling consists of a first piece oftile (imbrex) used as a rain gutter and attachedto a 0.07 of diameter and thickness of 0.015 mplumbeous tube which is the one that crossesthe wall of the archery. Once beyond that wall,it seems to be an imbrex canal again, 0.35 oflength and 0.155 of width, used as protected

pipe by a box of fragments of bricks with athickness of 0.05 meters.

29 The dimensions of the pieces are 0.29 x0.22 x 0.06 meters while the total width whichmarks the western gallery is 4.26.

30 This is a strange arrangement that seems tomake a difference of dimensions on the streetand inside the building, in any case, lower to theSouth. It seems that the walls of this passageopens into the street or open space, which,though unusual, is not new in the Roman archi-tecture (Mateos y Caballero 2003: 21). We cansee what might be an entrance that would cometo the same courtyard and that seems to havepurely functional connotations, probably relatedto mules, carriages or heavy transport (hence theramp).

31 The archaeological materials that allow usto defend a date around the late decades of the5th century AD for the construction of the greatlate building (activity 6) are mostly the Africansigilatas documented in the still-scarce placesthat have been able to excavate contexts sealedby bricks of galleries of the excavated courtyard.Documented forms are the usual ones in secondhalf of the 5th century AD: Hayes 59, 67 Hayesand Hayes 73, forms that have already mostlyresidual character, in units corresponding to thedegradation of this construction (activity 7)being more decisive others like Hayes 104A, ac-companied by jars of import as the LRA 4 oramphora from Gaza (Palestine) or the LRA1 ci-licio-chipriota.Overall, imports associated withthe destruction and abandonment of the greatand old building show a horizon around to thesecond third of the 6th century. Common cera-mics that are associated to these strata of depre-ciation of the building have timelines consistentwith those offered by the tableware and vases,emphasizing between the common repertoire oflocal manufactured the mortars or bowls witheaves and casseroles made with a manual potte-r's wheel, with solid horizontal handles decora-ted with fingerings.

32 The topographic landscape will suffer herenotable natural transformations, especially in thesouthern half of the Patio de Banderas, where siltdepositions may be advised, through the in-fluence of the stream Tagarete, whose main con-sequence will be higher levels and homogeniza-tion of the ground respect to the northern sector.During the imperial period, any significant alte-

ration of levels already occurred in this area, jud-ging by the pond and pools located towards thecenter of the square, we do not know yet howmuch. However it is clear that the reorganizationof space in the fifth century, through the cons-truction of a large building, led to the homoge-nization of the dimensions, now placed withslight alterations to 10.50 asl.

33 Do not be ruled out that the interpretationis partially mediated or distorted by the plunde-ring and looting ditches and of course we agreewith other authors on prudence in the absenceof large excavations in extent, but the trend se-ems clear and logical (Amores 2005: 140).

34 This second possibility is remote because itis highly unlikely that bishops from other dio-ceses act as patrons and sponsors of major ar-chitectural works outside their dioceses. DiegoOliva studies demonstrate that the coins of theabandonment fills of such property do not ex-ceed the period of the turn of the century (IV toV), being the most recent of the emperor Arca-dius. The shooting of the coins, the far away coi-nage (Aquileia, Rome...) and the lack of coinagein those decades in the peninsula make us hypo-thetically locate this horizon in the first third ofthe fifth century, at which time looting and des-truction occur in Sevilla by Alans, Hasdingi Van-dals, Silings and plunder of those Visigoths andthe imperial troops. Ceramic Studies advancehowever that dating a little over a century, whichis not inconsistent with the chronology of thecoins as during the fifth and sixth centuries mo-netary issue was minimal and current coins usedto belong to the cited period.

35 The same situation occurs in Cordoba or inthe south of this province, where it has been de-tected as several buildings (Sánchez Velasco2006; Id. 2009; Id. 2011) are reconstructed, so-metimes a fundamentis, due to the devastationcaused by Betic wars of Leovigildo. In these ca-ses, the location is maintained, but not the struc-ture of the building complexes. Its main featurewas its external reinforcement using abutmentsor buttresses, also strengthened inside by at leastone transverse arch. For periods subsequent tothe sixth century, parallels of buildings of thisnature (Gutiérrez y Cánovas 2009: 127) exist,although it is too early to define more than thepossibility of existence of a domed cover or rein-forcement, or perhaps a second floor. Reinforce-ments that act as a solution similar to the one



although they are still running at the end of thiswork, will adjust the knowledge of Islamic de-tected two processes.

45 In the 1646 unit, fill silting of the sewer ofthe Islamic Main Street, near Almohad ceramics,carbonaceous remains dating from the CNA byradiocarbon were located, giving a chronologyof 931 to 1021 with 95% probability. This indi-cates that in this case some of the wood burnedin this final moment of the twelfth century werecut a century earlier.

46 Tahiri (1998: 222-224) y recently NavarroPalazón (2004: 240-241). Wall of land thatwould be replaced in Almoravid and Almohadtime by more resistant elevations of mud.

ILLUSTRATIONSFigure 1. The floor plan of the Patio de Ban-

deras. Previous excavations and program of per-formances of the General Research Project.Figure 2. Excavations in the Patio de Bande-

ras. Conserved structures. Campaigns 2009-2011.Figure 3. North-South general section.Figure 4. North Profile of SE 14.Figure 5. North-South section. Interpretation

of phases.Figure 6. North-South section. Interpretation

of phases.Figure 7. High imperial and Roman republi-

can archaeological phases. Main wall structures.Figure 8. Late antique and Islamic phases.

Main wall structures.Figure 9. Overlay of structures under the Pa-

tio de Banderas.Figure 10. Neolithic ceramic.Figure 11. Bell-shaped ceramic.Above. Figure 12. SE 14. 2009 Campaign.

Overview of natural levels (colluvium) and the-refore, depletion of the archaeological record.8.00 dimension asl. The lenticular pit of the IronAge excavated in this natural level is appreciated.The upper wall is part of the Republican buil-ding (I century BC) responsible of the destruc-tion of pre-Roman levels.Right. Figure 13. Steep-sided bowl, with mar-

ked carinae and smoothed edge.Right. Figure 14. Handmade ceramics with

burnished geometric designs inside.Below. Figure 15. Thrown ceramics from

1969 pit.Figure 16. SE XVI. 2010 Campaign. Pit 1931.

Archaeological materials inside are dated duringthe seventh and eighth centuries BC. 7.40 basedimension asl. It is cut by the walls foundationsof the old republican building (circa. 100 BC). Right. Figure 17. SE XVI. 2010 Campaign. Re-

publican structures built before the ashlars wall(left). We can appreciate the irregular rig of finemasonry of the foundations and two floors of opussigninum (7.80 dimension asl). The top floor be-longs to a Late Antique building of the late 5thcentury AD. The rise in height between the firstcentury BC and 5th century AD is 3 meters.Bellow. Figure 18. SE XV. 2009 Campaign. Pre-

served elevation of the Republican wall adobe limeplaster. On the bottom we can distinguish thefoundation line, without reaching natural levels.Above. Figure 19. Adobe wall belonging to

the republican phase I (circa. 100 BC) with therest of the original limestone pavement. It wasreused as a part of the later Republican building.Figure 20. SE XVIII. 2012 Campaign. Bricks

and tiles column belonging to the Republican Ibuilding next to opus signinum pavements.Right. Figure 21. SE XVII. 2012 Campaign.

Lebrillo “edge” of turdetana tradition, locatedunder the floor of the Republican building.Bellow. Figure 22. SE XVII. 2012 Campaign.

Overview of the Republicans Roman remains inthe SE XVII, with opus signinum pavements, pi-pes and adobe wall in the center of the image.Left. Figure 23. Roman remains belonging to

the republican phase II (60-30 B.C.)Bellow. Figure 24. SE XV. 2010 Campaign.

Wall of the eastern façade of the late Republicanbuilding (first century BC) of opus africanum.Firstly, pavements remains of passage slabs; atthe bottom (left) phallic relief on the last verticalashlar. Staggering of the corridor is reflected onthe wall.Left page. Figure 25. SE XVII. 2012 Cam-

paign. Opus signinum pavement and central pillarof the main room of the southern sector in Ro-man times.Left page. Figure 26. SE XVII. 2012 Cam-

paign. Southern passage of republican set II. Wecan see the opus signinum pavements and wallsof ashlars, displaced by the flooding that causedthe destruction of this part of the building at theend of 3rd century AD. At the bottom, we findone of the bricks and tiles columns of the sou-thern gallery.Left page. Figure 27. SE XVIII. 2012 Cam-

presented here are in the last phase of the se-venth century, assigned to El Germo (Ulbert,1971), where more than presumed structuralproblems of the building, without having toguess a vault, as Utrero (2006) says, made thatthis type of reinforcements were needed.

36 We should note the location of a large pitof spoliation throughout the length and widthof what would become the housing 2 and 3 thatdrills down Republicans levels destroying every-thing. This is clearly a constructive material spo-liation that matches the location at that point oflarge blocks, belonging to 1897 structure andthe southern facade of that building. It may be acoincidence that survivors ashlars coincide inmetric and matter with those provided in thewalls of the Alcázar precisely at that time (lateeleventh century) and that the same was obser-ved in 2005 in the excavation of the Garden ofLion, but we can only speculate with the possi-bility that the spoils in this strip were targetedbecause of a so vast work at the expense of theRoman wall lying below.

37 We must emphasize the graves excavated inthe early Islamic times with the intention ofreuse the building material of the earlier buil-dings and upon completion are utilized for fi-lling with landfill deposits with large amount ofceramic material and organic moieties. They areresponsible for most of the late and imperialstructures have disappeared, especially in thewestern area of the square.

38 In the founding moments this street had aclay floor with crushed ceramic and some lime,which would give it some consistency, unusualin this era. At the opposite end of the blockshows the existence of a much narrower street,barely a meter, which may be part of an irregularparapet, also crossed by a simple bricks and tilesculvert.

39 The job of Dr. Robador shows for this plas-tering a composition rich in lime and high com-pactness and better rainfall compared to Romanplaster.

40 There are numerous examples of andalusíeshouses excavated in Seville with hydraulic struc-tures such as those that appeared in the Patio dela Montería of the Alcázar, in Relator street 46,Macasta 19-21, in La Encarnación, in the Halloffice of the Cathedral or in the Convent of SantaMaría de los Reyes. These channels are usuallyrunning the perimeter of the gardens and have

a torus-shaped —made in mortar—, and maybe at a lower altitude than the platform or at desame level, acting as pool overflows. There arealso lead small channels for drainage.

41 Should be noted that two of the most im-portant stone pieces for interpreting the ancientlate phase appeared as part of this house, reusedone in one corner of the grass and the other asthe main room threshold.

42 Two samples carbonated inside the jar weretaken to determine the approximate chronologyof the deterioration of the house (and neighbor-hood), which we place in ceramics during theAlmohad period. Surprisingly the two samplesindicated Roman dates (the first,1647 unit gave50 AD ± 60 and the second, 1658 unit, gave 160AD ± 50) confirming that housing abandonmentfill requested artificial silting of the sector, forwhich environmental lands from different levelsshould have been moved.

43 Islamic phases reflect at least two groups ofprocedures relating to the construction aspectsas a result of the general phases for the eleventhand twelfth centuries respectively. The formationof the neighborhood in Abbadi period is basedon masonry walls of thickness 0.50, hardlyfoundation nor any projection except the largestblock size. The elevations use small masonryand bricks and tiles fragments taken with mudalternating oblique arrangement. Meanwhiletwelfth century reforms are characterized by theuse of small brick 0'274x0'131x0'0305 m. inwalls taken by mud, rowlock rigged vertically orin walls of a foot and a half with ropes and logs.In both cases the walls detected correspond tothe needle foot that would support wall eleva-tions. Coatings detected in all homes, especiallyin the one located in the East (housing 6), appe-ared dumped on pavements. These are classicinterlacing of North African type red on white,highlighting those that correspond to the mainroom of the oriental house, with a thick, wavyribbon of the same type that appeared in the Pa-tio de la Montería in 1998. Meanwhile pave-ments detected in both phases are simple leve-lled with stone or dess floors without red ocher.

44 Studies by Rosario Huarte Cambra en “Aná-lisis de la cerámica islámica”, Informe. ProyectoGeneral de Investigación Análisis Arqueológico delAlcázar de Sevilla II. Patio de Banderas. Fase I.Tomo III. pp. 34 -161. Noviembre de 2010. (Ta-bales et alii. Informe inédito). Studies in 2011



There is a great deal of preserved remains ofwall Renaissance paintings and contemporariesstuccoes in the walls and vaults of the low Courtof the Cruise, thanks to which we can get an ideaof the extraordinary luminosity and the rich co-lor that there should have had the scenes repre-sented in the cryptoporches that were surroun-ding the four outdoor patios and the centralpond of the garden of the Cruise, and that fromthe 16th century up to the last third of the 18thcould be contemplated at daylight from the topplatforms.In the restoration that is being made for thir-

teen years1, promoted by the Management of theReal Alcázar Patronato, many compositionalfragments have been recovered, after survivingthe upheavals of these long-suffering walls, hid-den for centuries behind thick crusts and addedmortars. His historical and artistic interest is un-questionable, and his current existence, al-though spoilt by the big quantity of losses, is thetrace of those days when the exuberant wealthof decoration ennobled the walls of one of themost ancient areas of the Alcázar, dedicated es-pecially to the playtime and to the rest. These galleries of almohade origin, decorated

in the 16th century, and transformed from the18th century into narrow passageways, dark andpoorly ventilated, have remained closed to thepublic. In fact, the visitor only gains access upto the rim of the pond, but he does not visualizethe perimeter galleries with wall painting whichare being restored. His opening to the public isone of the next challenges of the Patronato. Theinterpretation centre that will be settled in the

Baths will give to the citizen a true vision of thisarea, by means of the knowledge and compre-hension of his historical, archaeological, archi-tectural and artistic evolution, simultaneouslythat encourages the vision and technical exhibi-tion of the intervention once the restoration willbe finished.This study is focused on a first approach to

the iconographic reading of the paintings,through the recognition of the formal and com-posite elements that turn out to be detectable, atpunctual level in each of the abundant fragmentsthat have reached our times, and on a globalscale in each of the sectors. It should be noticedthat the grade of legibility is very different bet-ween the sectors, even between fragments of thesame sector, because of the type and grade of al-teration and to the high percentages of losses.There are easily interpretable zones and othersthat are unrecognizable. This article starts fromthe article “Restoration of the wall paintings ofthe arcaded galleries of the Court of the Cruise”(Rev. Apuntes del Alcázar, nº 11, 2009), and itdevelops the aspect on the iconographic studyof the paintings, contributing now to the break-down of all the elements that can be appreciatedin each of the restored murals of the arcaded ga-lleries. The infographic study has facilitated con-siderably this lecture2 done to each of the sectorsand the raising of all the arcaded galleries. Globalimages have been obtained, as well as a trip forthe polychromed faces, impossible to obtainonly by taking photographs, considering thetightness and the narrow of the passageways,and the enormous difficulty of including the

paign. Column detail of the southern galleryand its different levels of use. We also see thelime mortar coating of its final phase (3rdcentury AD).Above left. Figure 28. Detail of the access

to the meridional passage of sector 2 withthe previous column in the foreground. Thered floor on which Roman structures are set-tled belongs to the natural level of the pri-mitive terrace.Above. Figure 29. SE XVI. 2010 Campaign.

Republican structure of opus quadratum withropes and logs.Previous page, below. Figure 30. SE XVII.

2012 Campaign. Southeast pillar of the cen-tral sector of the II republican building. Theupper structures correspond to the founda-tions of a porticoed gallery of the late buil-ding, lifted up in the late 5th century. Theheight difference of use between the two pe-riods is more than 2 meters.Right. Figure 31. Hypothetical recons-

truction of the sector of the republican II set.On the background there is access to theNortheast passage. Figure 32. “Provisional” hypothetical re-

construction of II Republican set. We cansee the difference in height in the possiblebasement, and the main pillars that maywithstand a higher floor.Figure 33. SE XIV. 2009 Campaign. West

facing in opus africanum belonging to the Re-publican building. The rig chain blocks aremostly padded, one cut with the mark(LCIL)Figure 34. SE XV. 2010 Campaign. Phallic

relief on the eastern façade of the Republicanbuilding. Front view.Figure 35. Hypothetical reconstruction of

the Northeast Passage in which the phallicrelief was located.Figure 36. SE XIV. 2009 Campaign. Fla-

vian era reforms with opus testaceum of oneof the rooms belonging to the II Republicanbuilding.Left. Figure 37. SE XVIII. 2012 Cam-

paign. Southern sector of the II republicanII set. Southeast passage with ashlars walls,displaced by floods in late 3ed century.Left. Figure 38. SE XVII. 2011 Campaign.

Foundations of late ancient building's court-yard, from late 5th century. It is carved with

irregular masonry and vertical blocks that canbe used as the bases for the seat of attic bases ofmarble on which the columns were placed...Left. Figure 39. SE XVII. 2012 Campaign. The

bottom of the pit belongs to the building of thelate 5th century, whose construction was the al-teration of the pavement of opus signinum of theroman building.Above. Figure 40. SE XVII. 2011 Campaign.

Possible votive jar hidden under the floor of thelate ancien building. It was placed inside a cu-bicle on a previous pool opus signinum coated,which formed part of an imperial times pond.Figure 41. Interpretation of the late ancient

building. Floor plant.Figure 42. The late ancient remains under the

Patio de Banderas. Hypothetical reconstruction.Left Figure 43. Interpretation of the Islamic

structures. Provisional hypothesis. Floor plant.Below. Figure 44. 2009 Campaign. Central se-

wer of the Islamic street introduced in the 12thcentury. The connections belong to the latrines ofneighboring houses and replace individual septictanks in which they previously discharged duringthe 11th century. The image shows the disconnec-tion between the orientation of the street and thenorthern wall of the primitive fortress whose foun-dations hang over the coordinates of use of the Is-lamic buildings, excavated in the Patio de Bande-ras.Figure 45. Hypothetical reconstruction of the

Islamic buildings 1. General view from the Sou-theast.Figure 46. SE XVII. 2011 Campaign. Ware-

house of the Islamic housing 6. One of the bu-ried vessels was preserved intact under the pa-vement, despite the overall deterioration of thestructures of this phase.Figure 47. Hypothetical reconstruction of Is-

lamic housing No. 6.Left. Figure 48. Idealized reconstruction of

the structures excavated in the Patio de Bande-ras. Evolution of the levels of use in relation tothe current Plaza. Roman building.Center. Figure 49. Idealized reconstruction of

the structures excavated in the Patio de Bande-ras. Evolution of the levels of use in relation tothe present place. Late ancient building.Rigth. Figure 50. Idealized reconstruction of

the structures excavated in the Patio de Bande-ras. Evolution of the levels of use in relation tothe present place. Islamic buildings.



M.ª Isabel Baceiredo Rodríguez,

Conservative - Restorer, Degree in Fine Arts.

Daniel Baceiredo Rodríguez,

Technical infographic



they were detected during the study and inven-tory of wall paintings of the Real Alcázar.In the three galleries the paintings are located

in the exterior walls, and only in the north ga-llery are represented also in other perpendicularwalls and in some jambs. Paintings have beenalso found in the South-Western exterior fron-tage of the north gallery too.The percentages preserved in all the three ga-

lleries are very irregular and they range between1 and 85% from one sector to another. The co-verings spread on stone walls of Islamic origin,joined sometimes with mud wall and lime mor-tars in different proportions, and sometimeswith mortars of lime and sand. The coveringsconsist of a thickness and irregular lime andsand coating, light gray colored, to which clayand small fragments of crushed brick have beenadded to improve its resistance to the moisture;a previous rendering with lime and sand, and afinishing plaster of very thin consistency andclear yellowish tonality, by means of calcium car-bonate and lime, with applications of cut straw. The pictorial skill used is mixed. There are zo-

nes carried out in “fresco” techniques, with the“intónaco” very carbonated. In these zones, thepreparatory drawing punctually survives evenwith remains of the dotted stencil. But mostly ofit has been executed not with the real “fresco”technique, dampening previously the mortar totry a better introduction of the pigments and theglue of lime. The predominant tonalities are theocres, red, brown, green, white and black, forwhich there have been used grounds of oxidesof iron (browns, ocres and reddish), (red) ver-milion and calcium carbonate (white); the greengrounds and the malachite have been used in fi-nal touches, with tempera, and with the underl-ying strata once dry. The painting extends on abase of color ivory —similar to the stucco usedin the vaults—, using as base tone and as back-ground of the iconographic representation.

ICONOGRAPHIC STUDYThe restoration has allowed, in the measure-

ment of the state of conservation of the pain-tings, an approach to his iconographic lecture,since the processes of cleanliness, although slowand very laborious, have extracted to the lighttonalities, lines and shapes not perceptible at aprevious time3.In the two side galleries, the paintings are exe-

cuted in each of the rounded walls, separated bythe transverse arches that sustain the vaults ofalmohad cannon of every sector. It is commonin each one of them the representation of thesame compositive structure, organized in threeiconographic blocks that, with light differences,appear in each of the murals: it is a pergola, abig molded frame, and the principal scene thatis developed, as a picture, inside this frame.These three elements repeat themselves in everysector but they are represented in variable anddifferent ways in every composition.The pergola is a common element in all the

sectors. It is a semicircular pergola, and it is lo-cated next to the outline of the parietal arch; itis formed by concentric arches cut in rectangles,contoured of black and outlined in red, some ofthem are filled in black, with interlaced leavesand flowers. In some paintings, one or two figu-res of children or of masculine naked adults,who carry musical instruments, branches of flo-wers, baskets of fruits on their heads, or vasesflank the batter of the pergola, at a height of theimpost. In others, these figures are replaced withbirds, satyrs or vases with branches. A big moulded frame is located under the

pergola and it shows itself in close up, in its in-side, the principal scene is represented, which isdifferent in every sector. The frame turns out tobe painted with ocher, red or brown ground(imitating gilding, polichromy or wood, respec-tively), and its structure is romanist and in ar-chivolts profusely decorated with finishes of vo-lutes, adorned with Renaissance motives of clas-sic style such as little mythological heads ofsatyrs, of Jellyfish, of mutton, of lion, little headsof elfs with sharp-pointed ears, valances withstrings of vegetable elements, tapes, rosaries ofballs finished off with big balls, flowers, hangingcloths, free bonds or from which branches andbunches of fruits with flowers hang, birds of co-lors...), elements all that adorn the proper fra-mes, interlace with them or are located in theenvironment to decorate, extol and embellishthe scene that is represented in its interior andthe general composition itself.The central scenes, different in each section,

are always carried out in a rectangular space(vain of the frame), and most of them representactivities that could be related to hunt, agricul-ture and livestock; there is only one indoorscene, in the palace, and the king shares table

space from a visual view because of a lack ofperspective and not enough distance for his sui-table record.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUNDIn the last third of the 16th century, a deep,

constructive, aesthetic and decorative transfor-mation was made to the Gothic palace, affectingalso to the Patio del Crucero (Cross Patio). Thisone, structurally raised in the shape of a crosssince his almohade origin, with vaulted galleriesin the low floor and passable platforms on theupper floor, was opened towards the outdoorgardens. For this purpose a wide tunnel wasconstructed in the south side, under the Salónde las Bóvedas (Hall of the Vaults), connectingthe longitudinal pond of the ground floor —na-med popularly Baños de Doña María de Padilla(Baths of Doña María de Padilla)— with the Jar-dín de la Danza (Garden of the Dance). It wasfollowed by a profuse decoration of coating ofstuccoes and wall paintings in vertical surfacesand vaults, executed across a wide iconographicprogram of pronounced Italian influence ofmannerist style. In 1565 Juan Díaz and Juan deSaucedo carried out the decoration with heraldicshields of the tunnel of transit and Juan Chacón,the fountain of grotesque. From 1578 to 1579the painter Gonzalo Pérez devoted himself to thedecoration of the walls of the perimeter galleries.Many remains survive today in the first two ar-ched stretches that give access to the Baths fromthe outdoor gardens, in the groined vaults besidethe frontal fountain of grotesque, in the exteriorfrontage of the North gallery arcades, and in thecryptoporticus or perimeter galleries of the West,North and East side.Because of the big ravages caused by the

earthquake of Lisbon in 1755, the weakenedCross Patio needed a deep structural consolida-tion that was directed by Van der Borcht. Thisintervention changed deeply the spatial concep-tion of the patio with a new architectural, stylis-tic and aesthetic exposition of baroque style. Im-portant changes were executed in the primitivestructure. The porched arcades of the low patiowere blocked up, four barracks were buried, thesouth gallery was reinforced by buttresses toraise the new frontage and top baroque gallery,the passage that communicates the Apeaderowas joined with the Patio de la Montería, —whatshortened the primitive area of the high patio of

the cruise—, and the top level was paved com-pletely, being hidden the primitive configurationin two levels and in cross. The two floors remai-ned, since then, completely physically and vi-sually disconnected until our days. The currentimage of the high patio with the flowerbeds is amodification of the middle of the 20th century.Currently, when the visitor is located in the

high patio of the Cruise, he observes a space per-fectly delimited by the surfaces of the buildingsthat surround it, with the front of the baroquelodge, and the paving with four big flowerbeds,which vaguely insinuate the position of the an-cient porticoes barracks. Only the opening of theSouth-Western corner of the high patio, carriedout a few years ago, shows to the visitor the cu-rrent state of this structure in two levels and thefirst one of the sectors of the west gallery. In thissurface there have survived few pictorial re-mains, sample of the magnificent Renaissancepaintings that decorated the low cloisters andthat are being intervened for more than ten ye-ars.

