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Villa Romano - El Ruedo

in Almedinilla Municipality in Córdoba Province, Andalucia, Spain
By Nick Nutter | 15 Jun 2021
Roman Villa Reconstruction Baths area El Ruedo Elaborate mosaics El Ruedo Ceramic kiln El Ruedo Triclinium El Ruedo Wall decoration El Ruedo

Villa Romano ‘El Ruedo’ at Almedinilla in Cordoba province, Andalucia, is one of the largest Roman villas in the Iberian Peninsula. It dates from the 1st century to the 7th century AD and was occupied first by the Romans and then through the Visigoth period.

There are two distinct areas, the ‘Pars Urbana’ which contained a magnificent residence occupied by the owner of the villa and a ‘Pars Rustica’ that contains all the farming buildings.

The site illustrates how the Romans occupied an area. Towns were established, outside of which were villas, similar although normally smaller than El Ruedo. The villas were the equivalent of modern day cortijos and the land attached to the villa was heavily cultivated, normally by the indigenous people or slaves. Produce from the cortijos made its way to the town where there would be a market. Some of the produce was consumed in the town, some was exported into other parts of the Roman Empire.

Pars Urbana

This large villa has well preserved reception areas, a triclinium (dining area), a patio with pool, various living rooms and bedrooms richly decorated with mosaics and painted walls and a baths area.

Pars Rustica

El Ruedo was concerned with the production of olive oil, wine and cereals. In the farm buildings were found silos for grain, a wine press and an olive mill as well as warehouses to store wine and oil in amphorae fired in the huge kiln behind the villa.

El Ruedo 1st century AD to 5th century AD

Construction of El Ruedo occurred in four phases.
Phase 1 dates from the first half of the 1st century. The villa was built around a patio.
Phase 2 spans the 2nd century when the peristyle (covered porch) was built with a gallery supported on columns. During this phase the agricultural buildings to the east of the villa were constructed.
Phase 3, between the end of the 3rd century and the beginning of the 5th century saw the villa at its most splendid with construction of the nymphaeum (sanctuary dedicated to water nymphs) and lectus triclinaris (reclining seat in the triclinium) , the hipocaustum (underfloor heating system) and the possible praefurnium (private bathing area), the modifications of the cistern and the pictorial decoration of all the rooms that open to the patio, in the central and western sectors of the Villa. The peristyle was again restructured. The magnificent statues of hypnos, hermaphrodite and others now displayed in the museum, all derive from this period.
During Phase 4, the middle of the 5th century, a bread oven and a metal furnace were made and some of the water piping was renewed.

The Roman Necropolis

A necropolis was situated west and north of the villa. It contained over 400 graves containing the remains of the peasant population that farmed the villa between the 4th and 7th centuries. The graves were single or double and contained simple grave goods. It is thought that the traditional pagan rites were practised despite the necropolis being used after the Christianisation of the Roman Empire. Only one engraving of a cross (the cross as a Christian symbol began to be used in the 4th century AD) was found.

Today the necropolis is largely beneath the road into modern day Almedinilla.

Go to Explore Córdoba Province
Return to Romans in Andalucia series of articles

More in the Romans in Andalucia series

Romans in Andalucia | Rome takes over from Carthage
Romans in Andalucia | Rome subdues the Iberians 205 BC to 139 BC
Romans in Andalucia | Pax Andalucia between 100 BC and 180 AD, the Romanisation of Baetica
Romans in Andalucia | Decline and Fall of the Romans
Romans in Andalucia | Roman Engineering and Building
Romans in Andalucia | Roman Industry in Andalucia
History of Roman Mining in the Rio Tinto area
Mithraism - a Roman mystery
Ocvri - Ocuri A Roman military town
Guide to Baelo Claudia a Roman town on the Atlantic coast
Carteia - Carthaginian and Roman ruins
Salinas Romanas Iptuci
Phoenician - Roman Necropolis at Baria (Villaricos)
Fuente Alamo Roman Villa
Acinipo - a Roman town built for heroes
Teatro Romano Malaga
Finca del Secretario - a Roman industrial site
Aelia Augusta Italica - a Roman town fit for veterans

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