An hour and a half east of Madrid and standing high above the Tagus River, Zorita Castle guards one of the few crossings of this important river. This ancient fortress contains the fingerprints of four of Spain’s major medieval cultures: Muslims used Visigothic stone to build a castle later occupied by Christian Crusaders and Jewish Settlers. During a two-week session, students will excavate historically important areas throughout the castle and live in the small town (population of 85) at the foot of the castle.
This summer's investigations will focus on two areas. The first one, Area 7, is located East of a large room covering the cistern. In the 2017 summer session, the team found two of the walls enclosing this area and exposed the fallen walls and the decorative plaster covering this room from the end of the castle’s life some 700 years ago. This season, we will remove the remaining plaster and uncover the floor level. Sealed for centuries, we will uncover artifacts left behind by the last inhabitants of the castle..
The second, Area 6, sits between the castle entrance and the cistern. In 2015, a small crack appeared near the cistern. The following summer, we dug a test trench and found a square opening, likely built to give light and air to two hallways and a round bolted chamber. Last summer, we finally accessed these areas. In 2018 we hope to find additional rooms carved into the castle rock at the end of one of the newly-found hallways.