DISTRIBUTION AND COMPOSITIONOF THE COVERINGSThe three domed and porticoed galleries in-

tervened are the faced ones on the West, Northand East, because they preserve abundant pic-torial remains. They get ready orthogonally in Uand are distributed in 37 domed stretches (12in the western one, 13 in the north one and 12in the oriental one).These galleries, like a cloister, were opened to

an outdoor patio structured in quarters withanother transverse gallery placed to the center,in which its monochrome stuccoes survive. Afterthe isolation of the low floor because of the mo-difications suffered after the earthquake, the lowpatio remained isolated in an underground, withscarce ventilation and poor lighting. A humidand shadowy microclimate was then generated,with the consequent biological growth of fungalmicroflora. From the second half of the 20thcentury, roots and top plants proceeding fromthe flowerbeds of the top floor invaded also thesurfaces and the paintings. In two centuries anda half this zone remained rendered useless andleft. His walls and coverings were covered bybiological crusts, saline and environmental,which concealed the mutilated remains of thisimportant pictorial Renaissance cycle. In 1997




composition of each sector is the result of the in-terpretation of all the fragments preserved withthe remains of pictorial composition. We can seein these fragments elements, motifs and scenes,often kept away from the compositional blockthey belong to (pergola, frame or main scene),isolated in the wall, and in different degrees ofconservation, which influences their degree ofsharpness, and ultimately in the visual, both ti-mely and comprehensive understanding of thecomposition.We initiate the thematic breakdown from the

galleries I and III, since both are subjected to thesame initial iconographic exposition developedunder the same compositional structure, inwhich motives have been changes, as the ele-ments and the scenes, doing of every sector adifferent sequence inside the same pictorial cir-cuit. In these two galleries there are abundantdecorative elements that recur in some sectors.These two galleries also have in common thatthey could have been executed by the samepainter, possibly a different one from that of theNorth gallery.Then, knowing that this iconography has

been virtually unknown to all until the processof consolidation and cleaning, the reasons foundused for its thematic interpretation are descri-bed, which must be interpreted as a first appro-ach to initial iconographic study of these pain-tings.

GALLERY I: IT CONSIST OF 12 SECTORS Sector I.1.Percent of preserved paint: 22%Preserved pictorial composition: discernible.Theme Scene: Unknown.Compositional breakdown blocks:A. Pergola: Two-thirds of the pergola are preser-ved, adorned with flowers; the model is com-mon to all sectors of the perimetral galleries.B. Frame: It is not preserved.C. Central Scene: Only few remains of the lo-wer left corner of the frame are retained in thecentral third. The high percentage of loss pre-vents the iconography to be configured, used inits moulding.

Sector I.2.Percent of preserved paint: 38%Preserved pictorical composition:Discernible.Theme Scene: Unknown. We have no enoughelements for its global interpretation. Compositional breakdown blocks:A. Pergola: It preserves almost it left half com-plete; It is adorned with flowers of yellow petalsand a white corolla, and in the outer edges, topand bottom, small twigs in black and flowers.B. Frame: The upper left corner of the frame,decorated with a figure that suggests the headof a lion in shades of yellow ochre is preservedat the height of the left fascia of the pergola. Inthe left side we can see the curved developmentof the frame mouldings, whose surroundingsare decorated with a garland of fruits (grapesand oranges) and flowers, as a cluster, whichhangs from a vertical red ribbon. It also retainsthe lower-left corner, composed of mixed-linesmouldings with wavy ends, from which hangsa green ribbon. Only a part of the bottom hori-zontal rod of the frame remains, it imitatesbrown wood, with a white upper boundary. Wecan see in the center of the lower “baquetón”part of central motif of the framework, in whichappears a fragment of an antler from horn withbound balls.C. Central Scene: It is not preserved, we can

only see scattered patches without definition.

Sector I.3.Percent of preserved paint: 43%Preserved pictorial composition: discernible.Theme Scene: Unknown. No elements for itidentification.Compositional breakdown blocks:A. Pergola: It survives almost complete. It is de-corated with yellow flowers, with the rims ou-tlined in red and its center in white, surroundedwith black sticks interlaced with the pergola.The pergola at the height of the fasciae is flankedwith two male nudes placed in foreshortening,whose backs rest on the curvature of the pergola,and they hold with their arms and on its headsa basket of fruits (oranges and grapes) adornedwith numerous posies of black leaves. Near thefoot of the character on the left we can distin-guish strokes of a bird’s head and its paws, oncedisappeared the rest of the body.B. Frame:Much of the side top, formed by a ho-rizontal “baquetón”, in whose center rises a shot

with some nobles of the court. In these repre-sentations characters are dressed in the old-fas-hioned way, dressed with clothes that help toidentify their own social status and the activitythey do; this is the way nobles appear dressedfor hunting, for the horseback riding, or the waypeasants are dressed for planting or harvesting,along with animals closely related to these work,such as horses, dogs, herons, and objects orlandscapes that contribute to complement theenvironment and context of the scene (trees,shrubs, farmlands, wheat fields, networks, spe-ars, spades, shovels, sets with walled towers,...).Due to the numerous mutilation and losses,these compositional fragments, as well as beingmostly incomplete, usually appear isolated, su-rrounded by large compositional gaps, or scat-tered, that is why, sometimes, it is difficult to in-terpret the global context of each sector, exceptfew sectors where a high percentage of pictorialcomposition has been preserved.In the II gallery survive less percentage of

paintings than in the inside galleries, but thesehave been represented in a major number of sur-faces in every sector, both in the faces of the topperimeter, and in the perpendicular walls. Cu-rrently, pictorial fragments are preserved in sixof the thirteen sectors, but there are only fourpieces that can provide formal compositional de-tectable elements, although difficult to interpret.As noted, the pictorial composition is appa-

rently continuous and occupies only the centralthird of the surface. The complex is structuredin a big horizontal continuous band passingthrough different parts of the gallery, standingabout 2,20 and 1,40 m above the ground, sothat it is beyond 15 cm height of the imposts ofthe arches. The pictorial composition is also rai-sed here like scenes, just as in the side galleries,but his representation turns out to be formallyvery different, being possibly slightly more ar-chaic. A front porticoed surface has been usedas architectural framing, formed by arches, somesemi-circular voussoir arches and others in sca-llop, separated by thick decorated walls, whichexceed the height of the arches, supporting to-gether a deck or linteled terrace, decorated at itsupper end with curved moldings of lilies. Eachspan of the arch is closed on its underside witha strip composed of horizontal moldings, deco-rated with linear bands of different color, or withRenaissance aesthetic reasons (straight garlands

of laurel leaves tied in X, or hanged ribbon bet-ween inserted flowers). The scenes take place inthe arcade openings. The entire architectural,framed portico is delimited above and below bya band that combines commented tapes toppedwith lilies, along with linear bands of differentcolors (red, black, gray). The results of the interventions implemented

in these sectors have not been able to contributeto reveal the overall theme, given the composi-tional disparity and disproportion in the size ofthe figures represented. Nor if there is sequentialcontinuity between scenes (bullets), or whetheron the contrary, these scenes are isolated andonly use one common space, responding moreto a global issue, implemented with separate sce-nes, as apparently occurs in the galleries side.Regarding the side galleries, the approach of re-presentation, its continuity between the varioussectors and the approach to the scenes is diffe-rent. It could be a different decorative program,implemented in a later intervention, surely bythe hand of another painter.In summary, we could say that the theme of

the side galleries I and III is subjected to thesame initial iconographic approach, developedunder similar compositional structure in whichthe motives, the elements and scenes have beenonly formally changed. Each sector is a differentlink but perfectly integrated inside the samepictorial and chronological circuit (last third ofthe 16th century) and stylistically included inthe Italian mannerism, in view of the combina-tion of naturalistic elements (flowering pergo-las) with others of distinctly scenographic cha-racter —and unnatural— like the molded fra-mes that delimit the area of the main scene. Inthese two galleries there are abundant decora-tive elements that recur in some sectors, tryingto get the unification of the pictorial circuit. Allthe paintings of the side galleries have in com-mon that, under the same esthetic exposition,turn to be very elegant and dynamic, principallyin the esthetic development of the frames of bigmouldings, and in the fact of placing naked fi-gures flanking the spaces of the pergolas, su-rrounded by vegetation, with distinctly manne-rist glance in the composition, which differscompletely from the compositive structure ofthe Gallery II, which have more archaic resour-ces, it also is compositionally more frontal andless dynamic.



balls hang from them, with a red loop aroundthe neck. The central top rises considerably withstylized moldings and composite making a flat-ter space in the center, like a sink; from their topedges two bouquets of flowers are rise. The lo-wer part also consists of mouldings and scrollsthat magnify a central oval area —shades are thatdegraded that it’s impossible their identifica-tion— although it may be the face of any animalor mythological figure. A tape with three bun-ches of fruits and flowers hang from the lowerscrolls, defining the entire composition, as insector 4. Finally, the rods that are closed to theinside scene are ornamented with a longitudinalstem that leave leaves, very dark. C. Central Scene: In the foreground and oc-

cupying the right half of the painting, we can ap-preciate a man on horseback (in profile), with aspear in his hand, in full hunting activity. Thischaracter wears a red hat and yellow shirt, whitejacket, short and baggy trousers, overlayed tosome tights, and white boots. Because of his clo-thes and because the noble appearance of thehorse, he seems to be a socially influential gen-tleman. With his left hand holds the reins of thehorse and with the other grabs a long spear. Thehorse is white, and it has a long and careful tail;all the saddlery is red and there is a rolled upblanket on the saddler. The lance is directed to-ward the dam, whose anatomy is not clearlyidentifiable, —although it looks like a fox—,hounded by two hunting dogs wearing a whitecollar. Ultimately we see another gentleman, be-arded, standing and wearing similar clothing butof a different color: white shirt with high collar,red vest, white, baggy, short trousers, and redboots. He holds a lance with both hands, obli-quely disposed, and directed into a dam immo-bilized by a dog that catches it with its mouthand front legs. First, in the left lower quadrant,a white network is extended, subject to twocrossed sticks caught with a white rope to thecenter. The atmosphere of the scene takes placesin a landscape of mountains and trees, and oneof these is in the foreground, occupying the rightend of the composition.

Sector I.6. Percent of preserved paint: 32%Preserved pictorial composition: Discernible.Theme: Scene about collecting of wheat harvest. Compositional breakdown blocks:

A. Pergola: Completely disappeared.B. Frame: Red in color, only its left side is pre-served, although diffusely, and a part of the up-per side with its central core. However, we canget an idea of the ornamentation of its rods, as itis seen throughout a rosary of small balls in ye-llow with a central trim and a white borlon atthe lower end. On the upper side are also appre-ciated the balls in the rosary with similar termi-nation, and a finish in the upper center that con-tained a female face with hair of snakes, associa-ted with the mythological character of Medusa.C. Central Scene: The central picture repre-sents a field scene, during the harvesting of thewheat, outside of a walled enclosure. In the cen-tral part two characters are located in profile, onefurther than the other, dark skin an brownedhair, who gathers the grown wheat depositing itin a big, white bag placed next to him, locatedin the underside side of the composition. He we-ars red and green shirt, red tigh pants, and highboots of the same color. Placed in parallel, butseparated by the harvest, there is another pea-sant protected with a headscarf in the head anddressed in long skirt. We can only appreciate theboots and part of the layer of the third figure(due to the large adjacent lagoon); his legs are inposition of walking in the opposite direction tothe other characters. Behind them, in the upperpart of the composition, there is a landscape ofmountains, in whose horizon we can see a pro-tected wall with two cylindrical towers, and onthe right a large brick house, possibly a silo, withstraw roof and chimney, next to a large tree.

Sector I.7. Percent of preserved paint: 65%Preserved pictorial composition: Discernible.Theme: Preserved elements, not enougt for itsidentification. Compositional breakdown blocks:A. Pergola: Standard format, with large flowersand small twigs in the upper outer contour. Twofigures of naked children flank the pergola. Thechildren are sitting in the impost of the arch andresting their backs in the extrados; their eyeslook toward the top and center of the arch, whileplaying a trumpet. The left figure is kept quiteworse, having lost the compositional details.Next to the right figure a yellow bird is standinglooking at the child, it has red wings and tail,and long legs, like a flamingo.

of architectural and symmetrical character, pain-ted with yellow background and shades of red,forming a rectangular protrusion with two reces-sed spaces, and the underside adorned withsmall scrolls, is preserved. The bottom edge ofthe “baquetón” is painted in brown, delimitingthe central scene. In the right lower quadrant apreserved fragment of painting allows distinguis-hing part of the lower “baquetón”, painted in ye-llow ochre and decorated longitudinally with asingle stem from which black leaves leave. Nextto the “baquetón” there are a bunch of fruits andflowers hanging from a vertical loop, whose bot-tom has a knot at the top.C. Central Scene: Due to the central gap, theyare not preserved.

Sector I.4.Percent of preserved paint: 75%Preserved pictorial composition: discernible.Theme Scene:Wild birds hunt scene.Compositional breakdown blocks:A. Pergola: It is decorated with flowers and lotsof upward twigs that start from the upper-rightboundary.B. Frame: Although it preserves the rectangularstructure of the frame, we can only perceive cle-arly the right side and the central area of the un-derside. The right side is extended upwards, en-ding in a sort of a cross, from which ties andbunches of flowers and twigs hang, which falltoward the upper “baquetón”. The right side isalso extended outwards, forming a trapezoidalvolume of surfaces curved with two endings inscrolls. Interestingly, a hollow in the centre ofthis surface is pretended to be with a curved an-chor, as if the frame were hanging on the wall.The right side of the frame, imitating wood, isdecorated on its side next to the scene with avertical stem from which dark leaves come out,similar to the one found in the I.3 (lower “ba-quetón”) sector. The lower side of the frame istopped with a lion’s head, surrounded by scrolls,only preserving the top part of the left scroll,topped with a small head of a satyr, from whosemouth is displayed a red ribbon from which twobouquets of flowers and fruits hang, one locatedat the height of the lower right corner of theframe, and the other going up. A fragment ofvertical loop starts from this bouquet, which se-ems to define the general outline of the entirepictorial composition of this sector.

C. Central Scene: The main scene is not per-fectly clear because of its degradation, but youcan identify three men on horseback, each onewith a spear, two of them placed first, in the si-des of the painting, and the third at the bottom,in the upper left quadrant. In the center you willappreciate, diffusely, two hunting dogs, one lo-cated in the central bottom side and the other inthe upper, along with big white birds (heronslike) located at the top center area. The birds areharassed by the dogs (of earth-orange toned),and finally demolished by the spears of the menon horseback. The hunter on the right is wearinga white shirt, —sleeves rolled—, vest, baggy redtrousers and boots. He covers his head with awhite handkerchief. The back is crusade by thehandle of a spoilt, and he carries a thick stringin the waist. The tiller is grasped by the rider,and headed down. He rides a ochre coloredhorse, large tile. The hunter on the left wears ye-llow T-shirt and red vest, and he carries a spear.He rides a white horse, like the character situa-ted in a more distant plane, which rides dressedin red, with a hat of the same color. The scenetakes place in a country setting, a thick treetrunk occupies the right-hand side of the com-position.

Sector I.5.Percent of preserved paint: 85%Preserved pictorial composition: Discerni-

ble.Theme: Hunting scene (foxes?).Compositional breakdown blocks:A. Pergola: It survives almost complete.The interior is adorned with flowers and

black twigs in the outer outlines. In its left back-fill there is a powerful naked male figure, stan-ding on the fascia, in a lightly bent position, res-ting his buttocks on the curvature of the arch.His arms are raised, holding a basket of fruitsand flowers. In the vain of the pergola, to theleft,we can see the shape of a yellow bird, withunfolded red wings and peak and long paws,which we might relate to a heron or a flamingo.B. Frame: The central frame is made in

brown earth tones, imitating wood, quite ornateas the previous ones, with a Renaissance orna-mentation of clear classical influence; its uppercorners are finished with small heads of rams,from whose ears fabrics hang. In the lower cor-ners faces are human and small chaplets of pink




C. Central Scene:Missing. There is just a smallfragment located in the center, where a part of acharacter of noble appearance appears, wearingbrown layer on a red suit and red baggy trousers.The index finger of his right hand points out so-mething unidentified.

Sector I.10.Percent of preserved paint: 50%Preserved pictorial composition: Discernible. Theme: Preserved elements, not enough for itsidentification.Compositional breakdown blocks:A. Pergola: Standard, with floral decoration. Inthe keystone of the arch we can see an ornamentthat may correspond to a high finish of the topside of the frame. The pergola rests on a curvedwall. In the left side the figure of a naked childseated and in profile is represented, he looks tothe right side, blowing a trumpet, directed to-ward the top center of the composition. Next tohim the top of a column or pilaster is preserved,on whose upper end is rests a bird with a snakeor tape in the peak.B. Frame:We can still see part of the sides andtop side of the bead moulding, decorated withchains, with some female masks located at thecenter, wearing scarves on their heads. In an iso-lated fragment located in the right-hand end ofthe tapestry we appreciate rests of the finish ofthe framework, with a ring and a red ribbon. C. Central Scene: Only some isolated motivessurvive, turning out to be insufficient for the glo-bal interpretation of the scene. In the left side,in its top half, there is a confused shape thatmight be a tree. The background containsslightly detectable yellow scenery, and there is atree trunk in the right side. Along with this onethere is outlined the shape of an arm and itshand.

Sector I.11.Percent of preserved paint: 15%Preserved pictorial composition: Discernible.Theme: Preserved elements, not enough for itsidentification. Compositional breakdown blocks:A. Pergola: It’s not preserved. We can only ap-preciate a bunch of black leaves and little red flo-wers, a similar one to the one that is on sectorI.8, that rises on the left side of the pergola.B. Frame: It’s not preserved. A small fragment

located on the right side, lower part, shows re-mains of a bunch of fruits and little black twigs. C. Central Scene: Disappeared. Only some de-graded and formless shades are remained.

Sector I.12.Comments: In this sector, on the corner of theGallery II, only mural painting are preserved, inits North face, turning this one to be the begin-ning of the pictorical cycle of the North GalleryII.Preserved pictorial composition: 30% compa-red to the supposed primitive pictorial surface.Compositional breakdown blocks: Very degra-ded. Hardly discernible.Theme: Preserved elements, not enough for itsidentification.Three fragments are kept isolated from eachother, all very degraded formally and tonally. Wecan only see a black horizontal line at the top,located slightly below the impost of the arc, andunder this line, a few diffuse tonal color of redand black remain. The two following fragmentsare almost aligned horizontally, and in themthere is a horizontal black line and confusing re-mains of grayish light green color, in a fragment,and gray and black brushstrokes in another. Theadjacent area (II. 2) preserves, at this height,fragments with plant canopies better defined,with the same color tones.

GALLERY III: 12 SECTORS Sector III.1. Percent of preserved paint: 2%Preserved pictorial composition: It isn’t dis-cernible.Theme: Preserved elements, not enough for itsidentification. Compositional breakdown blocks:A. Pergola: Not preserved. B. Frame: Not preserved.C. Central Scene: Disappeared. Only some to-nalities without shape are preserved.

Sector III.2.Percent of preserved paint: 30%Preserved pictorial composition: Discernible.Theme: Preserved elements, not enough for itsidentification.Compositional breakdown blocks:A. Pergola: Standard format, decorated with ye-llow flowers, and intertwined twigs that come

B. Frame: Among the surviving fragments youcan also see part of a frame with a very well de-veloped ornamentation, which is dominated bythe moldings projected outwards, intertwinedwith tapes that are attached to rings, and fromwhich clusters of fruits and twigs hang. Interes-tingly, from a large scroll to the right of the com-position, ribbons knotted hang, and from thesea monkey also does, literally hanging, so thatone of its legs is used for the falling of the ano-ther tape with garlands of fruit, flowers andblack twigs, directed towards the bottom of theframe. The upper central finish presents remainsof an feigned architecture as if it were the culmi-nation of a curved front wall of a niche, projec-ting acanthus leaves and remnants of a lyingsmall exotic animal.C. Central Scene: The scene is confusing anddifficult to interpret, because of the lack ofsharpness of the conserved composition, wehave to add the existence of a large gap that oc-cupies 70% of the painting, and the lack of de-finition of the most significant reasons. Thescene takes place in a landscape with a groundline located in the upper part of the composi-tion, partially covered by a grove of trees. At theend, to the right, we can see a sketch (dotted),with the figure of a man who rises the hands asif it had carried a similar object to some reins(perhaps he is plowing). In the foreground, onthe lower right quadrant, is another man dressedin red shirt, lifting his right arm with a stick orspear. The sudden change in the color of thelandscape, which goes from dark brown (bus-hes), to a light gray color, and the fact that thischaracter is not directly visible knee down,could indicate that he is between bushes, or tuc-ked away in the water, perhaps fishing.

Sector I.8.Percent of preserved paint: 60%Preserved pictorial composition: Discernible.Theme: Preserved elements, not enough for itsidentification. Compositional breakdown blocks: We canfind the most important gap of this sector in thecenter. The main scene and the frame are almostlost.A. Pergola: Standard, with small daisies of whitepetals and yellow center.Two naked children flank the pergola in fores-hortening, placed under the pergola, and resting

on the coronation of a wall or curved cornicethat rises behind the frame. The left arm of thechild placed to the left is raised rubbing the per-gola, hiding the right arm behind the curvedcornice, in which end we can find is a vase witha branch of small red flowers and black twigs. Ared ribbon hangs from the left branch, with laceat the top, from this ribbon a bunch of fruitshangs too, flowers and twigs, no continuity, un-der which a crestfallen bird lies. It looks towardthe central and lower tier of the composition.The position of his companion is almost symme-trical, while the immediate environment of thechild to the right has lost a part of the pictorialcomposition commented.B. Frame: Among the surviving fragments wecan only see part of the upper “baquetón”, thatis wide and decorated in its interior with a lon-gitudinal stem from which dark leaves come out.There is a bunch of fruit and flowers on its cen-ter. In some scattered fragments we see, in thelower area, traces of fruits and flowers, and partof a ribbon tied to the lower “baquetón”, similarto the area in the lower right quadrant.C. Central Scene:Disappeared. We can only seethe red color at the background, through the lo-wer boundary of the upper bead moulding inthe upper side of the frame.

Sector I.9.Percent of preserved paint: 25%Preserved pictorial composition: Discernible.Theme: Preserved elements, not enough for itsidentification.Compositional breakdown blocks:Only a large fragment in the upper part of thecomposition is retained, the rest of the fragmentsare less important, located in the central zone.A. Pergola: Standard. It doesn’t retain floral de-coration.At the lower end of the arch stands the figure ofprofile of a satyr, whose legs are clamped to a ribat the batter of the fascia; the figure is slightlypitch forward and his buttocks are resting on thearch, holding with both hands loaded fruit bas-ket.B. Frame: Disappeared. It only preserves a frag-ment located in the central-lower section; it be-longs to the bottom rim of a volute. Next to theframework we find remains of black twigs thatcorrespond to a primitive center of fruits and flo-wers, common in other sectors.



make the central scene hard to interpretate. Onlysturdy tree trunks can be appreciate, we can alsosee a farmer in profile, with a straw hat, raisinghis left arm.

Sector III.6.Percent of preserved paint: 25%Preserved pictorial composition: Discernible.Theme: Rural scene of sowing. Compositional breakdown blocks:A. Pergola: It is almost completely disappearedbecause of a gap. Only a compositive fragmentof the right fascia is preserved.B. Frame: The large fragment preserved allowsthe vision of a part of the right side and bottomof the frame. The right beater is ornate with vo-lutes, expanded in the only visible corner, fromwhich surface a ring hangs. The bottom side ofthe beater appears crowned in its center withmoldings that fall under the head of an animal,something blurry, similar to a sheep. Curiously,in the stretch from this auction until the bottomvisible corner, there is a fake anchor, as if the fra-mework was hung on a wall, something that hasbeen used in other sectors.C. Central Scene: Part of the scene has disap-peared because of a large gap, affecting the upperright diagonal. The preserved area is developedwith several characters who work the land, in alandscape of hills and trees. In the foregroundstands a peasant who walks on a plowed fieldwhile spreading the seeds, taken from a red bagthat carries in his left hand; he wears a red peakhat, yellow vest, white long sleeve shirt, redshorts and white boots. Near him, in the bottomcorner of the composition, similar bags of seedsare stacked, some of which have already sprou-ted. In the right half of the composition there isanother farmer who goes to that side, pullingtwo white oxen that plow the ground; he wearsbrimmed red hat, brown jacket and red shirt.The furrows of the plow are recorded in thecomposition with thick brown lines.

Sector III.7.Percent of preserved paint: 35%Preserved pictorial composition: Discernible. Theme: The lack of definition of the conservedelements impedes the ensuring of its overall the-matic, while the situation of the elements sug-gests a scene of wine duties: the collection andthe treading of the grape.

Compositional breakdown blocks:A. Pergola: Almost disappeared because of thebig upper gap. B. Frame: In the composition preserved we onlyappreciate the smooth “baquetones” of the sidesand the bottom, having disappeared the deve-lopment and expansion of the molded compo-sition of these frameworks, as usual. Only at thebottom and middle of the composition we canappreciate some vestiges of the primitive volu-tes.The side moldings are decorated with a stemfrom which small dark leaves emerge, beingcrowned at its lower end with two faces of lepre-chauns with pointy ears, they are covering theirheads with a red scarf knotted in the neck.Around the framework, there are abundant tra-ces and shapes that are discernible in the overallcomposition, but incomplete. The left area isspread by faded fruits and twigs, which may bepart of three different clusters, possibly joinedby red ribbons, depending on model already re-peated in other sectors.In the lower area there are also other objects thatare not complete, like a part of the volute of theframework (finish of the bottom center), or thescene of a bird of red wings and tail, placed nextto a centerpiece with flowers, fruits and darktwigs, located under the lower corner of the fra-mework. On the right side we can appreciatedthe vestiges of these fruit centers, adorning thesides and bottom of the overall composition.C. Central Scene: 70% of the scene has disap-peared because of a big lagoon that occupies theright top diagonal of the picture. The preservedfragment is poor condition of conservation, withimportant erosions and losses. In the composi-tion, all the valued elements have turned intotraces, which, linked, seem to form a possiblescene of the wine process, developed during thecompilation and the footprint of the grape. Wecan see three human figures, all of them quiteincomplete and mutilated by the erosion and thewear. In the upper left quadrant we can see acharacter walking and heading toward the leftside of the composition, we can only see thewhite boots and part of the legs and torso ofhim. Next to it there is a container similar to abasket. In the lower zone we glimpse anothercentral figure, of which only the hands are kept,they rest on a kind of horizontal beam, appa-rently driven by a vertical axis on the right side

out of the outer contour. Not completely intact.B. Frame: It is not preserved. We can only see alittle piece in the lower corner, with degradedstrokes. C. Central Scene: Completely disappeared.

Sector III.3. Percent of preserved paint: 70%Preserved pictorial composition: Discernible.Theme: Palatial scene with figures. Compositional breakdown blocks:A. Pergola: Standard, decorated with flowers. B. Frame: Rectangular format, yellow ochre co-lor, with profuse ornamentation and details ofRenaissance style, large mouldings and scrolls.The top of the frame shows a double humanmask in opposite profile, representing two bear-ded faces, the one on the left has longer hair andthe one on the right a pointed nose, which ana-tomically remember the face of Carlos V andwhich could symbolically represent the past andthe future. In the bottom center we find the headof a “carabeo” with long horns, in which a bellhangs. Set by two different bolts, one on the up-per side and another on the bottom, we see a bigmolding in S, from which hangs a red ribbonwith a bouquet of fruits and flowers, similar tothe one found in other sectors. On the big cen-tral pivot rests the figure of a satyr.C. Central Scene: It survives practically com-plete. The scene is set in palace, and it is deve-loped in two rooms, an outdoor one and an in-door one, divided by a central column placed inforefront. On the left, two men have accessed toa paved and arched porch that gives acces to theoutside, with a landscape of mountains andgreen spaces. Both of them are walking; the onewho is behind is wearing a yellow long-sleevedshirt, a white skirt that overlays yellow breechesand green boots. He carries and object with bothhands, it is thin, elongated white. Because of hisclothing and position, he seems to be located ina lower social scale than the one that walks infront of him, wearing a short-sleeved stiff jacket,dark colored, light tone long-sleeved shirt, baggybreeches and white tights, he holds in his righthand a long object, suggesting a royal scepter orstaff.In the indoor scene Carlos V the king appearsseated on a large throne, in the upper part of thecomposition, presiding over a long table coveredwith a white tablecloth, on which there are two

red jugs and two slices of bread. In front of him,and in profile, there are two characters, and be-cause of their luxurious clothing (hat, coat, redsuit), they seem to be nobles or royalty. At a lo-wer plane we see, around a big fire, made on agrill decorated with paws and claws of a lion, abearded man with red hat, who is warming hishands to the fire, while the maid (dressed in longand with head scarf) warms up a white jug,whose is stiring at once with a slotted utensil. Inthe roof of the vaulted room, white with redmoulding, two candelabra with four lighted can-dles hang.

Sector III.4.Percent of preserved paint: 60%Preserved pictorial composition: Discernible.Thema scene: Preserved elements, easily iden-tified but not enough to know its global theme. Compositional breakdown blocks:A. Pergola: Standard format, silhouetted in redwith black paneled, with black flowers and in-tertwined twigs.B. Frame: Big moulding frame.C. Scene: It is not complete because of the largegaps. It is an outdoor scene, which takes placein the street, along the facade of brick factorybuilding; the characters do their job. In the fo-reground a man is represented holding in hisright hand an elongated iron utensil that settlesdown to a big and live fire; in this utensil an un-recognisable object is pinned. Behind it, a youngman appears kneeling on the floor with sleevesrolled, and the hands inside a kind of whitebowl, as if he were kneading. In the distance,under the archway of a house with a façade ofwindows and balconies, you see a woman withlong dress and white kerchief on the head, shebends slightly while holding a green basket.

Sector III.5.Percent of preserved paint: 7%Preserved pictorial composition: Discernible.Theme:Not enough elements to know its globaltheme. It looks as if it was a rural scene.Compositional breakdown blocks:A. Pergola: Standard format, used as composi-tional framing that is repeated in all sectors ofthe side galleries. B. Frame: Fragment of a molding frame, inwhich an exotic bird can be seen on the left.C. Central Scene: There are many losses that



preservation has allowed the interpretation ofevery single compositional block.A. Pergola: Standard format. It is decorated withflowers and twigs of dark leaved protrudingfrom the outer boundary.B. Frame: The frame is profusely decorated withlarge, highly amplified curved mouldings, sha-ped with moldings of “grecas” with upward se-micircles crowned with flowers at their ends, —similar to one of the decorative finials found insectors of the Gallery II. 8 and 9—. The lateralramrods are decorated with longitudinal yellowribbons, and in its center, with small female he-ads adorned with headdress that fall down to theshoulders. Between the moldings and large re-cessed scrolls that decorate and are extendedover the sides, intertwined ornamental motifs ofRomanist style (loops and hanging fabrics fromwhich bunches of fruits and flowers hang), arerepeated in other sectors. On the upper side ofthe frame, occupying the vain of the pergola, amoulding rises to the center and it simulates alarge medallion or shield, whose curved ends to-ward the front end in acanthus leaves; in thecentral field we find three small equal shields,two above and one below, not identified.At the coronation of one of big developed mol-dings at the height of the upper left corner of theframe, is situated a crestfallen bird, close to astylized dark bouquet.C. Central Scene: The scene takes place in a ru-ral landscape with trees, and we can see, in theupper right quadrant, the profile of a big houseor farmhouse, next to which there is a carriageparked. In the scene, some activities take placeat the same time. On the one hand, in the firstterm, occupying the lower right quadrant of thecomposition, we find a man with a hoe (protec-ted with straw hat, and dressed with shirt —sle-eves rolled—, white shoes and yellow socks);there is a triangular blade at his feet, which hasbeen used to clear, dig or open the burrows. Inthe central area, secondly, another man, dressedin white hat, white shirt and a second shirt wi-thout sleeves, with yellow skirt and white shoes,he carries a net and seeks to catch the big hed-gehog that is leaving his burrow. Next to him, tothe left, two dogs —a white Labrador other lightbrown in color—, harass a hedgehog, as anotherdog placed in front of the hunter does. Aroundthese characters there are several hedgehogs thatare spread through the scene. In the back-

ground, in the upper right quadrant, two menput in their sacks the captured animals; they areprotected with hats and are dressed in white.Addressing the background, to the farmhouse,the last character is situated, who loads on hisback a sack full of, supposedly, his hunting.

Sector III.12.Percent of preserved paint: 45%Preserved pictorial composition: Discernible.Theme: Conserved elements, not enough for itsidentification. Compositional breakdown blocks:A. Pergola: Less of the left half is preserved intwo unequal fragments. The type is standard. Itis decorated with dark leaves twigs protrudingfrom the outer boundary.B. Frame: The framework is brown, wood imi-tation. There are few areas kept, we find the vo-lutes that supposedly made up the top left cor-ner and the auction center on the left side, inboth cases with prominent volutes of wavy ter-minations. We must highlight a cross-shapedone, with bulky and rounded ends, in which in-tersection a flower is drawn, and from the rightend of the cross, a white ribbon falls. Presu-mably, from these moldings, tapes were falling(not preserved), and from them, three bunchesof fruit and flowers also hang, arranged at inter-vals, which surround the composition in its lo-wer section. Of these, only the central is loadedwith oranges and grapes, taken with branches ofblack leaves, usual in these compositions. There are also some remains of the central finishof the framework on its lower side, also madewith screwed volutes, under which the centralbouquet lies.C. Central Scene: Due to the large gaps in thisveneer, only a fragment of the lower center ispreserved, in which the front legs of a horse ona field of red ground is represented.

GALERY II: CONSIST OF 13 SECTORSObservation: The beginning of the cycle of theNorth Gallery begins in the North-facing wallII.12 of sector I-East Gallery, corner with the Ga-llery II. (See I.12 Sector)

Sector II.1.Percent of preserved paint: 30% (relative to theoverall composition).Preserved pictorial composition: Very deterio-

of the composition (possibly a mill). Under thehorizontal beam we see the bent legs of that cha-racter, he remains exerting force to turn thebeam (while he possibly is treading the grape).

Sector III.8.Percent of preserved paint: 15%Preserved pictorial composition: Discernible.Theme: Scene related with small hunting (foxes?rabbits?).Compositional breakdown blocks:A. Pergola: It is almost completely disappearedbecause of a big gap that is expanded around thepreserved fragment, placed in the center. B. Frame: In the preserved fragment we can seea small part of the upper “baquetón”, yellowwith white touches, decorated with a thin stemwith leaves that travels longitudinally along themolding.A small fragment located in the lower left cornerof the facing wall shows traces of a bunch offruits, flowers and black twigs, similar to manyother found in other sectors.C. Central Scene: The preserved fragment is si-tuated in the centre of the scene. Although muchof the composition has been lost, the motives aredistinguished with clarity, allowing its interpre-tation.In the foreground, on the right, a characterstands, only his left leg remains, riding a whitehorse dressed in red saddlery, shown in profile,in motion and in full hunting attitude. The riderwears short white pants and yellow tights.Around the horse, two dogs are busy to catchtheir prey; one of them, reddish brown, is wea-ring a wide white collar, and bites its prey, ofwhich we can only see his long yellowish tail.The other dog also harasses another animal, andbetween the two dogs we can only distinguishthe ends of two very long ears that resemblethose of a hare.On the left side of the scene there is a hunter tur-ned on his back, with his left arm raised, wea-ring a clear short brimmed hat, shirt, white trou-sers and red vest set with a belt; on his back, apossible bag hangs diagonally. The landscapebackground shows a tree with open branches,apparently without leaves (autumn?).

Sector III.9.Percent of preserved paint: 5%Preserved pictorial composition: Discernible.

Theme: The preserved elements are not enoughfor its identification.Compositional breakdown blocks:A. Pergola: It is practically disappeared becauseof the big gaps that affect the facing. It only con-serves the fragmented silhouette of the upper leftside contour of the pergola.B. Frame: Almost completely disappeared. It re-tains only two fragments, located on the left sideand in the lower side (lower right scroll).C. Central Scene: Completely disappeared.

Sector III.10.Percent of preserved paint: 25%Preserved pictorial composition: Discernible.Theme:Hunting scene. The preserved elementsare not enough for its global identification. Compositional breakdown blocks:A. Pergola: Standard format. B. Frame:Only a portion of the lower quadrantof the framework has been preserved. The fra-mework shows a molduration decorated withscrolls, widely developed in the central area ofthe sides, similar to those found, in style andform, in other sectors of the lateral galleries. Onthe right side, the surface of the frame closest tothe scene is enhanced with embellishments ofrosaries ending in a ball, and only interrupted inthe middle by a central scroll.C. Central Scene: The preserved fragment onlyshows the right lower quadrant of the picture. Amale figure, with the legs open and slightly bentappears. His open and stretched forward armsare holding a short spear —possibly a pike—,which keeps horizontally, gripped at the ends,and directed in an attitude of attack toward thecenter of the composition. The end of this func-tional piece ends in a tip, with a stop made by asmall crossed rod. Next to it we can see the tipof another pike, but not the figure that carries it.The only visible character wears white long-sle-eved shirt, open red vest, girded by a belt, light-colored baggy pants up to his knee, white tightsand red boots without laces, stepping on a landcovered with irregular bushes.

Sector III.11.Percent of preserved paint: 80%Preserved pictorial composition: Discernible.Theme: hedgehog hunt scene. Compositional breakdown blocks: The highpercent of preserved paint and its good state of



Theme: Preserved elements, not enough for itsidentification.Outer perimeter wall: Two big revealing frag-ments of the compositional scheme that hasbeen followed in other sectors of this galleryare preserved. There is a presence of an archi-tectural framing, with an outlined semicirculararch, in which, inside the vain, a scene is de-veloped, it us confused to identified becauseof the very high degradation of the polych-romy. However, we see a character who appe-ars in front, seated, resting his arms on a hori-zontal strip (which could be a table, the railingof a balcony, a horizontal beam,..). We don’tknow what is he doing because we can’t see it,next to the figure there is a gap. Beneath him,on the left, there is an object, possibly a con-tainer or box, and in the bottom of the scenewe can see a blank cartouche with a black ins-cription in Latin —we find confusion in thestrokes of the letters, because of the polych-romy tonal wear—, which reads as follows: RESOVEDQVIEMBEST. Interestingly, it is one ofthe two inscriptions registered in the paintingsof the three galleries. This strip of this cartou-che is followed by strips orange, gray, andwhite, and by fragment of “greca” composed ofrepeating symmetrical floral motifs, made withblack strokes on the beige, stucco’s back-ground (intonacco).The separation wall on the left of the arch of thescene, appears with significant gaps, although itcan be seen the decoration of three vertical barsor columns, ornamented with floral motifs (dai-sies of orange petals and white corolla).In another large fragment, located to the left ofthe tapestry, we see the bottom corner of a fra-ming, or from one of the thick walls that sepa-rate the arches of scene. The interior shows onlythe back of a horse (both limbs and the tail), re-presented in profile and heading to the left, on aplain orange background, possibly a field ofwork. The lower end of the scene consists of asuccession of stripes of different colors, from topto bottom: white, orange, gray, (the three outli-ned in black), and the last one, white (outlinedin red).Perpendicular left wall, next to the courtyard:Small fragment with black lines outlining a grayand yellow stripe.Perpendicular right wall: A fragment with tra-ces of pink and black is preserved.

Sector II. 6 y 7Percent of preserved paint in sector 6: 30%Percent of preserved paint that flank secto 7,left side: 85%Percent of preserved paint that flank sector7, right side: 75%Preserved pictorial composition betweenboth sectors: Discernibles. Theme, left side: It is an arch of half point,which alternates two bows with venera arches,separated by jambs with molded decoration.One of the arches is practically maimed by thecorner of this sector. Inside the arch there is apainting of angels, but hardly readable becauseof losses and erosion. Above arches, a linteledstructure stretches, and on it, border of interwi-ned plant elements and angels.Theme, right side: The same arch is displayedon this flank, with the exception that in the in-terior of the aperture of the arch, a peculiar cha-racter appears, his anatomy is disproportionatelybig. It represents a naked man in foreshortening,with the right knee stuck on the ground, theright arm extended, holding a skull and restingon the knee and the right arm directed to hisown head, in an attitude of thinking. The darktonality of the entire composition is due to thethick carbonated infiltrations that have comple-tely covered the composition and that prevent,in spite of the cleaning, the proper reading of theshades. In the upper frieze there is an inscriptionin latin characters, quite mutilated, where youcan read under a valance with late gothic moti-ves: LÍBRAMEYAPUESQUEPUEDESESTAXA-QUE.

Sector II. 8 y 9.Percent of preserved paint in sector 8: 40%Percent of preserved remains in sector 9: 70%Preserved pictorial composition betweenboth sectors:Discernible in sector 9. It isn’t dis-cernible in the outer perimeter wall of sector 8,but it is discernible in the fragments located inthe two perpendicular walls.Representation: In II.8 sector, stucco of a largefragment is preserved, due to its high degrada-tion, only some spots are perceived, located onthe top (black stripe and red remains on it) an-nexed to the adjacent sector II.9, best preserved.Among right fascia of sector II.8 and the rightfascia of sector II.9 it is developed one of the bestpreserved scenes of the sector, despite its many

rated. Partially discernable (on comparison withadjacent sector).Theme: Preserved elements, not enough for itsglobal identification.Breakdown of areas:Outer perimeter wall: In the set of preservedfragments, we can detect the same black andcontinuous line arranged in horizontal thatwas appreciated in the high part of the atta-ched sector (I.12), over the line of the arch’sfascia, and under this one, a wide stripe of graycolor, poorly intone. Further down spots ofred tonality are appreciated, and in the centerof the ornament, approximately, a few spotsbetter definite that only outline the remains ofa valance of acanthus leaves, arranged in arhythmic way as a vegetable fret. The acanthusleaves are green and light gray, and they arethickly edged in black. Exactly to its right, afragment contains pictorial remains with verythin vertical lines of dark color, on a light pinkbackground, hardly detectable. And to the leftof the frets there are green, brown, and redstrokes. Under the fascia of the transverse archthere is another fragment, in which we obser-ved a wide stripe of approximately 3 cm, ofwhite color, outlined in black. This one is re-peated in almost all the sectors, therefore weinterpret that it is a question of a possible con-tinuous framing line.

Sector II.2.Percent of preserved paint: 20% (relative tothe overall composition).Preserved pictorial composition: Very deterio-rated. Partially discernable.Theme: Preserved elements, not enough for itsglobal identification. Outer perimeter wall: The preserved remainsare distributed into several fragments that coverdifferent areas of the compositional strip (theo-retically). The top piece has a black and red ho-rizontal line, similar to the one found in the pre-vious sector (II.1). Below the fascia of the trans-verse arch, we find a succession of horizontalstripes of a different color, from the top to down:black stroke line, orange stripe, black strokeline, gray stripe, black stroke line, white stripe,last line of black stroke that fits the scene. Justbeneath this fragment, another one is situatedwith traces of gray color, and to the left of it, abigger one, practically located in the lower cen-

ter section of the supposed composition, wheresome gray lines outlined in black can be seen,intertwined as if they were a network.Left perpendicular wall, next to the court-yard: An isolated fragment is conserved withpictorical remains, although they are degraded,with dark hues: brown and gray, formally unre-adable.

Sector II.3.Percent of preserved paint: 15% (relative to theoverall composition).Preserved pictorial composition: Very deterio-rated. Partially discernable.Theme: Preserved elements, not enough for itsglobal identification.Outer perimeter wall: There are four conservedfragments that have traces of mural painting,while their degree of erosion is so high that onlyits hues can be seen.In the fragment located in the upper part of thiscomposition and to the left of the arch, remainsof yellow appear, and below, another isolatedfragment, where we can see more clearly a red,clean, background with vertical strokes in black,that remind some architectural element, all on adark gray background. On the top side of thecomposition, in its central area, a fragment re-tains vestiges of a wide strip of gray color. To theright of the arch, and also in the top, two frag-ments of small dimensions show black strokesand gray and red remains, impossible to discern.

Sector II.4.Percent of preserved paint: 10%Preserved pictorial composition: Very deterio-rated. Impossible to discern.Theme: Preserved elements, not enough for itsglobal identification. Outer perimeter wall: Only one fragment withmural paintings is preserved, located on the leftside of the arch, at the height of the fascia. Wecan see a small piece of black solid line, similarto the one found in previous sections, and a littlebelow, there is a bicolor stripe, black and yellow.Perpendicular right wall, next to the court-yard: A fragment with strokes of pink and blackis conserved.

Sector II.5.Percent of preserved paint: 60%Preserved pictorial composition: Discernible.



band, there is a rest of decoration, reminiscentof a bouquet.

Sector II.10.Percent of preserved paint: 9%Preserved pictorical composition: It isn’t dis-cernible.Theme: Preserved elements, not enough for itsidentification.Outer perimeter wall: Two fragments are pre-served, small and degraded, which shades pre-vents to discern primitive shapes. In the upperfragment, beneath the fascia of the transversearch, there is a red area and under it some blacksegments. In another fragment, located in the lo-wer left area of the assumed composition, we seea dark line and a red area.Left perpendicular wall, sector II.10, next tothe courtyard: There is a piece that draws at-tention because the black predominates as back-ground color, unusual circumstance in these sec-tors. We used the white and orange to delimit apanel and a small flower appearing in the com-position. Within the panel, some leaves are re-presented and next a remainder of cord.

Sector II.11.Percent of preserved paint: 5%Preserved pictorical composition: It isn’t dis-cernible.Theme: Preserved elements, not enough for itsglobal identification.Outer perimeter wall: Few traces are preserved,all much degraded, of which only red spots lo-cated at the center of the composition can beseen. We also find a gray color stroke at the topand right of it.

Sector II.12 y 13.We don’t find pictorical remains.

NOTES1 The development exhibition of the interven-

tion was published in 2009, at No. 11 of the ma-gazine Apuntes del Alcázar. The reader interestedin the criteria and process of restoration to thosewho are undergoing different sectors with muralpainting can go to that article.

2 Orthophotographic project performed bythe infographic technician Daniel Baceiredo Ro-driguez, hired by the Patronato of the Real Alcá-

zar, completed in 2012, which includes the de-velopment by sectors and lifting of three arcadedgalleries, West, North and East, with wall pain-tings, in addition to the central longitudinalvaulted gallery.

3 An approach to iconographic study in Ba-ceiredo and López, 2010:111-114.


de Conservación y Restauración de las pinturasmurales y revestimientos de los Baños de Dña.Mª de Padilla del Real Alcázar de Sevilla. Estudiode Patologías y Planimétrico.2003-04 (inédito).BACEIREDO RODRÍGUEZ, Mª I. y LÓPEZ

MADROÑERO, M.: La restauración de las pinturas murales de los

Jardines del Alcázar. Revista Apuntes del Alcázar,nº 3, Mayo 2002. La restauración de las pinturas murales de las

galerías porticadas perimetrales del Patio bajodel Crucero. Revista Apuntes del Alcázar, nº 11,2010.BACEIREDO RODRÍGUEZ, D.: Proyecto or-

tofotográfico de las galerías perimetrales y otraszonas de los Baños de Doña María de Padilla.2012. Inédito MARÍN FIDALGO, A.: El Alcázar de Sevilla

bajo los Austrias. Tomos I y II. Ediciones Gua-dalquivir, S.L., Sevilla, 1990.REINA FERNÁNDEZ-TRUJILLO, FCO.: Re-

cuperación parcial de niveles históricos en el Pa-tio del Crucero del Real Alcázar de Sevilla”. Re-vista Apuntes del Alcázar de Sevilla, nº 8, 2008.TABALES RODRÍGUEZ, M. A.: El Alcázar de

Sevilla. Primeros estudios sobre estratigrafía yevolución constructiva. Junta de Andalucía,Consejería de Cultura. Patronato del Real Alcá-zar de Sevilla. 2005.VALLE, Teresa: La pintura mural almohade en

el Palacio del Yeso. Revista Apuntes del Alcázarde Sevilla, nº 1. Mayo 2000.Un Proyecto para la recuperación de Pinturas

Murales en el Real Alcázar. Rev. Apuntes del Al-cázar de Sevilla, Junio, 2001.

CREDITSPromotion:Patronato del Real Alcázar y Casa Consistorialde Sevilla

internal losses, while its degradation is evidentas you go closer to the right area of sector II.9.The whole performance is under an architecturalframing, composed of a portico with three ar-ches, in which spaces supposedly three scenesare displayed. We can only discern the left one,because from this composition is increasinglydegraded and it gradually losses more and moreuntil it disappears at the height of the thirdscene.In the scene on the left, between sector II.8 and9, the visit of a character is, (it makes us thinkof the figure of a young Columbus,because ofthe hairstyle and the facial profile) to a Carthu-sian monk is represented, —dressed in brownrobes and shaved head— the character looks toan object. As background, a cityscape with to-wers, houses and church domes.In the vain of the central arch, only a portion ofthe vaulted lower surface, Renaissance scallop-shaped is preserved, and under it an orangebackground with traces of black lines not dis-cernible. Since the composition of this arch islost and only outlined, so only a fragment of theright arch is preserved, and inside, a fragmentwhich makes us think of the top of a hat, and ahand with a spear, all integrated on a back-ground scatter of red and gray tones.The architecture shows curious ornamental ele-ments, such as the division in horizontal stripsof the wall that is intertwined between the ar-ches. These stripes run with outgoing mouldingswhich divide the spaces with decorations of or-namental reliefs with vegetable motifs. Closingthe vain and the scenes on its bottom side, thereare ornamental bands, representing a doublemolding of Renaissance style, one of them ofgarlands based on laurel's leaves, tied in X, andthere is another one of hanging tapes with flo-wers. The architecture is topped in its upper sidewith a fretwork of black semicircles joined upand decorated with lilies. Perpendicular right wall of sector II.8, nextto the courtyard: A large fragment retains visi-ble remains of the decoration that was in thesewalls. A large horizontal strip is shown in thisone, it allegedly ran through this facing, and itis still preserved also in the opposite end wall.In the interior of the strip a vase is shown, de-corated with acanthus leaves, painted in white,outlined in black and on an orange background,its shape seems to have been inspired by a Re-

naissance fountain. From the left side windingstring of balls comes out, it is placed next to theobject. The right side is contoured by a largegap.The strip is closed on its upper and lower sidewith dark and light bands that have colours,arranged from top to bottom in the following or-der: white, dark gray, orange and white. The pre-vious lines made during the representation havealso been preserved with the final painting.Right inside perpendicular wall, sector II. 8:In a red orange background we can identifysmall traces of leaves, curved brush strokes anddividing strips of different thickness and color.Although the composition is very lost, it seemsthe decorative band that has been on the otherwalls is repeated, using acanthus leaves as mainelement.Left perpendicular wall, sector II.8, next tothe couryard: The same strip and upper fretthat was located in the opposite (right) main fa-çade are repeated. In the field, we see a beautifulfloral decoration based on acanthus leaves withlots of movement, surrounding a vase or foun-tain, similar to the opposite main façade of theend wall, unless this whole plant decoration haschanged color order: vegetation is painted inorange, black has been lost, and white was usedas background.Interestingly, under the stripe, the head of an owlhas been painted (not retained the rest of thebody), apparently, perched somewhere. Its ex-pressive eyes stand on the remains of this com-position. With this animal, we find red lines, andbelow, an orange stripe outlined in black andanother one gray.Left perpendicular wall, sector II.9, next tothe courtyard: A fragment that shows remainsof the stripe used in the decoration of this walls,is shown. The same type of band, with the samesequence of lines of different thicknesses and co-lors has been used: white, orange and black, anda similar top with half circles and lilies. The de-gradation of the paint prevents us to discern theelements that adorn the central area.Right perpendicular wall, sector II.9, next tothe courtyard: Two small fragments that can beseen in the top and bottom side of the strip arepreserved. The one on the top goes through theprofile of this wall, again indicating that all per-pendicular walls were coated with these decora-tive stripes. In the bottom fragment, under the



This paneled ceiling, 82 m2, covers the mostspacious room that communicates the Patio dela Montería and Patio de las Doncellas by theeastern flank.Thanks to the comprehensive multidiscipli-

nary studies that preceded and accompanied thisrestoration, we could confirm that the roof wasmade in the founding moment of this palace byPedro I. Thus, both the construction techniqueas the pictorial procedure and materials used forthese decorative wood coatings match those thatwere used in the rest of the Mudejars woodworkof this palace scientifically analyzed. (Figs. 1 and2).

STRUCTURE AND DESIGNAlthough its design is capable of self suppor-

ting (Fig. 3), this paneled ceiling actually makesno any structural work, because it is attachedand secured by bolts to the beams that make upthe floor of the upper level (Figs. 4 and 5). Thesebeams, which are seven, have a squareness of 27cm wide and 36 cm high and cover the hallspace in its less light side.The wood paneled ceiling that make up this

alfarje are all the same scantling (9,5 x 9,5 cm),being the alfarjías (weatherboards) the longestones that, placed perpendicular to the floorjoists, cover the space between two parallelwalls, and minors, the peinazos (rails) which, areplaced at right angles to the previous or parallelin short lengths, completed the network (Fig. 6).These woods were placed to form an interla-

cing of lane and string (as the lane is twice thethickness of the string), having two by two bothalfarjías (six pairs) as peinazos (30 pairs), and ge-nerating small square spaces when they werecrossed. When the corresponding triangular ele-ments were added, each of these encounters be-came eight-pointed stars (36 in total).In the rectangular spaces caused by the en-

counter between pairs of peinazos and alfarjías,some small elements were placed on their ends,as oblique peinazos which converted the rectan-gular hollow in hexagonal, because of the inter-lacing layout. In this way the lanes are alternatedin the longitudinal direction of the alfarjías. Alane has hexagonal hollows and the following,rectangular ones.The necessary peinazos to close the path on

the perimeter were disposed at the edges of thepaneled ceiling and in contact with the walls.Besides the aesthetic effect obtained in the tra-

cery, the behavior of the wood elements was ho-mogenized by making each one solidary withthe adjoining ones, thanks to this design in gridsquare base.Hexagonal holes and sinos were covered with

reinforced tables to fill the resulting gaps, whilethe remaining voids, of a rectangular shape withsemi-stars at the ends, were closed with othernailed tables from the visible surface.The bead moulding of semicylindrical section

that crosses the entire design was finally placedin the center of the ribbon, forming the loop de-coration.

Project Manager:2003-2008: J. María Cabeza2008-2011: Antonio Balón Alcalá2011-2012: Jacinto Pérez ElliottRestoration contractor:CREST ARTE, S.L.Implementation period:From 2003 to the presentIconography data register:Mauricio J. López MadroñeroMacarena Samada MorilloAureliano García RenteroM.ª Isabel Baceiredo RodríguezPhotographs:Crest Arte, s.l.Infographics-orthophotography:Daniel Baceiredo Rodríguez



ALCÁZAR OF SEVILLEJuan Carlos Pérez Ferrer


Sebastián Fernández AguileraHistorian



As we see, the procedure and color palette co-rresponds exactly with other well studied Mu-dejar ceilings of this palace9.We can also confirm a very interesting Mude-

jar pictorial procedure: the absence of gold leaf(although it is now so abundant in this place)and the use instead of silver leaves (which are sovulnerable) under subtle varnishes glazes, lac-quers and translucent colors (corladuras).The original aspect of this work should be as

dazzling10 as changing, depending on the timeof the day and the incidence of flickering can-dlelight. This reverb would be nuanced in theirrefraction, but multiplied in its iridescent glow,according to the nature and tone of subtle trans-flor that would cover the silver.Unfortunately, this technique is as clear as lit-

tle resistant, because the silver yields to theagents of deterioration. The damaging effects in-clude blackening and corrosion, with the appe-arance of chlorine and sulfur as byproducts ofthe process. In summary, the denaturation of thesilver turns off the initial brightness.These surfaces can not be regenerated today

and its restoration is limited to the cleaning andprotection removing added substances whichmay impair its good conservation and applyingthe most appropriate stable varnish: the onethat, without interfering optically, increase thesilver resistance to being corroded and in the restof the substances that compose the glaze, to bedeteriorated.

IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURYIn 1857 it was decided to intervene this alfarje

ceiling, with the intention of remedying, amongother things, the darkening above mentioned.With few pigments (bone black, different

lands colours, including yellow earth, vermilion,white barium, chalk and white lead, always inlows proportions) a reduced color palette wasarranged, although quite mixed: light and darkgreens, various yellows, whites and blacks al-ways slightly tinged and more or less vivid red(see fig. 10, 15 and 18 and their correspondingtables).After abrading surfaces without other consi-

deration to get rid of the medieval polychromywhich was not properly attached or looked bad,the new paint was applied directly to the wood,bonded in tempera on some occasions and so-metimes in oil painting. We found only a small

area in stucco, with maybe a test or a sample notused finally as a reference (fig. 14).

RESTORATIONComing to the present day and as we have

been largely described, the main problems or da-mage that characterized the conservation statusof this alfarje were as follows:• Thick overpainting in distemper covering

the original coatings on the entire surface of theroof except at the arrocabe panels and persistentoil overpainting in that arrocabe and occasio-nally in the rest of the alfarje (fig. 19 and 20).• Abundant accumulation of dust on the fair

face of the alfarje ceiling and substantial debrisin both the narrow chamber formed between theback of the roof and the floor of the upper roomand between the arrocabe and the perimetricvertical surfaces (fig. 21 and 22).• Poor cohesion of Mudejar coatings still pre-

served from the 1857 repaint (fig. 23). This ad-vanced disintegration of the strata was manifes-ted in all its forms: powder colors, crackled andaccused bowls, blisters or baggy, desquama-tions... The end result of these impairments canbe encrypted, as they did, on numerous losses,of variable length, by the detachment of the co-atings. As a result of this, much of the decorationwas blurred (figs. 24 and 25).• Areas with inconsistent or weak wood as a

result of xylophagous insects attack, now inac-tive.Except for the first point (the overpainting),

the rest of them did not require clarifying onmatters of judgment nor technical complexitygreater than the solution of the problem byamply proven methods and materials, which wewill discuss at the end of this article.But we didn’t know what to do with the over-

painting. In this regard, the approach was thesame as the one adopted in the Gallery of theKings and Maidens and in the Half-orangeDome11. That is, removing the overpainting thatwere hiding original polychrome and keepingthose whose elimination, by being executed di-rectly on the support table, had not rescued anyof Mudejar coatings because, as we say, theywere already lost when the alfarje was repaintedor were destroyed then.In this regard, when an accurate and detailed

conservation map of the original polychromewas made, we find three different situations

So the end result of the trace of this alfarjeceiling, of 6,64 x 7,82 m dimensions, respondsto six lanes of eight-pointed stars flanked byalfardones (hexagonal tiles), not forming whe-els.

MATERIAL HISTORYAs we know from the information derived

from many carpentries restoration recently in-tervened in this alcázar as well as various writtensources, the roofs of this palace were repairedmainly in the sixteenth and nineteenth centu-ries. It is therefore common to find in these Mu-dejar carpentries a superposition of medieval,Renaissance and nineteenth century times1. Ho-wever, in the alfarje ceiling that we are studing,the layers respond exclusively to the second halfof the fourteenth and nineteenth centuries. Thatis the initial construction splendid moment andnineteenth period (Figs. 7 and 8), time whenboth are made in the Alcázar although with une-ven results.Based on the technical judgments that were

issued before 1857 (year of the intervention) onthe conservation status of this alfarje, we find si-milar views regarding the valuation of that state,but opposed proposals for restoration if we talkabout its finish.In 1854 it was recommended rebuilding almost

entirely the magnificent coffered that forms the roofof this hall and re-nailing the wooden frieze on whichthe roof is resting. Engaging the coffered and faste-ning with staples the wooden frieze2.Later, it was confirmed that “jacks and tie rods

for paneling” and “staples for wooden frieze” hadbeen placed3. Instead, while in 1848 ValentínCarderera4 proposed to paint these ceilings witha dark color fine wood imitation5, we see that in1857 cute coffered ceiling painting has been reno-vated and frieze painting has been gilded [sic]again6.Indeed, the coffered ceiling “was renewed”

and although Carderera`s decision would nothave been better in this case, to attend one of hislucid recommendations had been advisablewhen reflecting on the character of this alcázarin general: all this charm disappears with poorlyunderstood renovations and to make a big differencebetween a restoration and a renewal would be ap-propriate7.


and techniques for the characterization of mate-rials8:1. Polarized optical microscopy, incident andtransmitted. Halogen and UV light.1-a. Selective staining and microchemical tests.1-b. Identification of wood species from micros-copic features in the transverse, longitudinal andradial cuts.2. Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR transmission andFTIR-ATR).3. Gas chromatography - mass spectrometry(GC-MS).4. Thin layer chromatography, high resolution(HPTLC).5. Scanning electron microscopy - spectrometricmicroanalysis by energy dispersive X-ray (SEM- EDXS).We present the interesting information that

results from the data arising from such scientificstudies, as well as from a comprehensive testprogram.

IN THE FOURTEENTH CENTURYThe Mudejar craftsmen tended a gypsum rig

with animal glue on the fair face of the woods(Corsican or black pine —Pinus nigra L.,— inthe frieze and Scots pine, white or Valsaín —Pi-nus Sylvestris L.— in the rest of the roof). Thisstucco was always applied in two coats, the topwith a finer grind. Then they applied a varnishcolophony resin and linseed oil. In varnishedareas, in addition to applying the described oilyvarnish, the craftsmen placed the correspondingsilver leaf. Finally, according to the decorativescheme, they applied color and, again, rosin re-sin with linseed oil to stoke the result (see Plates9 a18 and corresponding tables).This was the technique used in the entire roof

except in the 798 tabicas (small wooden boards)that fringe all the sunken alfardones (hexagonaltiles) of the alfarje ceiling, where silver leaf wasnot enforced. Thanks to this exception these ta-bicas have been better preserved.Moreover, pure colors were obtained from the

following pigments: lead white (white), charcoal(black), vermilion (red), organic red dye (redglaze), verdigris (green) and azurite (blue).



Talking about the chromatic reintegration, wehave to focus on the elements that, havingenough information about them, were proved tobe fundamental lines of the trace or unique ele-ments in the visual perception of the set: someof the egg-shaped decoration, certain heraldicfields, and the epigraphy of the risers.For this purpose and to meet the mandatory

criteria of differentiation, we combine the lowtone and rigatino with water pigments, subse-quently refinining with stable and lacquer rever-sible pigments.Finally, we use the same acrylate described in

Dowanol ™ for ultimate protection of the wo-odwork. In this case the solution, applied bybrush, was 5%.

ILLUSTRATIONS1. The paneled ceiling before restoration.2. Plant and south and west elevations.3. Mounting scheme, top and bottom views.Left top. 4. Drawing with the exact distribu-

tion of the nails that attach alfarje structure tothe ceiling.Left bottom top. 5. Partial view of the camera

between the backfill of the roof and the top floorwrought.6. Detail of the assemblages between the ele-

ments that make up the different modules (toppicture); view of one of the interlaced laces on anon-structural piece.7. These images show the motley repaint that

were made on the Mudejar epigraphs in 1875until make them unreadable.8. Another example of the overpainting on the

“ovas”, moles and original atauriques motifs. Wehave to find the large amount of loss of polych-rome of the original coatings and the ones from1857 and, secondly, that many of the nineteenthrepainting are made directly on the wood, andin these extensive areas the medieval strata hadalready been lost.9. Analysis of wood frieze (top) and one of the

alfarje alfardones (bottom).10. Optical microscopy image of the cross

section (50 X objective MPlan / 0.75). The nu-merical order indicated is shown in the table be-low. A sample taken from one of the alfardonesshows in the chromatograms and spectographiespart of the pigments used in origin (bone black,white lead, vermilion and azurite) and the inter-

vention of the mid nineteenth century (land ye-llow).11. Chromatogram of a sample taken with a

swab on the outside of the coatings of the “ovas”of the frieze. The used of rosin resin and linseedoil as termination “bariz” is checked.12. Reflectogram and chromatogram of a

sample taken with a swab. This sample (corres-ponding to the outer layer) was taken from a vir-gin area, hidden by assemble and without re-painting and silver corrosion. As we can see insome stratigraphy, the resin mixture of rosinwith linseed oil was used to protect the coatingvarnish and for brightening.Right. 13. These three photographs show two

fragments of decoration which, being protectedbehind other woods remained intact since theMudejar creators made them. Naturally, we tookthe exceptional integrity of these areas to takesamples, we could use to characterize the tech-nique and materials used.Left. 14. Picture above: Optical microscope

image of the cross section of the microsample(20 X objective MPlan / 0.40). The number or-der corresponds to the table below. Picture ave-rage: optical microscope image of the cross sec-tion (20 X objective MPlan / 0.40), with UVlight. We can see the fluorescence of the organiclayers (layers 3 and 5). Picture below: Opticalmicroscope image of the cross section (50 X ob-jective MPlan / 0.75), with transmitted light. Itshows the transparency of the organic layers 3and 5.15. Top picture: image to the optical micros-

cope of the cross-section of the microsample(objective MPlan 20 X / 0.40). The numerical or-der indicated is shown in the table below. Mid-dle picture: image to the optical microscope ofthe cross-section (MPlan 50 X objective / 0.75),with UV light. The transparency of the organiclayers (layers 3 and 5) can be seen. Bottom pic-ture: image to the scanning electron microscopeof the cross section of the thin blade of the mi-cro-sample (BSE 300 X objective). The high con-trast of the silver leaf (2 layer) and layer of ver-milion (layer 4) can be seen. This sample, takenfrom one of the recessed alfardones of the alfarje,is a good example of the general stratigraphic se-quence. In origin, on a rig of plaster, they tendedadhered silver leaf, covered with colophony re-sin and linseed oil; the colors were also applied(vermillion in this case), they returned to apply

which confirmed our suspicion that the persis-tence or good condition of the Mudejar stratawas due to the presence or absence of silver leaf.Firstly, in the horizontal plane of the roof

(51.92 m2 area), the medieval coatings havebeen largely lost and coincided with areas whereMudejar craftsmen had used silver leaf: metalsheets whose corrosion gradually ruined the set.For a basic rule, for this case was agreed to

keep the overpainting, despite its unobtrusivequality because there was no Mudejar coatingsunderneath to rescue but only the timber. Ex-ceptionally, in some isolated areas, small frag-ments were preserved, although significantenough to be recognized, with the original de-coration. In those rare cases, of course, if we re-move the overpainting and although the recove-red material was so casual that does not affectthe general appearance of the whole, it was re-vealing for scientific analysis of all materials andpictorial procedure used at source and docu-mentary reconstruction of the decorative pro-gram (fig. 26, 27 and 28).However, also in the horizontal plane of the

roof, in the parts where no silver leaf was used(15,49 m2 of the total area developed, almost19%, corresponding to the alfardones risers andsinos) the primitive coatings kept under over-painting with a degree of consistency allowingsafely removing parts added, to fully recover theoriginal decor. In this case it was decided to re-move the overpainting of these 798 risers, reco-vering the epigraphy that adorns them (fig. 29).Here, either because the silver leaf did not co-

ver the entire surface, or because it was not alwayswas under subtle lacquers and varnishes but un-der more pasted pigments and, therefore, betterable to protect the silver, the degree of persistenceof Mudejar coatings and therefore its degree ofoxidation or darkening was broken (fig. 30). In short, the decision to remove the overpain-

ting in a 37% of the area was taken because theoriginal underlying was full or because theamount retained was enough and of greater va-lue than the repaint. We must remember that thecolors that were used in the nineteenth centuryoverpainting altered the original palette and re-duced the exquisite primitive drawing to a re-charged and imprecise reproduction of hardcontours. (fig. 7 and 8).Ethanol, dimethylsulfoxide and dimethylfor-

mamide were used to eliminate the repainting.

Thick overpainting, common in oil paintings,were previously thinned to tip of blade to limitthe use of solvents. Another major task, essential for the future

good preservation of the work, is the removal ofthe large debris (about half ton) that after severalreforms of the upper room had been dumpedalong the time and were hidden under the floo-ring of this upper floor on the back of the alfarjeceiling12 (fig 31).It should be clear that when we say rubble we

do not mean compression13 layers that providestrength to the roof structure, because the dis-posal of these wastes was so messy that equiva-lent work areas could be filled with shards anddetritus or, conversely, be free of them. We arenot talking about stuffed discharges in origin toabsorb any water leaks of upper floor cleaning,because apart from that they were, as we havesaid, without any order distributed, they werenot sifted. There was, for example, different ca-liber shards, whole bricks, disintegrated mortar,wood waste and many organic debris: old chi-ropterans excretions accumulated under theirperches and also old rodent nests.To achieve the whole surface in the clearance

and, simultaneously, register both paneled struc-ture as superior forged beams (which were goodconservation status) we dismantle essentialparts: the entire frieze and some of the greateralfardones.Finally, we notify the other work done (fig. 32

and 33) although they are common tasks.For seated coatings we use coleta injections

and the help of adjustable heat spatulas are used,filing for protection polyethylene terephthalatefilms.Moreover, all wood were treated by lindane

in organic solvent, as anti xylophagous preven-tive treatment. The mixture was applied bybrush on the back of the timber, while on theobverse this preparation was injected throughthe holes of the old galleries carried by insects.For chemical consolidation of weak wood, the

backs of the pieces were impregnated with anacrylate14 (acrylic copolymer of methyl and ethylmethacrylates) 8-10% of propylene glycolmethyl ether, applying successive coats until thesaturation and without allowing that the solventof the previous layer was evaporated. In the co-ated side we have applied the mixture in injectedform.



tura y sobredorado que han de ser ejecutadas en elReal Alcázar de Sevilla como también las de repa-ración en los ramos de carpintería, herrería, alba-ñilería &. &. para que cuando todas ellas sean rea-lizadas el palacio quede en completa restauración.Towards 1854. Archivo del Real Alcázar, 638-3.El Alcázar de Sevilla en el siglo XIX. p. 239.

3 José de la Coba: Relación de las obras hechasen las casas y real Palacio de esta Ciudad pertene-ciente al Patrimonio de S. M. desde septiembre de1854 hasta fin de julio de 1857. July 31, 1857. Ar-chivo del Real Alcázar, 638-3 y 635-14. El Alcá-zar de Sevilla en el siglo XIX. p. 250.

4 Valentín Carderera y Solano (1796-1880).Honorary court painter, although he stressedmore as an archaeologist, collector and writer.His arrival at Alcázar of Seville responds to therequest of the governor Diego de Mesa to the Ro-yal Household in 1848, so that a qualified expertgive its judgment on the current and futureworks.

5 Valentín Carderera: Informe completo emitidotras el reconocimiento del Alcázar. June 5, 1848.Archivo del Real Alcázar, Sevilla 638-3. El Alcá-zar de Sevilla en el siglo XIX. p. 220.

6 Joaquín Domínguez Bécquer (towards1857): Copia de la restauración de Pinturas y Do-rado de Palacio. Archivo del Real Alcázar, 635-13. El Alcázar de Sevilla en el siglo XIX. p. 259.

7 Valentín Carderera: Informe completo… El Al-cázar de Sevilla en el siglo XIX. p. 217.

8 The team of specialists in analysis for docu-mentation and restoration of cultural propertythat has made this research study were as fo-llows: Andrés Sánchez Ledesma, Bachelor ofBiochemistry, María Jesús Gómez García, Bache-lor in Pharmacy, Ismael González Seco, degreein Physics, Marcos del Mazo Valentín, lab Tech-nician, Alberto García Sánchez, technical Docu-mentation.

9 Pérez Ferrer, Juan Carlos; Fernández Agui-lera, Sebastián: “Estudio y conservación del al-farje de la Alcoba Real del Palacio de Pedro I enel Real Alcázar de Sevilla”. Apuntes del Alcázar,nº 10. pp. 50- 67. Sevilla, 2009; y “La restaura-ción de los portalones y ventanas del Patio de lasDoncellas del Palacio de Pedro I en el Real Alcá-zar de Sevilla (2001-2004). Apuntes del Alcázar,nº 5. (Número monográfico). Sevilla, 2004.

10 Especially considering the higher reflectivityof silver, even against gold (95% and 83% in thenative silver and gold, respectively).

11 Pérez Ferrer, Juan Carlos; Fernández Agui-lera, Sebastián: La restauración de la Media Na-ranja del Salón de Embajadores. Apuntes del Al-cázar, nº 3. Sevilla, 2002.pp. 21-23.

12 «El material lignario debe siempre limpiarseescrupulosamente, ya que la limpieza reduce laincidencia de los agentes biológicos adversos y,además, el polvo (en especial si es de cal) limitala actividad de los productos antiparasitarios.»Liotta, Giovanni: Los insectos y su daño en lamadera. Nerea-Consejería de Cultura, Junta deAndalucía-IAPH. Madrid, 2000. p.64.

13 Sanz Fernández, Francisco: “El arte de lacarpintería de lo blanco en el Palacio de la Con-quista”. Norba-arte, nº. 24 (2004), pp. 31-42.We quote this article, although this palace is la-ter in time (2nd half of the sixteenth century),because the author makes some considerationsregarding the traditional use of the rubble inten-tionally to solidify the roofing structures and la-ments that often “the debris generated layers ofcompression and stability, which were with-drawn in many interventions [...] leading to newimbalances”. This practice, specifically jell withplaster, in the Alcázar of Seville, has only beenfound in the muqarnas of the Half-orange room.

14 De la Fuente Rodríguez, Luis Ángel: “Corlaso corladuras”, Apéndice en González-AlonsoMartínez, E.: Tratado del dorado, plateado y su po-licromía. Tecnología, conservación y restauración.Universidad Politécnica de Valencia. Valencia,1997; pp. 265-286.

rosin and linseed oil. Finally, in the outer layer,much of the pigments used in the interventionof 1857 appear: earth colour and yellow-earthcolour, black of bones, and in a low proportion,white lead, resulting in a grayish-yellow color.16. Top picture: optical microscope image of

the cross section of the microsample (20 X ob-jective MPlan / 0.40). The indicated numericalorder corresponds to the table below. Middlepicture: optical microscope image of the crosssection (20 X objective MPlan / 0.40), with UVlight. We can see the fluorescence of the appliedmaterial on the silver foil (layer 3). Bottom pic-ture: optical microscope image of the cross sec-tion (50 X objective MPlan / 0.75), with trans-mitted light. It clearly shows the “corla” trans-parency and brightness of silver leaf.Right. 17. Top photo: optical microscope

image of the cross section of the sample (objec-tive MPlan 20 X / 0.40 ). The numerical orderthat is shown is the one that appears in the tablebelow. Middle Photo: optical microscope imageof the cross section (target MPlan 10 X / 0.25),with UV light. We can see the transparency ofthe organic layer (layer 3). Lower Photo: Imageobtained from the optical microscope of thecross section (target MPlan 20 X / 0.40), withtransmitted light. There is transparency in theorganic layer (layer 3) and the metallic shine ofthe silver leaf (layer 2). In this sample, takenfrom the “baquetón” that travels through thetape; in addition to be checked the stratigraphicsequence described in the text, we detected partof pigments used in 1857: bones black, gypsum,white of barium in low proportion and whitelead on very low proportion.18. Top picture: optical microscope image of

the cross section of the microsample (20 X ob-jective MPlan / 0.40). The numerical order co-rresponds to the table below. Middle Picture: op-tical microscope image of the cross section (20X objective MPlan / 0.40), with UV light. BottomPicture: optical microscope image of the crosssection (50 X objective MPlan / 0.75), withtransmitted light. In this sample we detected se-veral of the pigments used in 1857: bariumwhite, gypsum and bone black.19. After a thorough program of tastings, we

found, under the paint of 1857, fragments res-cued of the Mudejar decoration that were usedto determine the primitive decorative plan.20. Here we have another example of Mudejar

decoration recovered (framed in green) in an al-fardón after the removal of overpainting of 1857.We can see, for example, the different skill in tra-cing of the perimeter “ovas”.Top. 21. In this photograph we can see abun-

dant accumulation of debris that were retainedbehind the frieze.22. Debris removed from alfarje weighed

about a ton and a half.23. Graphic illustration of the fixing problems

that were in the Mudejar coatings of 1857.24. Due to the fixing problems of the strata,

the polychromy losses were substantial.25. We can see the blurred appearance due to

loss of coatings.26. Infographic that faithfully reproduces the

colors and drawings of the Mudejar decorationfrom the information of the relics found and res-tored coatings.27. Infographic reconstruction.28. Infographic reconstruction of one of the

pieces on a real background with the intentionof comparing and showing how much splendorhas been lost of Moorish decoration.Page 108-109. 29. Process of cleaning of one

of the 798 epigraph risers. In all of them we re-cover the text in cursive or naskhi, it repeatedlysays “The perpetual fortune” and the colors thatoriginally ornamented it. In these tablets we see,not as in the rest of the alfarje, that in the deco-ration silver leaf was not used, being freed of theirreversible harmful impact that for the conser-vation of these parts produces a gradual corro-sion of these fine metal foils.Page 109 top. 30. Two fragments of the frieze;

before the intervention (top picture) and aftercleaning (bottom picture).Page 109 bottom. 31. The frieze removed and

free of debris.32. A fragment of the alfarje (framed in green)

before fixing and cleaning.33. The paneled ceiling restored.

NOTES1 Some roofs were also intervened without

success, between the decades of the 50 to 70 ofthe twentieth century. This is the case of the Ga-llery of the Kings of the Half-orange of the Hallof the Ambassadors or the paneled ceiling cove-ring the Royal Bedroom.

2 Descripción de las obras de restauración, de pin-



walls in green walls rooms, open to the sky, uni-que in the world. As you walk these little gardens, when you

look through its gaps as you walk by you canperceive the sequence of patio, garden wall, pa-tio, garden wall... generating light, shadow, light,shadow, light, shadow... It is a depth accompa-nied by surprise and amazement when you gothrough each courtyard, each one diverse of co-lors, freshness, water sounds, aromas, reflectionsof the tiles, silence, birdsong, an architecture ofthe senses that struck the very core when youperceive everything a good garden can have, thewhole universe .Those gardens were irrigated with water from

the big reservoir in Caños de Carmona, whichwas transformed into the beautiful pond of Mer-cury, where a gargoyle pours water spectacularly,that’s why it was named El Chorrón. Historically,two big wells irrigated both big gardens.The architect Vermondo Resta, Master from

1603 to 1625, influenced with great merit in thelate-renaissance transformation of the Alcázar.In its interventions we can highlight the resha-ping of the interior face of the wall that separatedthe Bedroom garden from the Retirement garden,called Gallery of Grotesque. For its decoration hesets the arrangement of grotesque and pebbles,niches, fountains, paintings, a hydraulic organand a gallery for the view of the gardens, withcolumns and shafts and caliphate capitals. Wealso owe him the design of another stripe in theMuslim orchard, the so called Ladies Garden orNew Garden, with fountains, fronts and bankscovered with tiles. These gardens are opened,you can see them at a glance, unlike the previousenclosed gardens that surround the palaces, andthese gardens have to be toured in order to beperceived. They continued the interventions, and in

1636, they build a labyrinth in the Garden of theCross, crowned by the Mount Parnassus, whichwas adorned by mythological effigies.In the middle of the 17th century, a new pa-

vilion was built near to the Arbour of Carlos V inthe Bedroom garden: the Arbour of the Lion, su-rrounded by exuberant vegetation that forms amagnificent landscape setting, rich in volumesand coloring.Later, in the 20th century, and without stop-

ping at other stages, Alfonso XIII the king impe-lled the development of the projects of the Mar-

quess of Vega-Inclán and of the architect VicenteTraver, who planned the gardens of the other or-chards: the New gardens, in the area of the Gar-den of the Retirement, behind the wall of the Ga-llery of Grotesque, the English Garden in the areathat formerly occupied the Gardens of the Be-droom and Alcobilla and the new labyrinth nearto the arbours of Carlos V and of the Lion.The result of this evolution has been a “living

garden”, crucible of the history, which, today asit did yesterday, keeps on wrapping us with itsmysterious beauty of its winter sunrises, wrap-ped in shreds of fog and in the aromatic goldenspring sunsets.What do the gardens have? ... What are we lo-

oking anxious and blindly? We are in the charm andaspire to exhaust with our limited senses beauties en-dless possibilities. What's behind the noise of thefountain? And at the bottom of the pool? What is thehigh air feeling, rocked, gently split by the steel cam-ber of palm leaves? At the edges of the branches howlight weight? Each flower has its essence and its si-lence. What a wealth of life pure, of simple and per-fect force! Stems, moisture, juice, pollen gravid densespaces.

At the end of the walk through the gardens wewere always with lowness of spirits. There is some-thing to be kept, which fails in the depths of our ex-pectation and curious vigilance. The pure geometrythere remain, ponds with undulating skies, flowerswith his silence and trembling areas supported bystreams of water. And this melancholy? Our soul isleaning out the mysterious creation. Water spouts!Myrtle labyrinth!...1

SEVILLE’S LIGHT IN THE ROYAL ALCÁZAR GARDENSWe all know the privilege that Seville has be-

cause of its luminosity, with a very clean light.Because of its latitude, the incidence and incli-nation of the solar rays causes major light quan-tity. The ones who know Seville know that thesun is very strong, blinding and the sky veryblue, deep.This blue is produced by the dispersion in the

fluctuation of the molecules of the air2, but it isnot constant throughout the day, changing its in-tensity according to the time and day of the year.This blue contrasts with some few and smallwandering clouds that sporadically circulate.Light is life, it is a gift of nature. Shadows are

the result of light. Shadows are lack of light, ma-

Garden of Troy or of the Labyrinth. Oil ofGustavo Bacarisas. The painting masterfully re-presents the essence of these gardens: the se-quence of patio, garden wall, patio, gardenwall... generating light, shadow, light, shadow,light, shadow... It is a depth accompanied bysurprise and amazement when you go througheach courtyard, each one diverse of colors, fres-hness, water sounds, aromas, reflections of thetiles, silence, birdsong, an architecture of thesenses that struck the very core when you per-ceive everything a good garden can have, thewhole universe .

The gardens of the Real Alcázar are a compen-dium of the history of gardening, in a city likeSeville, whose weather favors the fertility ofplants and flowers, bringing forth a world oflight, color, feelings and perfumes.The gardens of the Real Alcázar, an exceptio-

nal collection, are the result of a long historicalprocess that was born in the ancient medievalgardens and that turned into exquisite gardensover time, wholly enjoyable: flowers for sightand smell, fountains and birds to the ear... al-ways accompanied by water with its whisper,freshness, reflections and motion. Everything isa generous nature offering a great spectacle ofcountless colors, where things can be infinitelysmall or infinitely big, everything is emotion.Nature is full of life, particularly in Seville,

where the climate favors high fertility in plantsand flowers, and that’s why gardening has alwayshad a great development.A brief overview of many centuries of life in

the gardens of the Real Alcázar requires a mix-ture of medieval memories with galleries, niches,renaissance busts, baroque auctions and covers,neoclassical elements,... until today. Gardening

in the Alcázar dates back to the rich landscapedcourtyards and to the transformation of the greatRoyal Garden, —Bedroom orchard, intramural,Retiro’s orchard, extramural— in the great gar-dens of the Alcazar. Until the 16th century onlythe Prince’s garden was called garden, because itwas next to the room of the Prince, close to theCatholic Monarchs’s ceiling room, they bothwere around the Courtyard of the Dolls, whichwere the oldest royal summer apartments.One of the singular performances in the gar-

dens takes place in the imperial era, when theold Muslim qubba from the Alcoba’s orchard isturned into a beautiful garden pavilion, the Ar-bor of Carlos V, placed in the middle of an orangetrees garden. The Italian traveler Andrea Nava-gero was invited to the wedding of the Emperor,and he wrote: “I can find in these gardens a forest oforange trees that is the most peaceful place in theworld”.Felipe II was passionate about architecture

and gardens; he promotes the transformation ofold Muslim orchards into modern gardens of Ita-lian mannerist influence. He started this process,but it would continue to the almost total disap-pearance of the orchards.His work began with an architectonic belt that

would surround the Gothic and Mudejar pala-ces, creating the Gardens “The Flowers”, “The ga-lley”, “Of Troy”, “Of the dance” and “Mercury”.These small dimensions gardens are all linked,this kind of gardens were created by the Italiansunder the name of “secret gardens” and theywere promoted by the humanist princes. Theyare gardens-courtyards, enclosed by tapias, as ifthey were rooms whose ceiling is heaven. Thewalls are tarnished with orange trees in trellissystem, having a volume by trimming of topia-ries, making the gardens “closed” by treating the


María Dolores RobadorDr. Architect



vironments ranging from the intensity of lighton a sunny, to the darkness of the night, makingit possible to reach an exquisite chromatic sen-sitivity in the brain, the most amazing machineof the universe5. We all know about the capacityof refinement of taste, hearing and smell, we canalso say that brain education and improvementof interpretation of sensory stimuli enriches kno-wledge and refines sense.Complementing the physical plane with the

psychological one, Goethe, in his “Theory of co-lors” expressed a great truth: “colors act on thesoul, they can cause feelings, awake emotions orideas that soothe or shake us up and they can causesadness or joy”. The experience testifies to the factthat color influences mood and feelings.This brief reference allows you to glimpse

how nature, in general, with its countless colors,produces the extraordinary with unique quali-ties. In the life of plants we perceive a quiet sen-sitivity that is harmonized with the melody ofthe garden, together with the architecture, andthat can reach the beauty with all the fullness ofhis strength.You need serenity for the extensive and in-

tense contemplation of the gardens. The humanbeing is the only one capable of stopping andbeing astonished. This way, the person with sim-ple and sensitive soul enjoys her/himself in thecontemplation of the wonder of nature of thegardens, sprouting the astonishment. The enthu-siasm follows the astonishment reaction becauseof the beauty.It is not a paralyzing astonishment. This glare,

that somehow stops us in the contemplation ofthe unexpected, the unpredictable, what is be-yond us, impressing us favorably —being per-haps object of a certain intuitive knowledge—is followed by enthusiasm liked to hope. It is notan enthusiasm that drives to the possession ofthe beauty, for us it’s enough to have “seen” it, toknow that it exists.

CHANGING SEASONSTaking into account that plants are fruit of

light, the nature in the gardens of the Real Alcá-zar of Seville, due to its brightness, displays allhis wealth in a wide variety of plants, aromasand colors so characteristic of this city. Trees,plants and flowers acquire a development andunique aspect, something fascinating in the gar-dens, patios and flower pots.

Given the story of the Alcázar joint and its ge-ographical location, its landscape has been en-riched by the contributions of plant speciesbrought from remote parts of the world since an-cient times: Middle East, the Islamic world and,of course, the first fruits of American florabrought by the discoverers: magnolias, drunkensticks6, bougainvillea, zapotes, etc. In all of themits development was favored by climate and lightof this city.That mix fills of countless colorful the spaces

of the gardens, causing a great show, where theinfinitely small and the infinitely large haveplace, able to stimulate the imagination to awa-ken our senses.The green of the leaves of the vegetation of the

gardens of the Alcázar is a joyful green, becauseof being in Seville, it slowly goes yellow. This isbecause the concentration of chlorophyll is lessneeded in the plants to catch the light than inthe zones in which the light is lower, where thegreens are, therefore, darker.The gardens, as the different seasons go by, get

full of different flowers, which transform the co-lor and smell of the space. Most of them appearin spring with the white blossoms of practicallyall the gardens, of peach trees in the garden of theLadies, of myrtle in the garden of the Prince... thesoft violet of the wisteria in the garden of the Ga-lley and the melia, the intense violet of the treeof love, the red and fuchsia of carnations of theouterwalks of the hispano-muslim gardens.The jacaranda tree that looks over the Gru-

tesco Gallery in spring is all a remarkable blueviolet flower, beautifying and creating the mostbeautiful rug when its flowers fall. And the whiteflowers of the Magnolia sprout in the garden ofthe Dance and also the yellow ones of the tipuanado.In the middle of summer the purplish pink of

the Jupiter tree prevails next to the white of thejasmines of the Arbor of Charles V, the yellow ofthe lady of night, the fuchsia diffusing to the ye-llow of the chorisia at the end of the Monteríapatio and in the Garden of the Ladies; and the red,white and pink flowers of the green oleanders,without forgetting the slender palm trees, withthe contrast of the green of their leaves withorange yellow of their dates.Throughout the year, plants and flowering flo-

wers bloom, they are of diverse and vivid colors,like the red, purple and white bougainvillea, the

king the difference between the spaces withmore or less light. In the gardens of Seville, thealternation between light and shadows is ener-getic. The intense and abundant light, the con-trast between lights and shadows of the vegeta-tion and the architectural elements is strongerthan anywhere else.With the light, the colors arise. If light didn’t

exist there would be no colors. But we have a lotof light in Seville, so we can perceive colors withmore energy and intensity. This means that, inthis city, vegetation and architecture are coveredwith strong colors.This vibrant and blinding light is also faith-

fully in accordance with the laws of physics, so,when it impacts on a surface, is reflected withgreat intensity, coloring the space on its route,especially, because of its impact on surfaces moreconducive to reflect the light, such as stucco, thejabelgas and the tiles of the fountains, the ben-ches and pavilions.But not only reflection. We know that when

the direction of propagation of light passes froma material medium to another medium it produ-ces refraction, we can see this effect in the waterof fountains and ponds.We can attribute the properties of light, bri-

lliance and splendor to the beauty itself. The be-auty has the way of being of the light, and thisway of being consists in the reflection: the lightis not only the clarity of what is illuminated; itis visible as soon as you make visible otherthings, making them visible too3.And we find all this game of light, shadows

and reflections in nature in its purest status, har-monious and perfect, it breaks out in the gar-dens of the Alcázar as a result of a constant se-arch and persistent throughout history.

FROM SUNRISE TO SUNSETThe variation of the light, from sunrise to sun-

set, transforms the gardens in a natural way, du-ring the different hours of the day, when the we-ather is different and even in different seasons ofthe year. This variation of the light becomes pro-tagonist and creator by changing the color andmaking shadows emerge. If the light is very in-tense and very direct, the shadows are strongerand greater the contrasts. Furthermore, as this de-pends on the time of day and the angle of inci-dence, the passage of time translates itself into apseudo movement that creates the feeling of life.

Light is blue at dawn, just before sunrise. Lightin the garden is warm, very yellowish and red-dish, slowly waking this world of vegetation andarchitecture up, it manifests itself in changing co-lors, appearing and disappearing in a constantgame of shadows. Thus, dawn, becomes the pre-miere of the dance of colors, which are gentlyborn when darkness goes away, making new sha-pes emerge. The reddish light of dawn that affectsthe slender palm trees trunks shares with us amore neutral light, whiter, and it also makesroom for the typical Sevillian blue sky.In the course of the day light becomes more

intense, allowing itself to focus on contempla-tion of the strength of the color of the flowers,water and reflections of the vegetation, the ar-chitecture and clouds in the ponds.Late in the afternoon, the light of Seville has

a special golden color, more contrasts are shapedin terms of color and darkness of the shadows,gradually losing strength. The gardens displayits serene beauty with flush lights.At the end of the day, the natural lights gra-

dually disappear and show some different lights,artificial ones, giving a new splendor. The gar-dens of the Alcázar are now dressed on a glamo-rous way, captivating and making new aromasof ladies of night, orange blossom and jasmineappear... The exotic protagonists of the gardensat this time are the tops of the slender palm trees,with their airy leaves and their dates.In the silence of the night, the moon fills the

gardens. The colors dance reaches majesticallyits end, waiting for a new day.

PERCEPTION AND POWER OF COLORNewton said that color is a brain perception

through the senses. The perception of color isdue to the light that reflects objects. The lightthat greets the eye from the surface of a body, af-fecting the retina, creates a colorless nerve im-pulse which stimulates the brain, according tothe wavelength of the color received, whichencrypts the information, and the sensation ofcolor appears in the mind.We are impressed by the physiology of the

human retina, where as we all know, there aretwo types of photoreceptors, cones (6-7 mi-llion), responsible for the daytime vision (visionof color and spatial definition) and rods (125 mi-llion), responsible for night vision (dark vision)4.They are able to carry out its role in lighting en-



tars of lime, in the mortars of stucco, in the ja-belgas and in the whitewashed ones, in all theplaces in which the revetments have to last. Thewhite of the lime has been dyed by the incorpo-ration of mineral pigments and its mixes, obtai-ning the countless, beautiful, stable and lumi-nous colors of the frontages, garden walls, walls,fronts and decorative elements.The luminous and unpolluted white is the

predominant color. It symbolizes and transmitsthe perfection, the calmness and the peace. Ye-llows —calamocha— and reds (and ochres) co-exist with. Yellow symbolizes the reflection, thecommunication, the calmness, the plenty andthe happiness. The red symbolizes the strength,the potency, the warmth and the energy. The pa-lette of yellow and red appears in multiple tones,contributing with vitality to the spaces.The intonation of the yellow colors of the ja-

belgas and the stuccoes balance for his contrastwith the diverse greens of the garden, becauseas it is known, a beautiful contrast takes placebetween the yellows and the greens of the plants.This harmony stems from the fact that the greenof the plants is a compound color containing ye-llow pigments. So, the revetments of stucco andjabelgas, which are predominantly yellow, softlymelting the architecture with the garden, appe-aring in the subconscious of the observer as thequite harmonious one. This would not havebeen possible with a stronger, more cutting co-lor, it would had created a rupture in the spacebetween the garden and the frontages or the ar-chitectural elements.We can also take into account that the revet-

ments of stucco are alive, they are named likethis because simultaneously that the light ischanging also its luminosity changes, we can ob-serve different tones throughout the day accor-ding to the sunlight. The change of his aspectand luminosity throughout the day combineswith the life of the garden, which also changesaccording to the hours, according to the lightthat it receives. In this similarity, the vegetationand the stucco resemble.The contrast of tones and colors harmonizes

the architecture and the gardening.

THE ALBEROThis clay mixed with sand and rests of small

calcareous fossils dyed with the mineral of irongoethita in ferrous state, which contributes to his

yellow typical color, almost only abundantly inSeville, covers the ways of some gardens. The al-bero collaborates in the beauty of the gardens,bringing together perfectly with the green of theplants. As in the harmonious combination of thestucco and the jabelga of yellow color with thevegetation, it happens with the yellow one of thealbero.It is well known that the green color of the

chlorophyll of the plants is accompanied by thexantofila, whose hidden color is yellow; it is sothe yellow one of the xantofila the setting withthe yellow one of the albero. There is no a sud-den jump of the green to the yellow one, but aharmonic and soft transition.And all this beauty culminates when, as we

lift the sight, we perceive the deep and cleanblue sky of Seville. Contemplating the gardens,the aroma of the art is perceived and we can ap-preciate the good practice of so many men in thearchitecture and in the gardening of the Real Al-cázar along the history. Touched by so much be-auty, we admire the gardens that we have to pre-serve and to take care of, for the enjoyment ofthe future generations.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTMy particularly warm remembrance for D.

Miguel Méndez Cuesta +, genius of the Color. Iwould like also to stress my gratitude to my te-achers D. Rafael Manzano and D. Vicente Lleó,to the outstanding connoisseur of the buildingD. José María Cabeza, to D. Benito Valdés, Pro-fessor of Botany, to the collaboration of D. Cán-dido Valiente, D. Manuel Alcalde, Dña YolandaOrtega, D. Antonio Albardonedo y Dña Almu-dena Muñoz. My gratitude also to all the garde-ners of the Real Alcázar who take care with ca-ress of this gardens and to all those who takepart in their attention. My sincere gratitude toD. Jacinto Pérez Elliott, the Director of the RealAlcázar and to Dña Pilar Luengo, for the interestand great dedication with which they continuetaking care of the Reales Alcázares.

BIBLIOGRAPHYBOSCH, Magdalena. "Belleza en el arte y en

la naturaleza. La aperente discrepancia entre He-gel y Schelling" , Contrastes, 15, 281-289. Bar-celona, 2010,DE LOS RÍOS, Gregorio. Agricultura de Jar-

blue jasmine, the red of the small sevillian roses,and the lantana with its yellow flowers, whiteflowers, and the red and yellow ones.Trees give landscape the dominant note of

green color of the leaves with a very wide rangeof shades. Evergreen trees basically remain thesame color throughout the year, as we can see inall orange trees, but there is usually a variationwhen the spring buds appear, usually in toneclearer, and there are species whose leaveschange color in winter.Deciduous trees usually produce seasonal

chromatic variations before leaf drop in the fall:this way, leaves become ochre or yellow, as hap-pens to the fresno and the Ginkgo biloba in a verybeautiful and striking yellow that transforms theEnglish garden. In this same garden leaf color va-riation comes to red in arces, Acer pseudoplata-nos. Therefore, it is especially in the English gar-den where the colors of autumn can be appre-ciated, illuminated by daylight between their po-werful glasses.Few gardens can have this variety of colors

because of their flowers. We can’t forget thegreen leaves of the orange trees tops, amongwhich is the orange color of its oranges in almostall the courtyards and gardens of the Alcázar.Nature, in general, produces the extraordinarywith unique qualities.This amount of light, flowers and aromas is

an enjoyment in the conscious and the subcons-cious of the Sevillians that were born in the cityand the ones adopted by it, they all enjoy themand frequently awakens the senses of visitors.

ARCHITECTURE ELEMENTSThe gardens were designed inextricably toge-

ther with the architecture. So it was in the closedgardens bounded by façades, walls and orna-mental elements like in the open gardens withthe entire repertoire of architectural elements:covers, halls, galleries, benches, auctions, pave-ments, etc.The wealth of shapes, colors and textures is

superb, producing a constant dialogue with thenature of the gardens.Other constant that becomes nuclear is the

question of the materials with which the archi-tectural elements are faced, emphasizing amongthem ceramics, in the form of mud and tile, thegrout in the whitewashed, stuccoes and jabelgas,the stone and the albero.

CERAMICSThe ceramic material is presented to us from

the modesty of the clay tiles of the floor of theplatforms of the gardens to the maximum beautyof the tiles.The simplicity of the clay floors of the Alcázar

in union with the miyrtle is described by Sorollain a letter to his wife, Clotilde: “You would likethis, because you never step on the ground, every-thing is tiled with interspersed tiles, everything fen-ced with myrtle, giving a nice poetic note”7.The humble brick is dignified by covering it

with enamel. We can find in the glazed, thechromatic variety of enamels, providing infinitecolors on its surface and in its reflection whenthe light strikes them.Sorolla refers to the tiles of the banks, all joi-

ned to the light, the color of the flowers, the aro-mas, a perception of the garden that includes allthe senses: “... what roses, their bower, ponds, ben-ches of tiles, magnificent trees, everything smells oforange blossom, everything is warmed by a shinyambience of life, joy of sun, oh my Clotilde, I’m sorryyou can’t enjoy this beautiful moment of life. Sevilleis now a beauty...”The remaining tiles also are perceived some-

times as elements interlaced with the vegetation.The decoration rests in a rigorous geometry andin the abstraction. We can highlight the haughty tiles of the Re-

naissance pavilion of the Arbor of Carlos V, ofprecise metrics and pure proportions, in whichthe multiple reflexes of colored light glisten. Inthe bank that surrounds it, completely tiled, thecolors fade away with the elements of the gar-den, giving the sensation of a pendent building,under which one we can find a garden. The tastefor the small thing and for the detail is presentin the materials, harmonizing with the small ofthe vegetable elements.

THE LIMEThe noble lime, essence of Andalusia, gene-

rates a suggestion of purity, of naturalness; it isa virgin page. Sorolla refers to the white walls ofthe Alcázar in the following letter: “My darling:beautiful day today, splendid of light, saturated oforange blossoms, the roofs are bursting of flowers,the white walls on the blue sky are a delight. Withthe whole soul I am sorry that you can’t enjoy it,everything is exploding...”8.The lime appears in the gardens in the mor-



and reflections produce a painterly effect of con-tinuity, melting the pavilion and the garden in aharmonious dialogue.Fig. 28. La Alberca, Alcázar de Sevilla. Joa-

quín Sorolla. 1910. Painted between January, 20and mid-February, 1910. The treatment of thelight reflections on the still surface of the water,in a calm and serene vision along with the variedcolors of the vegetation of the Garden of the Flo-wers stands out on the canvas.Fig. 29. Fountain of The Alcázar de Sevilla.

Joaquín Sorolla. Fig. 30. Citrus aurantium.Fig. 31. There is harmony between the archi-

tecture and the garden because the green of theplants is a composite color which contains ye-llow pigments. The yellow coating of stuccoconnects gently with it, melting the architecturewith the garden, appearing in the subconsciousof the observer as a harmonious whole.Fig. 32. Garden of the Poets. The albero,

(chalky sand) with its typical yellow color, givesmore luminosity to the gardens, harmonizingvery well with the green of the vegetation.

NOTES1 ROMERO MURUBE, J. Sevilla en los labios.

Biblioteca Hispalense. Ediciones Libanó. Sevilla2001. P. 72-73.

2 ZAMORA, M. “La dispersión de la luz por lamateria”. Foro científico “Aula Magna”. Web fa-cultad de Física de la Universidad de Sevilla.Fluctuation: local and transitory displacementof the equilibrium state of the whole system.Dispersion: alteration of the spatial or angulardistribution of physical entities, caused by chan-ges in the environment in which they are locatedor spread.

3 GADAMER, H. G. Verdad y Método. Tr.: AnaAgud Aparicio y Rafael de Agapito (Wahrheitund Methode). Salamanca, 1977. pág. 576.

4 HUBEL, David H. Eye, Brain and Vision. Har-vard. Cfr. HECHT, Eugene, Optics. 2nd Ed, Ad-dison Wesley, 1987.

5 Many psychologists and neurologists qualifythe brain in this way. It is surprising to think tha-t's in charge of the ship and it has all the powerof decision in the management of automatedprocesses and discretionary and conscious pro-cesses.

6 Chorisia speciosa.

7 Letter of Joaquín Sorolla in Seville to Clotildein Madrid, written on February 4, 1908.

8 Letter of Sorolla to Clotilde from Seville,April 6, 1914.

dines. Reproducción facsimilar de un ejemplarde la edición de 1620 que se conserva en el RealJardín Botánico. Consejo Superior de Investiga-ción Científicas. Área de Medio Ambiente delAyuntamiento de Madrid. Ed. Tabapress. Ma-drid, 1991.GADAMER, H. G. Verdad y Método. Tr.: Ana

Agud Aparicio y Rafael de Agapito (Wahrheitund Methode). Salamanca, 1977. pág. 576.GESTOSO SÁNCHEZ, J. Sevilla monumental

y artística. Sevilla, 1889.HECHT, Eugene, Optics. 2nd Ed, Addison

Wesley, 1987.HUBEL, David H. Eye, Brain and Vision. Har-

vard.LLEÓ CAÑAL, Vicente. El Real Alcázar de Se-

villa. Patronato del Real Alcázar. Ed. Lunwerg.Madrid, 2002.MANZANO MARTOS, R. Reales Alcázares, en

la revista Reales Sitios, nº extraordinario. Ma-drid, 1976.MANZANO MARTOS, R. “El Alcázar de Se-

villa, los palacios almohades”. En El último siglode la Sevilla islámica. Sevilla, 1996.MARÍN FIDALGO, A. El Alcázar de Sevilla

bajo los Austrias. Sevilla, 1990.PONS-SOROLLA, Blanca. Joaquín Sorolla.

Vida y Obra. Ed. Fundación de apoyo a la His-toria del Arte Hispánico. Madrid, 2001.ROMERO MURUBE, J. Sevilla en los labios.

Ed. Biblioteca Hispalense. Sevilla 2001.ZAMORA, M. “La dispersión de la luz por la

materia”. Foro científico “Aula Magna”. Web fa-cultad de Física de la Universidad de Sevilla.

ILLUSTRATIONSFig 2. Gypsum Patio. Oil, García y Rodríguez.

SevillE. 1918Fig. 3. Gathering in the Arbor of Carlos V. Oil

of García y Rodríguez. Seville, 1905. The coloursof the tiles of the banks can be merged with theones of the garden by increasing the light effectof the pavilion under which the garden runs.Fig. 4. Arbor of Carlos V. In the background,

the Arbor of the Lion. Oil of García y Rodríguez.Seville, 1923. The taste for small, the detail, va-riety of colors in the flowers pots, in the vegeta-tion and tiles, with multiple reflections make usperceive an aesthetic message of perfection.Fig. 5. Map of Olavide. 1771. You can see the

old orchards of the la Alcoba and Retiro.

Fig. 6. A. Guesdon. Aerial view of Seville withthe Real Alcázar and its gardens. 1852-1865.Fig 7. Jean Laurent (1868-1872). Introduc-

tion of palm trees in the Garden of Las Damasin Renaissance flower beds with heraldic motifs.Fig 8. General plane of the Real Alcázar and

its gardensFig. 9. On March 30, 1918, Sorolla writes to

his wife, Clotilde, from the Gardens of the Alca-zar: “I have begun a study of a rosebush so beautifulthat I wanted to eat it, what a color... it is a pity thatis a small note the one that I have painted and espe-cially that I had not seen it until to today”.Fig. 10. The Garden of Las Damas.Fig. 11. Arbor of Carlos V.Fig.12. Mercury Pond. Fig. 13. Garden of Las DamasFig. 14. The water accompanies with its fres-

hness, sound, movement, reflections and calm.Fig. 15. The Gardens with the Giralda tower

in the background.Fig 16. The Garden of Las Damas seen from

the Garden of La Danza.Fig. 17. Magnolia grandiflora.Fig. 18. Chorisia speciosa.Fig. 19. Garden of La Danza. In spring the

greatest variety of flowers gradually appears, em-phasizing the white flowers of the peach trees. Fig. 20. Garden of the Flowers. Iris germanica

and Acanthus molle with ceramics of the pond inthe background.Fig. 21. Gallery of the Garden of La Galera in

the summer. The wisteria of the garden sifts thelight in infinite tones because of its greatstrength, lowering the ambient temperature.Fig. 22. Garden of Las Damas and Grutesco

Gallery.Fig. 23. Gallery of the Garden of La Galera in

spring. The glicinia, Wisteria sinensis, which co-vers the gallery in spring, is sifting the light withits flowers and intoxicating with its scent.Fig. 24. English garden.Fig. 25. The image of the peacock showing its

stateliness and coloring in the gardens.Fig. 26 Jets. Water is the protagonist.Fig. 27. Arbor of Carlos V. Magistral garden

pavilion, where white outer volume, on slendercolumns, contrasts with the interior volume, andrichly tiled bench. The reflections of the ceramiclining the inner body harmoniously spread inthe garden by the luminosity and depth that gi-ves them their color. Multiple points of colors



Italian way, for which he was charging 10 ma-ravedíes every piece. If this panel had been exe-cuted with this novel skill, it would have beencomposed by 500 tiles. Translated in dimen-sions and forming a rectangle in vertical posi-tion, it would give a width of approximately twometers for more than four of height. Such a sizemust not surprise too much since we know thatin Castile, at the end of the Middle Age, anenormous leading role was granted to the he-raldic emblems in the ornamental programs ofthe stately buildings. But another possibility ofinterpretation of this high price might be thatthe above-mentioned coat of arms had not beenpainted on plated tile but done with any othermore expensive technique, for example, ename-lled terracotta relief. In fact, the same year, Ni-culoso had executed a few coats of arms withreligious emblems, supported by angels, for thefront of the church of Santa Paula monastery.Perhaps for this reason the work is describedlike “varro vedriado con sus leones vedriados esu águila e corona”, (glaced clay with its glacedlions and its eagle and crown), expressions thatindicate flat tiles were made with paintbrush.We do not know if, as that monastic complex,also this one of the Alcázar would have identicalparts imitating golden reflexes, which wouldhave justified an increase of the price of thework.We do not know if in the Real Alcázar there

was a coat of arms of the Catholic Monarchsmade in terracotta. It seems that there was onepainted with the technical tradition called“cuerda seca”. Its two top quarters survive in theInstitute Valencia de Don Juan, in Madrid, an-cient Osma Collection (Figures 1 and 2). Ges-toso writes in 1903 the following: “Mr. Osma hasin his rich collection two notable 0,44 high pla-ques, which must have been a part of anotherbig royal coat of arms of the Catholic Monarchs,on the basis of its heraldic character, represen-ting the kingdoms of Castile and Leon in one ofthose, and those of Aragon and Sicily in theother. We suspect that they come from the Alcá-zar of this city, where they were found betweendebris and it is a shame that a slightly carefulhand had destroyed other parts of the blazonthat should have offered a beautiful set and onlythe mentioned quarters remains, saved from itssure loss by the intelligent diligence of Mr.Osma”3.

We can imagine that the shield, from whichthese fragments come, could have been compo-sed by a central field painted with the “cuerdaseca” technique and a frame, perhaps of shapedand enameling relief, which would not have sur-vived. Since these two pieces might be dated in1504 because of the technique and style, thereis a very strong temptation to identify these frag-ments with the shield paid to Niculoso on thisdate. But we must eliminate this hypothesis forseveral reasons; among others, because thiswould require linking the Italian painter withworks painted with old “cuerda seca” technique,which would open the door to other specula-tions we leave for a later occasion. Moreover, weshould not forget two evidences, a documentaryone and a material one. First of all, in 1504 theofficial supplier of the Alcázar was an elderly ce-ramist with more medieval skills than Niculoso,he was called Fernán Martínez Guijarro, whodied in 1509. Probably he mastered the old tech-nique with a more medievalizing painterly stylethan Niculoso. The material testimony refers tothe Catholic Monarchs coat of arms, now part ofthe municipal collections deposited in the Mu-seo de Artes y Costumbres Populares of Sevilleand was originally located on the door of the Al-hóndiga del Grano in the city, built in 1504 byroyal command. This work was painted by anunknown potter who worked in the same styleas Osma collection plaques show (Fig. 3).In that prodigious year, 1504, Niculoso ca-

rried out another major commission: paintingthe altarpieces for the oratories of the King andQueen in the Moorish palace of the Alcázar. Thespecific circumstances of this request are entirelyunknown. Neither the contract nor paymentshave been preserved, but we can easily imaginethat the new ideas about painting potterybrought by Niculoso soon would capture the at-tention of monarchs, encouraging them to applyfor their services.Ceán Bermúdez calls Niculoso painter of the

Catholic Kings in his dictionary of artists, pu-blished in 1800. Although he really was, consi-dering the pictorial work executed for them,there is no documentary evidence of holding anoffice title4. We have already mentioned that only the al-

tarpiece dedicated to the Visitation of the Virginto St. Elizabeth persists today, the one made forthe king disappeared in the 19th century. We


oratory of Isabel I of Castilla, and other for Fer-nando II of Aragón. Of these three works onlyone of them has survived, and it is necessary toexplore the sad destination of the other two thatdisappeared and to speculate about the appro-ximate aspect and the historical significance ofboth of them.

1.- ROYAL COAT OF ARMS FOR THE ALCÁZARWe know of its existence thanks to documen-

tary news regarding the last payment, in 1504,of a royal coat of arms destined to be placed insome place of the fortress: “dos mil e quinientosmaravedis que se pagaron a Francisco Niculoso,a complimiento de 5000 maravedis que ovo deaver de un escudo de armas de varro bedriado,con sus leones vedriados e su aguila e corona”2

(“two thousand five hundred maravedíes thatwere paid to Francisco Niculoso, to repaid the5000 maravedis for a glaced clay royal coat ofarms, with its lions and its eagle and crown”).Before receiving 2500 maravedíes, the artist

would have perceived another similar number,the first half of the 5000 maravedíes of the entireprice, probably when the order was done to himearlier. The document indicates also the matterof the work: the arms of The Catholic Monarchs,who were occupying the throne of Spain andwere promoting important works in his Sevillianpalace. Nothing is indicated about the place ofthe set and there is scarcely suggested the tech-nique in which it had been executed.But the showiest of this information is the

high price of the work, which forces us to lookfor some justification. Let’s think that the mostexpensive tiles that the artist was making weremade with paintbrush of varied colors in the

The Real Alcázar is a monumental extraordi-nary set in many aspects; one of them is the his-torical and aesthetic value of its ceramic revet-ments. From tiled sets of the 14th century thatline the baseboards of the Court of the Maidens,up to the historicist ceramics of the 19th and20th centuries, the dense story of its tiles cons-titutes today both a fertile perspective of lectureof the building and a synthesis of the evolutionof the Sevillian ceramics, integrating some of itsmost excellent milestones.In this long and dense story of which we have

numerous documentary and material evidencesleft, there is a ceramist whose performance stoodout for the quality and the innovation of his con-tributions: Niculoso Francisco, called by his ori-gin, the Pisano1. He did some works for the Al-cázar, for the ovens of the Purity street, and hehas a well known one which amazes local andforeign visitors, profane observers and interna-tional specialists: The Altarpiece of the Visitación,painted in 1504 for the chapel of the Queeb Isa-bel the Catholic. But, with independence of thisrenowned work, the task that Niculoso develo-ped for this old royal palace was more extensivealthough today it is not practically known to thegeneral public. For this reason, I consider ofsome informative interest to announce it so thatwe are conscious not only of the real scope ofthe work of this Italian artist who chose Sevilleto practice his art but also to reflect on the scarceattention —and even I would dare to write, theunconscious contempt— of which his work hasbeen object in some not too remote periods ofour local history.For different sources, we know that in 1504

Niculoso did, at least, three important sets of ti-les: a big royal coat of arms, the altarpiece for the


Alfonso Pleguezuelo

University of Seville



might think that both were always in sight, butsome letters between Antonio Ponz, Franciscode Bruna and Count of Águila make us thinkthat in a moment that we can not know, theywere hidden by some renovation work, and atthe end of the 18th century they were “redisco-vered”, we do not know exactly what extent norunder what circumstances. The truth is that thelast of these characters says to Ponz, in its 6thletter from Seville, with regard to this draft textprepared for Volume IX of his Viage de España,the following: “We should add to the description ofthe Alcázar... the discovery of the private oratory ofthe Catholic Kings...”. The two scholars, collectorsand sevillian bibliophiles Miguel de EspinosaMaldonado y Tello de Guzmán (1715-1784), IIConde del Águila y Francisco de Bruna (1719-1807), Teniente de Alcaide del Alcázar, shouldhave spoken to Ponz about these works. It is theonly way that would explain the response ofPonz in his letter of June 22, 1781: “Mr. Brunawrote to me about oratories that have been found inthe Alcázar of the time of the Catholic Kings.”5. Wedo not know why Ponz did not include in hisbook the reference facilitated by his sevillian in-formers and the new turns out to be enigmaticfor several reasons. First, for revealing to us anunknown hiding phase in the story of theseworks, and secondly, because of the confusionof the two paragraphs as the Count of Águilaspeaks of “oratory” while Ponz, perhaps misin-terpreting the information, writes in plural about“oratories”.

2.- ALTARPIECE FOR THE CHAPEL OF THE QUEENSince the Catholic Queen dies precisely in

1504 in Medina del Campo, she never knew thealtarpiece was made for her. The work can beseen as ambitious, as its royal destination, al-though it has a modest size, suitable to the smallspace where it is located6. It has the merit of ha-ving been a pioneer since no ceramic altarpiecepainting was known either in Spain or in Italyuntil then, with the exception of glazed terra-cotta workshop of Luca della Robbia, who pro-bably Niculoso knew. The creation of this workwas possible because of the convergence of twofactors: a devoted queen that really liked pain-ting and a “painter of imagery,” —as painters of“fine brush” were called—. In addition, he wasa connoisseur of the innovative polychrome pot-

tery painting techniques, learned in his nativeItaly7. As a good modern painter, he signs hiswork on a parchment-shaped cartouche with thetext “NICULOSO FRANCISCO ITALIANO MEFECIT” and the date in another tabula ansatabracket in which we read “ANNO OF MILCCCCC IIII” (1504 ).The analysis of this work testifies the extent

to the art of painting in Seville, in the early six-teenth century, was a successful mix between theremains of a nordic figurative tradition —sup-ported by the presence in the city of numerousFlemish and German— and new ornamentallanguage that came from Italy to Seville around1500, precisely with the ceramics of Niculoso,before Domenico Fancelli marbles arrived or in-directly came from Castile with the Diego deRiaño architecture. A single oil painter in Sevillerivaled Niculoso in the new figurative culture,but not in the realm of ceramics: Alejo Fernán-dez, who, surely would have been appointed topaint the altarpieces of the kings if the orderedwoul not have preferred an innovative and mo-dern technique. It may not be useless, therefore,going into the the comment of this pictorial al-tarpiece in view of this double language, Gothicand Renaissance. We cannot forget that Niculosowas educated in an Italian ambient with big nor-therly influence, derived from the enormousscope of the work that German printers’ pione-ers also exerted on the art of those lands. Let’s start by commenting that this altarpiece’s

tiles line the back wall of the tiny oratory, a nichesurmounted by basket arch (Fig. 4). The usualpattern of “batea” was discouraged because ofnot being able to have a large blank wall to ex-tend it. The central scene is at the backgroundof the niche, surrounded by a mouth of classicalroots, limited by a fringe depicting the Tree ofJesse. The arch and the two side pillars flankingthis gap are also lined with tiles depicting gro-tesque’s decorations. This set is interrupted at itsbottom by the altar table, coming on the the bot-tom plane and topped laterally with diagonalplanes. On its front, classic ornamental motifsare unfolded, a medallion with the scene of theAnnunciation, and on its flanks, a curved tie or-nament. These floorplans serve as support for afigurative decoration with a considerable aesthe-tic and symbolic complexity.To anyone familiar with the Italian and the

Nordic art, the vision of this altarpiece is a cu-

rious fusion experience as it shows elements de-signed with both styles. First, the scene of theVisitation and the Tree of Jesse. Furthermore, themouthpiece of that scene, the lining of the arc,the two side pillars surrounding the tree aboveand the front of the altar table. The first twomight be painted by an artist trained in Flandersor in Lower Germany. The other might havebeen painted by an artist trained in Rome or Flo-rence. However, they all are made by the sameindividual8. There could be several reasons forthis apparent stylistic dichotomy, behind whichcould be both preferences who made the entrus-tment and the formation of the artist. Niculosoin Italy might have been mainly an ornamentist.In the main scene, the choice of subject, the

Visitation of Mary to St. Elizabeth, was logicalsince the Queen of Castile was named after thecousin of the Virgin. The medieval custom toprofess a special devotion to the saint who sha-red baptismal name is known to all (Fig. 5). Themeeting seems to take place in a natural settingon the shores of a river on whose banks archi-tectures of Roman appearance rise, from them,a strange bridge of three arches leads to a towerthat goes into the water without crossing the ri-ver. In the background you can see five tiny bo-ats and the banks are crowded by lush trees androcks cliffs covered by green meadows.On the right we can see the old lady Elizabeth

and her husband, and the prophet Zechariah,showing in his oriental headdress an ostenta-tious cartela with his name (Fig. 6). Another per-sonage appears behind, protecting his face withhis right hand. He also wears a large turban anda cloak of ermine covering his shoulders. Twoyoung ladies dressed in flashy and sumptuouscostumes and beadworks are next to these cha-racters. On the left, Mary and Joseph are appro-aching, followed by a lady and a gentleman ofunknown identity (Fig. 7). The five figures seemto belong to the highest social rank because oftheir sophisticated costumes, rich fabrics, andluxury accessories. It would seem that some ofthem are of royal blood, if we consider the er-mine pelts that complete her outfit. Are theymembers of the royal family?The concrete interpretation of this subject

should not have been invented by Niculoso, asit was usually, among the painters of the time. Itmay have been taken from a picture or a lightedpage from some book of hours. Frothingham

suggested that such an iconographic sourcemight have been a work published in Paris byThielman Kerver9. However, we could not findany illustrations that might match with the scenealtarpiece so we must be satisfied, for the mo-ment, thinking generically of a Nordic source.Niculoso’s paints show in any case a German airevident in his characters with oval faces andclenched expressions, in the case of young peo-ple, and wrinkled skin in the elderly when wecompared them with those gentle, smooth andApollonian faces of Quattrocento Italian pain-ting.Facing the human chain made by these nine

characters there is a sort of theatrical mouth thatconsists of two pillars on pedestals supporting asimple and dismished basket arch. The Germanenvironment of the scene contrasts sharply withthe Roman tone of the frame that contains it.The bottom corners of the pedestals are protec-ted with winged sphinxes and the fronts of thepilasters are decorated with grotesques, symme-trically organized in chandeliers in which strungmasks, buds, gussets, pearl necklaces, cranesand horns are strung. On the extrados of thearch, two little angels encircle their waist with alaurel wreath and they tight with their hands atape of a mallet hanging fruit.But a new aesthetic contrast arises between

this framework and the broad band around it.Niculoso represented one of his favorite themes:the Tree of Jesse, or the temporal genealogy ofChrist, a common theme in medieval art thatwent out of fashion during the Renaissance.Jesse, with melancholy face, appears lying, gus-hing from his chest a stock that is divided intotwo branches that ascend on both sides, formingflowered volutes. Kings of Judah spring fromthem. Branches meet on the highest point,where the image of the Virgin Mary with theChild in her arms appears as a finish of the line-age (Fig. 16). It is impossible at this time to spe-cify the recorded source that could inspire Ni-culoso, although this composition is also likelyto be Norse. Gestoso and some other later au-thor suggested that this source could be the Nu-remberg Chronicle of 1495. After observing thiswork, we have only been able to verify that apicture with this theme appears, but interpretedcompletely differently10.Whatever the origin ofits composition was, for which Niculoso couldkeep an eye on numerous examples, given the



frequency of his performance in the late 15thcentury, our painter shows here that is an exce-llent portraitist. Viewed up close, the faces andexpressions denote physiognomic traits of themost varied (Fig. 9).The bust of the Virgin Mary that tops the tree

holds in her arms her son Jesus, while resting ona crescent moon, which is a clear allusion to thesubject of the Immaculate Conception. The cen-tral scene is linked Mary’s cousin to Queen Eli-zabeth. His unfortunate son, Crown Prince John,who had died prematurely, is also related to thechild that St. Elizabeth had at that time still inher womb: San Juan Bautista, this is a curiousaccidental. Meanwhile, the royal family of Mary,evidenced by the Kings of Judah, established anew relationship with the Catholic Queen. Ac-cording to this genealogy, Christ himself was adescendant of kings. Was the intention of reaf-firming the divine origin of a monarchy underthe rule of Fernando and Isabel hidden? The ro-yalty was experiencing a spectacular strengthe-ning against other levels of the nobility11. Returning to matters of style, if we look at the

elements that surround the Tree of Jesse, we en-ter into a very different level when we see figu-rative decorations of grotesques that gain promi-nence in this work. We have already mentionedhow these motifs decorate the pilasters of thefrontispiece of the central scene, incomplete tobe cut on its axis. They acquire, however, amuch more full lining of the intrados and extra-dos of the arch, in the side nose tongs, in frontof the pillars that host this central scene and alsoin front of the altar.These grotesques and similar motifs seen on

the front of Santa Paula are not only the earliestexamples of the genre in the work of Niculosobut also in Renaissance Seville. The candelieri ofthe pillars may have been directly inspired byItalian prints, as shown the same type of axialsymmetry and relative restraint in the design oftheir motives. It is risky to mention a particularengraver, although large scale treatment of thevolutes could indicate some link with the workof Zoan Andrea, as some author has noted12. Themost similar grotesques that I have been able torecognize are those designed by Pinturicchio(1454-1513) in some of his works, which sug-gested that Niculoso had contacts with his circlein his first biographical stage.Some of the motifs that are strung together in

these chandeliers are part of the generic reper-toire derivative from Antiquity: bucranios, thea-ter masks, cartelas with SPQR, fauns that makehunting horns sound, goats, little geniuses pla-ying violas or wielding maces hitting the ani-mals, winged dragons or jars with shaped han-dles of dolphins. However there are also otherless conventional motifs whose inclusion arecommunicative intentions regarding the beliefsof who made the request. The allegorical figuresnext to the arch imposts are offering more inte-rest although the interpretation of its meaning isnot entirely clear.The left one is a memento mori, that is, an alle-

gory of the awareness of death: “Remember youmust die”, personified by a child leaningthoughtfully on a skull (Fig. 10). This theme, ofclassic roots, joined Renaissance art during the15th century and, combined with beliefs ofChristianity, became a recurring motif in orato-ries and especially in sepulchres. In fact, Nicu-loso uses the allegory in this altarpiece and do itagain years later on tiles for the burial sent toFlores de Ávila (Ávila). Frothingham derives theinterpretation from a woodcut, based on a medalstruck by the Venetian sculptor Giovanni Bolduin 1458; he says it was mostly used in the pra-yers for the Office of the Dead that appear in thesixteenth century Books of Hours13. The designof the anatomy of the child is from Renaissance,unlike the German air of the Infant Jesus heldby the Virgin in the Tree of Jesse and the two an-gels, placed on the scene of the Visitation, withoverly lengthened and muscled torsos.The other allegorical figure, opposite to the

arch, is a beautiful horse wearing a pearl nec-klace. Frothingham interpreted this figure as aunicorn, despite the lack of frontal horn (Fig.11). As is well known, the unicorn is a mythicalanimal well known in medieval art as a symbolof the purity of the Virgin, which is why it wouldhave been really appropriate in this altarpiece.On the contrary, Lleó y Morales suggest that theanimal represents the lustful love what, in con-junction with the memento mori, could form thecommon dichotomy that is set in humanist thin-king between Eros (Love) and Thanatos (Death).However, such a pagan metaphor in the oratoryof Isabel the Catholic would be surprising14. Re-gardless of its symbolic discussed value, thehorse painted by Niculoso is an elegant interpre-tation of this animal and a new testimony of his

skill as ornamentist. The emblems of the Catho-lic Monarchs are below these allegorical figures:the yoke of Ferdinand, the bundle of arrows ofIsabel and the motto TANTO MONTA.The other element, inserted between the gro-

tesque and registered in a classic laurel wreathplaced on the keystone of the arch over thescene of the Visitation, is the cloth of Veronica(“vera icona” or true image of Christ’s face),constituting not just another focal point of thealtar but also a correspondence with anothercrown of the same type, framing below the An-nunciation of the altar table (Fig. 12). We haveto highlight both the choice of this motif of me-aning “passionist” in an altarpiece “glorious”and the original fact that the face of Christ is fra-med by a classic mythical laurel crown of Apolloand, above all, this crown appears flanked bytwo cornucopias, pagan symbol of abundance,and two mythical dolphins with ostentatiousdentures, spiteful expressions and tails of sca-les.The frontal altar shows a similar apparent in-

consistency in terms of “decorum” with a centralscene of the Annunciation of the angel Gabrielto Mary, entered in a laurel wreath and flankedby large grotesque sphinxes, with scaly tails, thatare tenantes heralds of the crown and placed un-der two shields showing Gothic initials of thenames of the kings “F” and “Y”, written overshields shaped in “testa di cavallo”, of clear Ita-lian origin (Fig. 13). These striking figures playan important role in the overall composition ofthe altarpiece as focus of attention on the centralarea and pointing with the direction of their tor-ches to the figures of the Virgin and Santa Isabel.Three shields make us remember that it is a royalcommission: in the center, the arms of the king-doms of the Spanish monarchy and in the sideend, again, personal emblems of kings: the yokeand the bundle of arrows.On the other hand, the central scene of the

Annunciation and its figures are a very Nordic-looking, but here Niculoso also has sought toplace them in a box of Renaissance conical pers-pective scenic, constructed of resources such asroof beams, arranged in fan the checkerboardfloor and ashlar walls. We have to admit that theencounters of such items are resolved with anawkwardness difficult to explain while the facesand hands of the characters are carefully repre-sented15.

The design of this altar table reflects a linkwith the textile world, both in front and on theirflanks and their tabletop, because it could be un-derstood in its entirety as the ceramic version ofa base fabric. The front reminds us to enhance-ment embroideryworks and golden hue point of co-lors, works of our Renaissance. Its upper edgeshows a fringe of colored thread of blue, greenand purple, designed as a cloth covering the ta-ble with a source of great interest and coatingthe sides of it (Fig. 14). It is a curvy loop thatmimics blue cords forming two types of recordsheld by floral motifs, featured over plain back-ground of colors of green, ocher orange and pur-ple. Despite being an interlace ornamentation,these are not arising from Mudejar local art —straight and broken loop— but from “arabes-que” repertoire, which also pervades Italian artin the 15th century. Niculoso repeated the samepattern in the manufactured ridge tiles and sentto Rome for papal stays pavements of Leo X Me-dici in Castel Sant’Angelo. All these tiles, unlikethe altarpiece and the front of the table, are small(13 x 13 cms). Would this oratorio have a tiledplinth now lost, composed of tiles of this type?Tiles of this altar table show two different bat-ches in their execution. The most noticeable dif-ference is the type of green used in differentparts. The top of the altar and the fringe of sideflanks in contact with the back wall are the lightgreen formed by the mixture of blue and yellow,while the rest of the sides used the most com-mon sea-green made with copper oxide. It seemsthat there were more tiles with this pattern, be-cause of the presence of some of them in privatecollections.

3. THE ALTARPIECE FOR THE ORATORY OF THE KINGThe altarpiece made for the king was not very

lucky. The first news of its existence is owed toCeán Bermúdez and the detail of greatest interestis the brief description of their iconography, sig-nature and date. The author describes it as fo-llows: “Y el otro figura tres asuntos de la vida denuestra Señora, la santísima Trinidad coronándolay abaxo los dos S. Juanes, y tiene también esta firma.Nicolaso (probablemente una lectura errónea de Ni-culaso) Pisan me fecit anno de 1504”16. It is clearthat the work was done at the same time as theshield and the altarpiece of the queen. The sig-nature of the painter also includes at this early



date the gentilicio Pisano. That was the name hewas known of, from the beginning, and hewould use it sometimes as his own signature, ashe did the same year on the front cover of theMonastery of Santa Paula17. Secondly, it is note-worthy the greater iconographic complexity ofthis altarpiece respect the one done for thequeen, which had at least the six referred re-cords.It is unfortunate that these architectural refe-

rences of the oratory are lost. Apparently, it waslocated on the ground floor of the palace of KingPedro, specifically in the room called Hall withthe ceiling of Carlos V, located at the eastern end,where today the bedroom is placed.I do not know if the more iconographics com-

plex it had, the bigger it was. The room, afterbeing the scene of the mess of betrothal of theemperor Carlos I with Isabel de Portugal, had tosuffer considerable works to settle his splendidRenaissance coffered in 1542.I do not know at what point the dismantling

and dispersal of its tiles were produced. I canimagine how unfortunate operation took placein a period of full monumental neglection of themonumental ensemble, somewhere between1844, the year that González de León mentionsit in Noticia Artística de Sevilla and 1865, whenBarón Davillier publishes his article of the cera-mist omitting any reference to this work18. Wehad no further news of this altarpiece until thelate nineteenth century, when Gestoso said hehad come to discover before 1869 twenty tilesthat could be from that work and that he sawthem installed in the paving of the courtyard andgarden benches of house No.3 of Patio de Ban-deras, next to the Alcázar19. He adds a few yearslater: “Three or four of these tiles are now partof the rich collection of Mr. Osma”20. Indeed, thefact that two tiles appear in this collection, inInstituto Valencia de Don Juan, Madrid, the em-blem of the Catholic Monarchs, leads us to iden-tify them with those mentioned in this review aswell as some more of the same collection thatseem to coincide with those described in the textfrom Gestoso as “laureas large fragments, someof guardillas with circles and cards, which wererepeated in bundles of arrows with the mottoTanto Monta, jars with carnations, and somethat judging by his drawings were part of buil-dings placed in the bottom of a picture”21.The proportion of this altarpiece preserved to-

day is minimal and it is regrettable also tiles thatwe have nono tiles left from the six scenes of thealtarpiece, but only marginal elements of them.The format used in this altar piece (13 x 13 cms)does not match with the one used in the Queen(16 x 16 cms) although it coincides with othersets as the altarpiece that he made in 1518 forthe monastery of Tentudía (Badajoz). Today werecognize six grounds and seven tiles in ancientOsma collection that can come from this altar-piece.One of the motifs given by Gestoso as “large

fragments laureas” must satisfy a sector thatplays such a vegetables crowns (Reg. 4042) (Fig.15)22. Because of the lack of shadows cast on itsouter profile is likely that this tile correspondsto the upper left sector of the motif. Laurel greenleaves are combined on it, as in the altar of theoratory of the queen, with apples and pomegra-nates. This laurea should probably be the frame-work of the main scene, element that has notbeen described by any autor23. We can see thatit was painted in blue. Its exterior shows theusual ocher background that highlights the bluelines of plant and grotesques motifs in which Ni-culoso surrounded this central element.The piece described by Gestoso as “guardillas

with circles and cards, which were repeated inbundles of arrows with the motto Tanto Monta”could not be literally identified with a group ofthat institute. However, this piece has a commonfeature with a tile, showing a piece of bow andin its spandrel, a cornucopia of curved branchessurrounding a disc where a yoke is represented;and below it, the motto “MONTA” (Reg. 4040)(Fig. 16)24 . A piece of serrated molding appearsabove the spandrel, and the composition is top-ped with a green bordure that crosses the rightside of the tile and its top edge.It is unknown how the piece was finished on

its left side, because it is mutilated. However, itis not difficult to imagine it showing the rest ofthe arch and the fruits spilled by the horn. It is,the upper right corner of a classical frontispiece,which could be fully developed in a panel offour tiles wide and six in height. The symmetri-cal spandrel would show another disc with abundle of arrows and the first part of the motto“TANTO”. The overall structure of the imaginedvaulted niche is similar to the frame scenes ofthe Life of the Virgin on the altar of the Monas-tery of Tentudía (Badajoz), painted by Niculoso

in 1518, with which this lost work would havesome resemblance, although it might be smallerin size.The third motif described by Gestoso must

correspond with those showing a couple of tileswith polygonal foot jars, semispherical cauldronmarked by fine parallel moldings and neck withtwo opposing handles, in the shape of “S” (Reg.4039) (Fig. 17)25. Three carnations are comingout of the jar, as this author says. Underfootbranches arise, twisting and tying with symme-trical adjoining parts, which also show bundlesof arrows and yokes under which we can readthe repeated motto “Tanto Monta”.I have recently noticed that the high tiled

plinth of the Sala de la Cantarera made by Cris-tóbal de Augusta, around 1575, for the GothicPalace of the Alcázar, has, unexpectedly, two tileslike these two aforementioned of madrileniancollection, which would confirm that thosecome from the sevillian palace (Fig. 18)26. Wecan not know where these pieces were even-tually located in the altarpiece, although its ho-rizontal development and alternating characterof the emblems of the kings suggest a certainlength frieze. Instead of proceeding from thesame altarpiece, it is possible that these piecescould have been the top section of a base thatcould complement it, also formed by repetitivemotifs like those I describe below.Indeed, a couple of tiles decorated with cur-

ved loop form part of the old Osma Collection.Because of its design and colorful, these mustalso come from a work of Niculoso (Reg. 4060)(Fig. 19)27. I would venture to suggest that thismotif could be part of the lost King’s oratory al-tarpiece, since a similar tile could be found yearsago, when we carried out the inventory of cera-mic materials, stored in the Baths of Doña Maríade Padilla in the Alcázar and which are, sincethen, on show in glass cases in the Cuarto delAsistente28. It is likely that the binding of thismotif with the one of the base, described above,was settled with some other motif that has notbeen preserved. There is no certainty that the parts that are

described below were part of the altarpiece.But its style is linkable to Niculoso, and al-

though Gestoso writes before 1903 that Osmaretained “Three or four”, is possible that he gotsome more so we’ll see. One of these motifsshows a phylactery in Roman capitals with an

incomplete text which reads: “...E. ORTA – Ê –STE...” (Reg. s/nº) (Fig. 20). The fragment co-rresponds to the text “GERMINAVIT RADIXJESS(E ORTA EST STE)LLA EX JACOB VIRGOPEPERIT SALVATOREM TE LAUDAMUS DEUSNOSTER”29, text that was part of the SecondVespers Antiphon and that used to be includedin the Books of Hours of the time, logic literarysource for an altarpiece dedicated to the VirginMary. Purple stripes limiting the tile at the topand bottom allow us to imagine that it was akind of frieze. The golden ocher background co-lorful and somewhat careless strokes acanthusleaf remind the style followed by the artist onthe front of Santa Paula. The inscription referringto the genealogy of the Virgin and Christ sug-gests that the altarpiece could contain a Tree ofJesse, like that of the queen and another paintedfor the monastery of Tentudía. In this sense, itmay be appropriate to comment that in the Mu-seum of Fine Arts in Seville a tile of the same for-mat and style has been preserved, reproducing,on white background, the fine hand of one ofthe characters usually making up these sets (Sig.CEO249C) (Fig. 21). The logical question thatarises is: the tile that has been preserved fromthat Tree of Jesse, is the one at the Museum? Wecan not give a convincing answer to this mysterybut the possibility is suggested here. The qualityof the tile, despite offering a picture of the itemso fragmentary, is certainly worthy of a royal des-tiny.Another piece of undoubted attribution to Ni-

culoso, which also may have been part of the al-tarpiece of the king represents a candelieri frag-ment with a flower corolla under which a Ro-man cartela tabula ansata appears, in which weread the word “ANA” and hanging a string of pe-arls revealing the roundwound as an axis (Reg.s / n º) (Fig. 22).If the piece would be part of the altarpiece of

the king, chandeliers decoration should be ad-ded to items that we have imagined, framingsome of the scenes and the general structure ofthe whole. It’s surprising the great resemblanceof this piece with a similar tile, integrated irre-gularly in the front cover of Santa Paula, whichcontains the date 1508. It also resembles threeother tiles, now preserved in the National Mu-seum of Ceramics in Valencia, which are theonly ones resting in the altarpiece that Niculosomade for the palace of the Condes del Real, in



that city. Like all of them, it forms a classical pi-laster organized as a chandelier, decorating thebackground with ocher on the right and yellowon the left. Like two from Valencia, they inclu-ded the inscription on a tabula ansata cartelafrom which hangs a pearl necklace with a centralbrooch30. It is quite possible that they all werepillars of an altarpiece, but not necessarily of thesame work31.These two old tiles are the only ones that

could be linked to the specific invocation of thealtarpiece. Towards 1500 and in the environ-ment of the Spanish crown, the Tree of Jesse wasan allusion to the subject of the temporary ge-nealogy of the Virgin and not, as in centuriesbefore, of Christ, and, above all, an allusion tothe defendant Immaculate Conception of Maryby St. Joachim and St. Anne. So, it is perfectlyconceivable that the matter of Immaculate wasthe main scene of the altarpiece. In that case,the allusion to St. Anne in the tile mentionedbefore would correspond to a symmetrical allu-ding to St. Joachim, which does not contradictthe generic description of scenes that Ceán leftus. This choice would also indicate the interestof Fernando II who, following a strong traditionof its aragonese predecessors made a great effortin the dissemination and promotion of this ad-vocation, which had so much future in Spain.Considering that it would take several weeks ormonths to run this altarpiece, the order couldhave been made in 1504 or 1503. In this regardwe must not forget, as Stratton recalls, that wasin 1503 when Fernando el Católico announcedin The Cortes of Barcelona that the celebrationof the Immaculate Conception would be heldin his kingdom, among four other mentionedfeasts, going well ahead of other peninsularkingdoms32.Beside this tiles of the Valencia de Don Juan

Institute, I have found in different parts of theReal Alcázar other three tiles that can be attribu-ted to Niculoso or to his workshop and perhapscould be linked to the altarpiece of the king.One of them is in a really unexpected loca-

tion, the floor of the balcony on the cover ofApeadero, built in 1607-1608. It is placed bet-ween others that were commissioned to Her-nando de Valladares on that date and amongmany other parts replaced later (Fig 23). This isan incomplete bust of a ruddy putto that wouldbe strung at some volute with other grotesques,

perhaps in the king’s altarpiece painted by thisceramist33. Elsewhere in the set, no less unexpected than

the last, the outer wall of the old Garden Riscopond, Flower Garden today, inserted between ti-les of varied origin, which seem to supply themissing original coating made by the Valladares’Workshop in the early seventeenth century. Thefragment of another tile also appears. No doubtthis was also the work of Niculoso and it couldhave been part of that missing piece (Fig. 24).This is a small piece cut to be included in thislining, showing remains of a pilaster representedin perspective. It is topped by an entablature onwhich a cherub appears with a tabula ansatafrom which a string of pearls hangs. This enta-blature is delimited by sheet molding and startsto look behind an carpanel arc of similar motivesto those of the aforementioned Renaissance mol-dings. It seems that this is a small detail of a fron-tispiece framing the scene of an altarpiece34.Finally, out of its original ignored context, we

find two pairs of tiles called tiles for table, usedin the beamed ceilings that may also be ascribedto the production of Niculoso’s workshop (Fig.25)35. These tiles are decorated with very similarmotifs to one we know, executed with the edgetechnique, common in this type of tile. Beingpainted by brush, ink blue and with a patternvery similar to those used by Niculoso, we mightconsider them the first testimony that Niculosomade tiles for, brush painted and not only madefor edge matrices.As has been proven by this writing, the tiles

that were lost were many more than those thathave been preserved, of all of them painted byNiculoso for the Real Alcázar. However, we mustnot give up hopes that from now on his workwill be valued as its importance demands. Wemust not forget that thanks to the ceramist pain-ter that came from Italy, Seville became the mostcutting edge ceramic in Europe during the earlyyears of the sixteenth century, with some worksthat still allow us to enjoy its beauty, admire theskill of its execution and, above all, oblige us totake care of their better preservation and be-queath them to the future.

NOTES1 “Pisano” does not mean in the sixteenth cen-

tury native of Pisa, but, generally, of Italy. Pisa

was one of the most important seaports, fromwhich many of the products and people whocame from Italy to the Iberian peninsula left.

2 Rafael Domínguez Casas: Arte y etiqueta delos Reyes Católicos. Artistas, residencias, jardines ybosques, Madrid, 1993, pág. 87.

3 José Gestoso y Pérez: Historia de los Barros vi-driados, Sevilla, 1903, pág. 122.

4 Ceán Bermúdez, Diccionario histórico de losmás ilustres profesores de Bellas Artes en España,Madrid, 1800, Vol. IV, pág. 100. This news raisesa possibility: Niculoso not only painted on ce-ramics but also made oil paintings on canvas. Hewas training for it, in view of what can be seenby its tiles.

5 Carriazo, J.M., “Correspondencia de don An-tonio Ponz con el Conde del Águila”, Archivo Es-pañol de Arte y Arqueología, Madrid, 1929: 14 y 16.

6 The work measures 236 x 297 cms. in totaland 156 x 112 cms. the central scene.

7 His complete training not only affected theacademic field but also their technical compe-tence. His extensive knowledge of the chemistryof colors allowed him to overcome the limitedrange of the five basic that were used in the Mu-dejar Seville (white, black- purple, blue, green-copper and honey). He came to use twice as wellas the first four (he did not use the “melado”),he also used yellow, orange ocher, ocher earth,light green and two shades of red.

8 Suzanne Stratton, based on comments ofGestoso and Dieulafoy, thought with some logic,but ignoring the usual stylistic bilingualism ofthis artist, that the work had been performed bytwo different hands. Cf Suzanne Stratton, TheImmaculate Conception in Spanish art, Madrid,1989, p. 16.

9 Frothingham, Alice W. Tile panels of Spain,Nueva York, 1969, pág. 6.

10 José Gestoso y Pérez: Historia de los Barrosvidriados, Sevilla, 1904, pág. 205. I have consul-ted the copy of this work that is kept in the Cen-tral Library of the University of Seville.

11 Lleó has provided convincing evidence ofthis phenomenon and how clear demonstrationshad in Seville in the early years of the 16th cen-tury. See, Vicente Lleó, New Rome, Mythologyand Humanism in Renaissance Seville, Seville,2001 (reprint), p. 223 and ss.

12 Frothingham, A.W., “Tile altars by NiculosoAt Tentudía, Spain”, The Connoisseur, enero,1964, pág. 32.

13 Frothingham, A.W., Tile panels of Spain,New York, 1969, fig. 6.

14 A more complete iconographic reading inVicente Lleó, “Eros y tánatos en Sevilla: variantessevillanas de un tema humanista”. In Actas delCongreso de Historia de Andalucía, Sección Anda-lucía Moderna tomo II, 1978, pp 165-178 andMorales Martínez, Alfredo J., Francisco NiculosoPisano, Excma. Diputación, Sevilla, 1977, pág.51.

15 In this article I do not address aspects ofthis work related to their condition nor thosewho cast doubt on the skill of the artist bothtechnically as compositional issues that might beinteresting to discuss at another time not only togo deeper critically in the field of the achieve-ments and failures of Niculoso but also as usefulinformation for eventual cleaning operation ofthis work of exceptional value.

16 Ceán Bermúdez, Juan A., Diccionario..., Ma-drid, 1800, Vol. 4, pág. 100.

17 We have already said that the altarpiece forthe Queen was signed with the gentilicio “Ita-lian”.

18 González de León, Félix, Noticia artística deSevilla, Sevilla 1844, pág. 134. It is, however so-mething suspicious that this author reproducesliterally Ceán’s description in his Dictionary,which leads to suspect if he truly saw it or onlypicked up the news from the previous author.

19 Gestoso, José, Sevilla, Monumental y Artís-tica, Sevilla, 1889, Vol. 1, pág. 323.

20 Gestoso, José, Historia de los barros vidriados,Sevilla, 1903, pag. 205.

21 The frequent use of the plural in the wor-ding of paragraph suggests that there were morethan 3 or 4 tiles that Osma came to collect. Welocated in the same collection four other motiveswhich, though not mentioned by Gestoso, pro-bably belonged to the same set.

22 This tile measures 120 x 123 x 18 mm. andshows the triple cooking atifle footprint andscraped and trimmed edges.

23 We can rule out that this fragment corres-ponded to a laurea similar to the one in the al-tarpiece of the queen, framing the emblems ofthe crown, as those showing a somewhat diffe-rent structure.

24 The tile, which is maimed on the left, is 130x 100 x 35 mm. Displays atifles marks, scrapedand trimmed edges and it has been reused aspavement.



25 This tile that is complete measures 130x130 x 20 mm. It shows the same characteristicsas above.

26 Both tiles are tiny, 130 x 130 mm, thoughthey have been shaped to be inserted in a plinth.

27 Each plinth’s size is: 135 x 135 x 21 mm.28 Alfonso Pleguezuelo, Fco. J. Luis Ángeles

Herrera y Mercedes López, “Un depósito de azu-lejos históricos en los Reales Alcázares de Sevi-lla”, Rev. Aparejadores, n 44, enero-marzo, 1995,págs. 19-29. The tile measures 130 x130 mm.

29 The translation would be: “The Tree of Jessehas blossomed, a star is born of Jacob, the Virginhas brought a Savior, we praise You oh Lord.”

30 Frothingham, Tile Panels of Spain, 1969,pág. 11, Fig. 19.

31 Niculoso could have repeated such compo-sitions in more than one work.

32 Suzanne Stratton, op. cit, p. 1. The other fes-tivals celebrated the Purification, the Annuncia-tion and the Assumption, all of them relatedwith Conception of Mary.

33 It measures 105 x 80 mm although part ofit is recessed into the wall to which is attached.

34 It is 120 x 40 mm.35 Each tile currently measures 28 x 13 cms.

and the four of them haven’t got the usual sup-port tabs.

ILLUSTRATIONSFigure 1. Anonymous, 1504? Arms of Castile-

Leon. Ceramic plaque with a coat of arms of theCatholic Monarchs. Instituto Valencia de DonJuan (Madrid).Fig. 2. Anonymous, 1504? Arms of Aragon

and Sicily. Ceramic plaque with a coat of armsof the Catholic Monarchs. Instituto Valencia deDon Juan (Madrid).Fig. 3. Anonymous, 1504. Coat of arms of the

Alhóndiga del Grano. Museo de Artes y Costum-bres Populares of Seville.Fig. 4. Niculoso, 1504. Altarpiece of the Visi-

tation. Real Alcázar of Seville. Overview.Fig. 5. Niculoso, 1504. Altarpiece of the Visi-

tation. Real Alcázar of Seville. Central scene.Fig. 6. Niculoso, 1504. Altarpiece of the Visi-

tation. Real Alcázar of Seville. Elizabeth and Ze-chariah.Fig. 7. Niculoso, 1504. Altarpiece of the Visi-

tation. Real Alcázar of Seville. Mary and Joseph. Fig.8. Niculoso, 1504. Altarpiece of the Visi-

tation. Real Alcázar of Seville. Virgin with Child.Fig. 9. Niculoso, 1504. Altarpiece of the Visi-

tation. Real Alcázar of Seville. Prophet David.Fig. 10. Niculoso, 1504. Altarpiece of the Vi-

sitation. Real Alcázar of Seville. Allegory.Fig. 11. Niculoso, 1504. Altarpiece of the Vi-

sitation. Real Alcázar of Seville. Allegory.Fig. 12. Niculoso, 1504. Altarpiece of the Vi-

sitation. Real Alcázar of Seville. Cloth of Vero-nica.Fig. 13. Niculoso, 1504. Altarpiece of the Vi-

sitation. Real Alcázar of Seville. Front of the al-tar.Fig. 14. Niculoso, 1504. Altarpiece of the Vi-

sitation. Real Alcázar of Seville. Interlace orna-mentation.Fig. 15. Niculoso, 1504. Instituto Valencia de

Don Juan (Madrid). Laurea fragment. Fig. 16. Niculoso, 1504. Instituto Valencia de

Don Juan (Madrid). Spandrel arch.Fig. 17. Niculoso, 1504. Instituto Valencia de

Don Juan (Madrid). Top section of a base. Fig. 18. Niculoso, 1504. Real Alcázar of Sevi-

lle. Sala de la Cantarera. Replaced tiles.Fig. 19. Niculoso, 1504. Instituto Valencia de

Don Juan (Madrid). Interlacing tiles.Fig. 20. Niculoso, 1504. Instituto Valencia de

Don Juan (Madrid). Phylactery Fragment.Fig. 21. Niculoso, 1504. Museo de Bellas Ar-

tes of Seville. Tree of Jesse fragment.Fig. 22. Niculoso, 1504. Instituto Valencia de

Don Juan (Madrid). Candelieri fragment.Fig. 23. Niculoso, 1504. Real Alcázar of Sevi-

lle, Balcony of Apeadero. Replaced tile.Fig. 24. Niculoso, 1504. Real Alcázar of Sevi-

lle, Pond of the Flowers Garden. Replaced tile.Fig. 25. Niculoso, 1504. Real Alcázar of Sevi-

lle. Fourth of the Admiral. Replaced tiles per ta-ble.

Here is provided a summary of the results andconclusions obtained from the characterizationof the plasterwork of the Islamic tradition of theReal Alcázar of Seville, carried out during the ye-ars 2008-2011.We have studied a total of 19 samples corres-

ponding to 15 plasterworks of Islamic traditionof the Real Alcázar, 7 during the 2008 campaign,7 during the 2009 one, and 5 in 2010. A sample of chronology Almohad plasterwork

has also been characterized, courtesy of the Ar-chaeological Museum of Seville.It was placed in the Lemon’s Yard of the Ca-

thedral of Seville, and it is used as a referenceand comparative of the single Almohad originalsample, obtained from the “Patio del Yeso”.

1. INTRODUCTIONPlasterworks are decorative features, charac-

teristic of Muslim art, applied in walls, arcs andvaults, which tend to cover large surfaces, tohide adobe or brick, in unlimited series of repe-titive motifs, but with a meaning depending onthe monument to which it is applied “Islamicart, because of the limitation of dispense with fi-gurative patterns that have an own iconographicmeaning, threw itself into the creation of forms,which presence would not affect the meaning ofthe monument”1.The Alcázar of Seville answers to an Eastern

model of palatine citadel, consisting of a set ofbuildings of different styles and eras that havebeen added and/or restored over the centuries,including decorative plasterwork of different ar-tistic periods.Plaster, which is an essential component in

plasterwork, is an abundant material in the natureand easy to transform, that’s why it becomes oneof the first materials used by man in the construc-tion of buildings. The plastering is a decorativeelement of great artistic value characteristic ofMuslim art applied to walls, arches and vaults.The plasterwork is made of plaster, so it is easilyalterable, mainly because of their low mechanicalstrength and its slight solubility in water. For thisreason, the plasterwork walls would have requi-red a continuous maintenance work from themoment of its creation2.The description of the plasterings, based on

the historiographic study of the monument andits evolution over time3, is the main objetive ofthis project, developing a methodology to knowthe status of Rooms and Courtyards, trying tofind some ways out of proceeding to preservethese elements, applicable to other monumentsof similar characteristics.If we analyze the history of the Real Alcázar,

and in particular areas where samples of the mo-nument have been taken, we can find docu-ments about actions like those carried out in the“Patio del Yeso” (GPY) by the architect R. Man-zano4, who says “It was discovered and publis-hed by Tubino in the last years of the 19th cen-tury (Fig 1a.)”, it was consolidated and restoredby the Marqués de la Vega-Inclán between 1918-20 (Fig. 1b), and it has been restored and re-ex-plored by me in 1969 and 1971(Fig. 2)”.The Courtyard of the Sun (Fig. 3a) occupies

the northern front of the “Patio de la Alcobilla”and owes its current physiognomy to a deep re-modeling developed in the 1970s. It has alwaysbeen an abandoned domestic space of the go-



F.J. Blasco, F.J. Alejandre, V. Flores y JJ. Martín

Dept. of architectural constructions II, University of Seville



vernor’s household. Part of a Moorish arch ispreserved, it was part of the medieval buildingswhich integrated this sector of the Alcázar5. The Court of Justice (Fig. 3b), was built by

Alfonso XI after the battle of Salado (1340), onthe ruins of the former Almohad Palace7. Someauthors assume that old Almohad structureswere taken from his factory, attributing its cu-rrent configuration to Alfonso XI (1311-1350),although some people according to its decora-tion, and to the Arabic inscription on the walls,similar to King Pedro I’s ones, attribute the fac-tory to this last monarch5.With reference to the medieval Palace of king

Pedro I (building that contains most of Roomsand Courtyards which have been studied), if westart to describe the “Patio de las Doncellas”, asthe center of the official dependences, it wasbuilt between 1364 and 1366 by Pedro I de Cas-tilla. The set is finished off by a frieze of Moslemkufic inscriptions, motives of atauriques with theshields of Castile, Leon and the imperial he-raldry (Fig. 4a); they reveal the important inter-ventions carried out in the courtyard during the16th century7.The Hall of Ambassadors and the adjacent halls

are the core of the old palace of Al-Mutamid,whose structures remain thank you to the mude-jar reconstruction of Pedro I8. Mudejar craftsmenfrom Seville and Toledo and architects from Gra-nada worked on this construction (Fig. 4b)9.In the modern era, the repeated use of he-

raldry and royal emblems let us know with someprecision the date where these works were built,and because of details such as the grenade in theroyal shield we can deduce if the work was donebefore or after 1492.During the period of the Habsburg rulers, be-

sides the works carried out in the Courtyard ofthe Maidens and the upper floor, coats of armsand imperial emblems were interspersed in theMudejar plasterwork of the ground floor andbuilt on an old Muslim qubba placed in the gar-dens, the arbor in the “huerta de la Alcoba”.With the arrival of the last Habsburg, several

repairs were made in the Moorish palace in thetransition from the 16th century to the 17th cen-tury. After the destruction of the 18th centuryproduced by the Lisbon earthquake, ManuelZintora worked in the Mudejar Palace in theearly years of the 19th century, making visiblefrom the street the Courtyard of the Maidens,

but this lasted shortly, since their access wassoon returned to its original state according tothe canons of Islamic buildings9.The king’s bedroom (Fig 5a) and the Cour-

troom (Fig 5b) are part of the upper floor of thepalace of King Pedro I, dating from the fourte-enth century, although part of its work of plasterwas intercepted in the middle of the sixteenthcentury.All in all, the Alcázar has undergone nume-

rous interventions, transformations and newachievements throughout its life, some of whichincluded many of the Islamic decorations, do-cumented and investigated by several authors,clarifying many of the constructive develop-ments suffered in the palace, but not all of them,because some actions might have been takenplaced but not documented, allowing gaps re-main in the building construction process andin the restoration one.

2. STUDY OF CASES AND METHODS2.1. SamplesThe different rooms and courtyards where se-

veral samples were taken are numbered on thefloor map (Fig. 6), given by the Board of the RealAlcázar and made by A. Almagro.All samples taken from the monument that

have been under research correspond to themost representative plasterwork, restored or not,from of the mudejar period and from differentspaces of the Alcázar Palace, it has also been in-cluded a sample belonging to the Almohad ti-mes.Previously, researchers have been taken into

account the historical criteria concerning theworks carried out on the monument over thecenturies, following a respectful course with it. Specialists have taken the minimum necessary

and representative quantities of sample to per-form the analyses intended, minimizing the vi-sual impact on cloths and according to the ins-tructions and recommendations of the Conser-vatives of the Alcázar. Its removal and attach-ment corresponds as closely as possible to plas-terwork that have a greater certainty about itstime of realization.We have studied a total of 19 samples corres-

ponding to 15 plasterwork, whose descriptionand possible construction period are indicatedin chart 1.

2.2. Description methodologyThe analytical techniques that can be applied

to the description of historical plasterwork arenumerous, being necessary to discern the rele-vance of each one of them depending on thescientific goal. The description methodology de-veloped by the authors involves a wide range oftechniques that complement each other, tryingto provide information on the state of conserva-tion, development and control of their status3.The samples have been previously prepared

by removing the outer layers of plaster (nine ofthem had layer or layers) to carry out all analysesand tests.The methodology has consisted of elemental

chemical analysis using a fluorescence spectro-meter Panalytical X-rays (Model Axios) Rh tube.To obtain the percentage of water insoluble im-purities specialists have started from all plaster-work samples dried on paper filter AlbetDP150110 of 3-5 microns in diameter, subjec-ting them to a continuous leaching process untiltotal dissolution of gypsum. The mineralogicalcomposition of the plasterwork was determinedby X-ray using a Bruker-AXS diffractometer D-

8. The diffractograms were obtained and analy-zed by XRD patterns in the 2θ range from 3° to70°.The textural and compositional analysis was

performed with a scanning electron microscopeJEOL JSM 6450-LV equipped with X-ray (EDX),beryllium window ATW2 and specific software(Oxford INCA) for chemical analysis and map-pings. This analysis was performed on the sam-ple GPY, which apparently had greater presenceof calcite, calculated by the Bernard calcimeter,following rule UNE 103-200-93, based on thedecomposition of carbonates by the action ofhydrochloric acid, with evolution of carbon dio-xide.We performed a chronological dating analysis

applying C 14 to plant fiber found in the GPSsample mass, with a particle accelerator Tande-tron AMS (Accelerator Mass Spectrometry),being a non-radiometric detection technique,detecting the ionized atom instead of the radia-tion emitted in their disintegration.The physical properties determined according

to EN-1936:2007 were bulk density and waterporosity, providing information on the structure

CHART 1. DesignATion of sAmples TAken, loCATion AnD possible ConsTRuCTion peRioD

Year Order Location Designation Taken sample Possible construction period

2008 0 Lemon’s Patio (Cathedral of Seville) GPL Plasterwork (archeological collection) 12th – 13th centuries (Archeological documentation). Almohad

2008 1 Plaster Patio (restored area) GPY Plasterwork in sebqa 12th-13th centuries Almohad

2008 2 Patio of Virgins (ajimez: a pair of windows sharing a central column). GPD Plasterwork in ajimez 14th – 16th centuries Mudejar

2008 3 Patio of the Sun (restored area) GPS Plasterwork in frieze 20th century. Restoration.

2008 4 Hall of Justice (north-west guide base) GSJ Plasterwork in arch 14th century. Mudejar

2009 5 Royal Bedroom (living room and bedroom) GCR Plasterwork in arch 14th – 20th centuries. Mudejar

2009 6 Bedroom’s arbor ( South guide base) GCA Plasterwork in frieze 14th – 16 centuries. Mudejar.

2009 7 Prince’s Room (north-west arch) GCP Plasterwork in arch 14th – 16th centuries. Mudejar

2009 8 Dolls Patio (North-west guide base) GPM Plasterwork in pierced sebqa 14th – 19th centuries. Mudejar

2009 9 Hall of Ambassadors (arch separating Philip II ceiling) GSE Plasterwork in arch 14th century. Mudejar

2008 10 Plaster Patio (restored area) GPY2 Plasterwork in sebqa 20th century. Restoration

2008 11 Patio of the Sun (area described by Pavón M.) GPS2 Plasterwork in spandrel of arch 13th – 14th centuries (¿). Mudejar

2009 12 Hall of Justice (from Montería) GSJ2 Plasterwork in arch 14th century. Mudejar

2009 13 Patio of the Sun (differen area) GPS3 Plasterwork in arch 13th – 14th centuries (¿). Mudejar

2010 14 Catholic Monarch’s Room (East arch to Doll’s Patio) GSR Plasterwork in arch 16th- 19th centuries. Mudejar

2010 15 Hall of Philip II ceiling (Pavones arch) GSF Plasterwork in spandrel of arch 16th century. Mudejar

2010 16 Hall of Philip II ceiling (arch separating bedroom) GSC Plasterwork in arch 14th – 16th centuries. Mudejar

2010 17 Bedroom of Peter the king (east base guide arch) GDR Plasterwork in arch 14th – 16th centuries. Mudejar

2010 18 Court Room (North central arch) GSA Plasterwork in arch 14th century. Mudejar



of the material. Finally the surface hardness hasbeen done with a durometer Härtoprüfer, usingthe Shore C scale (0-100 units) and followingthe UNE 102-039-85.This paper is a summary of the results obtai-

ned, with particular emphasis on those data thatmore directly provide information on the plas-terwork of the Alcázar and interventions in thevarious rooms, according to the characterizationof the them. To maintain these elements to pre-vent the progression of diseases, in addition torequiring a deep understanding of their mate-rials, implementation techniques and properties,you need a few simple evaluation periodic tech-niques and criteria that prioritize interventionsif needed.

3. RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONSChemical analysis results show a typical com-

position rich in high SO3 content attributable toCaSO4•2H2O, and a loss on ignition close to21%, corresponding to a reference pure gypsum(Chart 2) .If the SO3 content of dehydrate gypsum is

46.50% pure, we can be observed that most ofgypsums have a high purity (calculated assu-ming all this comes from dehydrate gypsumthrough its% SO3), while the sample taken fromthe Patio of the Maidens (GPD) is the one withthe highest rate of all samples, followed also by

the GPS samples (both> 45%). Chart 3 reflectsthe degree of purity in accordance with the SO3content obtained ( the origin of the archaeologi-cal sample GPL is not show here). Taking into account the slight solubility of

gypsum dihydrate in water, which is 2.05 g/l. at20° C, and the insolubility of anhydrite II of 3.0g/l11, specialists have determined the percentageof insoluble impurities in samples of plasterwork.Most of them come from raw materials, whichcan give us an idea of their old artisanal prepara-tion, although during the long period that laststhis artisanal production system, the ovens wereimproved to facilitate some operations.In chart 4 we can see in descending order wa-

ter insoluble impurities. From the plasterwork,whose percentages are lower than 5%, we knowof their interventions of restoration or renova-tion at various times. It is not surprising to finda more refined production technique or a moreselective choice of materials according to the ca-ses. We might suppose at first that this set ofplasterwork, could correspond to a modern era(18th and 19th centuries) because this works arefrom 1833, done on the dolls patio (GPM) andthe Prince’s room (GCP)8.The Royal Room or bedroom of the Moorish

Kings was whitewashed in 1813, hiding the blueand gold stucco8; and later, during the Elizabe-than period (1843-68), these jalbegas were eli-

minated to recover the secret plastering, wherecarvers and estuquistas had to empty the adorn-ments and form the new ones. Likewise, we canverify the modernity of the sample taken in thecourtyard of the Sun (GPS), supported by thedating analysis12.GPS2 also corresponds to a modern work,

in view of the technique and the support baseof cement on which it rests. Similarly, theplasterwork of the Room of the Catholic mo-narchs (GSR) was made in the 19th century,and the plasterwork from the Courtroom(GSA) was worked, at least, throughout the16th century.The sample taken from the Hall of Justice

(GSJ2), although it was firstly dated back to the14th century, due to its location at the bottomof the arch that leads to the “Patio del León”(soffit), it has been repaired or supplemented be-cause it was placed at a low altitude so it was ex-posed to shocks and damage. Finally, the purityof the material and the care spent working withthe plasterwork of the Courtyard of the Maidens(GPD) endow this plasterwork of qualities thatmake it belong to this group, despite havingbeen executed two centuries before.A second group consists of those with content

of impurities between 5% and 10%. We don’tknow about restoration works on its plastering,except those carried out in the Courtyard ofPlaster by the architect R. Manzano (GPY2) bet-ween 1969-197113. He worked according to “thecriterion of differentiation between the old andthe new restoration”, although in this case, be-cause of its preparation and application techni-que, it has been done with some added quartzor with cast with more impurities.The last group, with rates well above 10%,

may be indicative of a selection of raw materialsand/or preparation of the most artisanal andworst care pastes. This would bring us closer tothe originality and antiquity of the same ones.The most abundant minerals found in inso-

luble impurities basically match minority phasesfound in the mineralogical mass analysis, butwith traces of other minerals.

3.1. Physical PropertiesThe real density of the pure plaster is 2.31

g/cm3 and its bulk density is of course lower dueto the high porosity of samples.The results of bulk density and apparent po-

rosity obtained for samples of plaster are shownin chart 5.

A parameter directly related to the porosity isthe ratio a/y used in the manufacture of pastes,and even more considering that is based on thetechnique of execution used in the plasterwork:carving, modeling or molding.As main factors influencing water/gypsum

used in the kneading of plaster dough we have:fineness, execution system and the time of wor-kability. This last one also depends on: the num-ber of phases present in the plaster, which is re-lated to the degree of cooking of the raw mate-rial, the temperature of the water kneaded, kne-ading time, the addition of accelerators or retar-ders and especially the ratio water/plaster usedin the kneading.The water needed by plaster for the chemical

stoichiometry to be rehydrated is much lowerthan the required for kneading, that’s why theexcess evaporates by drying during setting andhardening, leaving a porous microstructure inthe rehydrate, although this is necessary to givea higher workability to fresh paste. Therefore,plasters used to make plasterwork usually havehigh apparent porosity values, exceeding 45%,that’s the reason why they can be classified as

Chart 2. stoichiometric values of gypsum dihydrateMineral phase SO3(%) CaO (%) H2O (%)Plaster 32,57 46,50 20,93

Chart 3. so3 content of samples in% in order of decreasingContent of Ca SO3 High purity > 45% Medium Purity 45%-40%% Low Purity < 40%


Chart 4. percentage of impurity in plaster samplesSample GPY GPS3 GDR GCA GPY2 GSE GSF GSJ GSC

% Impurity 27.31 17.29 9.35 8.27 8.19 7.91 7.62 7.03 5.88

> 10% 5-10%


3.80 3.73 3.72 3.48 3.39 3.33 3.10 2.78 2.18


Chart 5. plasterwork physical propertiesSample Bulk density (gr/cm3) Apparent Porosity (%)

GPY 1.38 41.9

GPD 1.31 43.9

GPS 1.12 47.0

GSJ 0.98 58.5

GCR 1.15 48.2

GCA 1.05 56.0

GCP 1.07 47.6

GPM 0,97 59,0

GSE 1.08 55.7

GPY2 1.06 50.0

GPS2 1.02 55.5

GSJ2 1.15 49.7

GPS3 1.21 49.1

GSR 1.12 50.9

GSF 1.22 47.8

GSC 1.20 48.1

GDR 1.03 55.1

GSA 1.02 58.1



very porous materials. Thus, a kneaded hemihy-drate with ratio water/plaster of 0.8, combines80 Gr. of water with 100 gr. of hemihydrate, al-though only 18.6 Gr. of water are used in hydra-tion reaction.The mixing water/plaster ratio affects directly

the apparent density of the hardened rehydrate,as shown in chart 611. These data are representedin Fig. 7, where the obtained regression line fitsthe following equation:

y = 1.48 – 0.60xbeing,

y = bulk densityx = ratio a/y

The coefficient of regression R2 is 0,994. Theequation indicates, on the one hand, that the re-lation between the two variables is reverse (thelower the relation a/y is, the higher the density,and vice versa). Secondly, the intensity in the re-lation between the two variables is almost per-fect considering the typology and variable evo-lution of samples.

From the foregoing, it can be said that the hig-her the porosity of a sample of plaster is, the gre-ater the amount of water used in the preparationof the paste, which, as noted above, may be rela-ted to the execution technique. Its compactness,bulk density and mechanical strength is less.The value of the apparent porosity of the plas-

terwork of the Alcázar has fluctuated within therange of 41.9% to 59%, results that can be con-sidered normal for gypsum pastes. For GSA, GSJand GPM samples, porosities were 58.1% 58.5%and 59%, values that indicate that it was used ahigher ratio a/y in them than in others, probablyto obtain a paste with more time of workability,

due to the difficulty of shaping of its floral de-coration (Fig. 8a and 8b), or maybe because wa-ter has been added during the work. It is possi-ble that to the sample that has been taken withvolute termination, because the difficulty of exe-cution by fresh carving could have been addedmore water to create and/or review the complexgeometry sought.We can apply the same argument to GSE or

GDR samples with 55.7% and 55.1% of porosity.Sample GCA has shown a 56% of porosity, whichmay be attributable to its outdoor location, ma-king it more vulnerable to moisture and partialsolutions, despite their protection with several la-yers of enjalbegado of lime and gypsum. Theyare probably plaster plates attached to the wallusing of forged nails (Fig. 9), according to thesystem described by Rubio14, according to whichthe plates were placed on the wall orderly andsystematically. The practical difficulty of place-ment was to place the pieces on the same planewith respect to the wall in which it is supported,so that plaster plates were placed on the wallthrough the application of “that many of clay”,located on the reverse side of the plate, being fi-xed by pressure with strokes. At the same timethey were leveled with the adjacent plates. Afterthis process, the plate remained leveled but wi-thout permanent fixing and hollowed on its re-versed, so that black plaster casting was pouredfrom the top so that the piece remained comple-tely attached to the wall. This casting was of co-arse particle size and with more impurities, it wasalso gray. During the preparation of the plate, stillfresh the plaster, Iron nails were placed at about12 cm. length, introducing the nail head on theinside of the mass, so once it is hardened it canbe inlay on the plate and sticking out by his back,constituting another element that contributes tothe fixation15, but due to the superficiality of thesample obtained it wasn’t possible to confirm theexistence of an inner layer or casting.The GPD and GPY plasterwork have been, on

the contrary, the ones that have submitted lowerporosity values for different reasons. In the caseof GPD, it is possible that it was applied in com-pacted layers and that the paste used was amasswith a low ratio a/y to obtain a dry consistencybecause this plaster is more than 4 cm thick anda main goal was to prevent it to be sagged duringits execution. For GPY, due to its coarse compo-sition with grains of quartz and to its probable

execution directly applied on a brick, we had touse low a/ y ratios, which leads to a quick-settinggypsum with low porosity.Therefore, fast setting plaster can be used for

works of dry styled carving, on the other hand,it’s necessary to use a slow setting plaster for mo-deling works.For molding works, it’s possible to used

molds with wealth of forms and details that re-quire more liquid dosages of the pasta that couldrefill all the spaces of the mold, or they may alsobe simpler molds in its forms allowing the useof a more plastic pasta.

3.2. HardnessThe superficial hardness of the plaster is in-

fluenced by a large number of variables such as:water/plaster ratio, the type of plaster, the thick-ness of application, the type of support, the mois-ture, the execution technique used, etc. The firstvariable is the most important one, because, as weexplained above, the higher the water/plaster ratiois, the greater the apparent porosity is and the lo-wer the hardness. The influence mixing water wasinvestigated by Barriac15, who obtained an almostlinear decrease of the hardness and an increase ofthe water/plaster ratio, from a hardness greaterthan 90 units of Shore C hardness for a ratio a/yof slightly less than 0,5, up to other one of lessthan 50 units of Shore C hardness for a ratio a/yof 1,2.Hardness measures have been carried out on

the samples once eliminated its layers of coatingto avoid its influence. In addition, althoughthere have been few quantities obtained so as notto damage in excess the plasterwork and there-fore the surfaces of test, the results obtained,with an average of ten trials per sample, may beconsidered satisfactory. By way of comparison,we can see in chart 7 some values of surfacehardness, regarded as typical for certain classesof current coating casts once dried11. It can beseen that all the plasterwork have presentedsome results of hardness that could be conside-red as good or even high, according to the sam-

ples in question, only the sample SJW, YCA,YSE, YPM, and SET UP have been the ones ha-ving a lower hardness.These hardness measurements may provide

useful information on the quality control ofgypsum-based products once executed in work.Elaborating on this point, specialists have stu-died the relationship between the porosity andthe hardness (Chart 8) of the samples of plaster-work, both graphically and mathematically,using linear regression (calculation of the regres-sion line and its equation), obtaining the resultsshown in Fig 10. The regression line obtainedhas the following equation:

D = 113,32 – 0,80 P

Being,P = % apparent porosityD = Surface hardness Shore C

Chart 6. Relation between mixing water and bulk density Mixing Water/Plaster Mixing water (%) Bulk Density (gr/cm3)

0,60 60 1,1

0,70 70 1,08

0,80 80 1,0

0,90 90 0,95

1,00 100 0,88

1,20 120 0,75

Chart 8. porosity and surface hardness of the plasterworkSample %Porosity Hardness

GPY 41.9 81

GPD 43.9 80

GPS 47.0 75

GSJ 58.5 67

GCR 48.2 73

GCA 56.0 67

GCP 47.6 74

GPM 59.0 67

GSE 55.7 67

GPY2 50.0 75

GPS2 55.5 70

GSJ2 49.7 72

GPS3 49.1 73

GSR 50.9 73

GSF 47.8 75

GSC 48.1 74

GDR 55.1 71

GSA 58.1 67

Chart 7. usual surface hardness values for different types of casts of coatings

Type of Gypsum Traditional trim and plastering Plaster Panel Claddings High Hardness

Hardness SHORE C 45 55 65 80



The regression coefficient R2 has been 0,96, in-dicating on the one hand, that the relationship bet-ween the two variables is reverse (the higher thehardness the lower the porosity, and vice versa),and on the other hand, that the intensity in the re-lationship between the two variables, according tothe type of sample under study, has been high butnot perfect. This last fact is due both to the smallnumber of samples used for its calculation, as tothe conditions in which it has been calculated thehardness measure on the plasterwork, because wehave these decorative accents and not completelyflat surfaces, and the measures generated with thedurometer can throw errors due to their difficultyin implementation.The equation that relates the porosity with the

hardness has as a practical application to be ableto determine through the extent of the superfi-cial hardness with the durometer Shore C (non-destructive testing) the porosity of a plasterwork,property indicative of the quality and state ofconservation of the same.

4. CONCLUSIONSThe main conclusions that can be drawn from

the results are: • From the point of view of the chemical

composition, the plasterwork studied can begrouped with respect to its content of SO3, ex-pressed as calcium sulphate dihydrate Ca OS42H2O, in three classes: high, medium and lowpurity.• The proportions of insoluble residues obtai-

ned reveal three distinct groups of plasterwork:A first group, with more than 10%, which co-rresponds to samples of the Almohad period orearly Mudejar. A second group, between 5 and10%, which is related to those in which we don’tknow about restoration activities, except thosecarried out in the Plaster Patio (GPY2). A thirdgroup, with less than 5%, which corresponds toplasterwork which have been restored.• All the plasterwork are mainly composed of

calcium sulfate dihydrate; we have also identi-fied traces of anhydrite II, quartz, aragonite, cal-cite, dolomite and celestine. We have detectedin sample GPY calcite and quartz in greater con-tent than in the others, they are probably impu-rities that have their origin in the aljez.• We know from the chemical and mineralo-

gical analysis of the samples that all plasterworksare plaster pastes, formed mainly by rehydrated

calcium sulfate (dihydrate) with more or less im-purities, without intentional addition of lime orsand, that’s why we can rule out mortars of plas-ter or mortars of gypsum and lime.• The chemical and mineralogical composi-

tion of the plasterwork makes them distinguis-hable,while reinforcing the chronology of themin most cases. We can also say, depending on thecontents of impurities, that the process of dra-wing up the Almohads casts should have beenless careful than the one practiced by the Mude-jars, despite following both of them craft tech-niques and procedures.• The hardnesses obtained for the plasterwork

are situated within the range of 67 to 81 unitsin the shore C scale. If we take into account thehardness that various types of plaster trims thatare applied currently have, ranging between 45and 80 units, we can consider that all the plas-terwork with the exception of FPG, GPM andGCA, are closer to the upper end or to the onewith higher hardness.• Between hardness and porosity, the regression

coefficient has been of 0,96, which indicates a re-verse relation between the two variables (the hig-her the hardness is, the lower the porosity, and viceversa). It also indicates that the intensity betweenthe two of them has been high. This equation hasas a practical application being able to determinethrough the superficial hardness (non-destructivetesting) the porosity of a plasterwork and, conse-quently, the durability of the same one.• As a final conclusion we could say that the

conservation status of the studied plasterwork,based exclusively on the specific samples obtai-ned and in the analysis and tests on them, isgood in general, except for specific pathologiesobserved in some of them as in GCA, GCP,GDRS and GPS.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTThe authors thank the Board of the Real Al-

cazar of Seville and CITIUS (Center of Research,Technology and Innovation at the University ofSeville), for the collaboration and facilities offe-red for the achievement of this work.

REFERENCES1 Grabar, Oleg: La Formación del Arte Islámico,

ed. Cátedra, Madrid, (1984).2 López Borges, V. H., Burgio, L. y Clark,

R.J.H.: “Documentación y autentificación de ye-serías nazaríes a través del tratamiento de con-servación y el análisis científico”. Preprints GE-IIC conference: ‘Investigación en conservación y res-tauración’. Spain, p.p. 109-117. Museu Nacionald’Art de Catalunya. Apartado 3.5.5. (2005).

3 A. Santos Silva, Adriano P., A. Magalhaes, J.Pires, A. Carvalho, A. Joao Cruz, J. Mirao andCandeias A.: “Characterization of historical mor-tars from Alentejo�s religious buildings”, Inter-national Journal of Architectural Heritage, 4:138–154, 2010 Copyright Taylor & FrancisGroup, LLC, ISSN: 1558-3058 print /1558-3066 online Ashok, R. (ed.) 1993. Artists’ Pig-ments. A Handbook of their History and Characte-ristics, vol. 2, Oxford University Press, Oxford,(2010).

4 Manzano Martos, R., Los Conservadores Mu-nicipales del Real Alcázar. Sevilla: Patronato delReal Alcázar de Sevilla, (2003).

5 Hernández-Núñez, J. C. y Morales, AlfredoJ.: El Real Alcázar de Sevilla, Scala PublishersLtd., (1ª ed.). Imp. En España por Fournier A.Gráficas, S.A., London, (1999).

6 Gestoso y Pérez, José: Guía artística de Sevilla:historia y descripción de sus principales monumentosreligiosos y civiles, y noticia de las preciosidades ar-tístico-arqueológicas que en ellos se conservan,(1926).

7 Marín-Fidalgo, A.: El Real Alcázar de Sevilla,Imp. Estudios Gráficos y Publicado por Aldeasa,(1998).

8 Cómez, R.: El Alcázar del Rey Don Pedro, Di-putación Provincial de Sevilla, Sevilla, (1996).

9 Lleó-Cañal, V.: El Real Alcázar de Sevilla, Pa-tronato del Real Alcázar: Lunwerg, D.L., (2002).

10 Pavón Maldonado, B., El Arte Hispanomu-sulmán en su Decoración Floral, Mateu Cromo,S.A. Pinto, 2ª edición aumentada, M.A.E., Agen-cia Española de Cooperación Internacional y Di-rección General de Bellas Artes y Archivos delMinisterio de Cultura, Madrid 1990, (1ª edición,Madrid, 1981)11 Villanueva Domínguez, L. y García Santos,

A., Manual del Yeso, Asociación Técnica y Em-presarial del Yeso ATEDY-DOSSAT 2000, Ma-drid, (2001).

12 Blasco-López, F.J., Alejandre Sánchez, F. J.,Martín del Río, “Evolución de las yeserías del patiodel Yeso y del Sol del Real Alcázar de Sevilla a tra-vés de las fuentes escritas reforzadas por ensayosde caracterización”, Actas del VI Congreso Nacio-

nal de Historia de la Construcción, ISBN. 978-84-9728-317-5, Instituto Juan de Herrera, CEHOPU,Cedex, p.p. 201-209, Valencia, (2009).

13 Manzano Martos, R.: La Arquitectura Almo-hade en Sevilla. En Sevilla Almohade, Fundaciónde las tres Culturas del Mediterráneo, Coordina-dora Magdalena Valor Piechota, Edita Universi-dad de Sevilla, Junta de Andalucía y Ayunta-miento de Sevilla, Sevilla-Rabat, (1999).

14 Rubio Domene, R. F., “Fijación de paños yyeserías en el periodo nazarí de la Alhambra deGranada”. Rubio Domene, R. F. [ed.], ISBN: 84-932568-1-1. Granada, (2002).

15 Barriac, P., Tonind.Ztg., Vol. 97, (6), Mesurede la dureté des platrés en laboratoire et surchantier, p. 146-151, (1973).

ILLUSTRATIONSLeft page. Figure 1. Images of Patio del Yeso: a)Façade, discovered by Tubino in the late ninete-enth century, as image of 1912 published byGestoso [6]. b) Façade after intervention of themarqués de la Vega-Inclán between 1918 and1920 (Photo library of the University of Seville).Left page below. Figure 2. Current image, after

the intervention of R. Manzano between 1969and 1971.Previous page above. Figure 3. a) Mudejar ar-

ches of the Courtyard of the Sun, next to the ar-ches of eighteenth century (on the right of theimage). b) Detail of the eastern span of the Hallof Justice with ataurique motifs (muqarnas friezewith kufic logotypes and planed palmettes, flo-wered and digitate compact of Almohad tradi-tion).Previous page below. Figure 4. Courtyards

and Rooms of the Palace of Pedro I. a) Polylo-bulated pointed arches on columns with thecoat of arms of Castile, Leon and imperial he-raldry of the Courtyard of the Maidens. b) Poly-lobulated arch framing horseshoe arches withthree lattice cut on them, in the Hall of Ambas-sadors.Figure 5. The upper floor rooms of the Palace

of Pedro I. a) Engrailed arch and plasterwork ofataurique of one of the walls of the king’s be-droom. b) Tripartite scheme of the Courtroom,with sebqa and ataurique in their faces.Figure 6. Ground plan of the the Alcázar pa-

lace complex with the position of the samplingpoints. The 17 and 18 correspond to the upper



floor of the palace and GCA is in the gardens.Figure 7. Plotting Da vs a /, including regres-

sion line.Figure 8. GSJ and GPM plasterwork. a) Detail

of plaster of one of the arches of the Hall of Jus-tice; b) Detail of sebka in the Doll’s Patio.Figure 9. Detail of the iron nails holding pla-

tes of GCA plasterwork.Figure 10. Plotting hardness vs. porosity, in-

cluding regression line.