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El Majuelo Fish Salting Factory

Garum Sexitanum was exported from Almuñécar (Sexi) to all points of the Roman Empire

By Nick Nutter | Last Updated 15 Mar 2022 | Granada | Places To Go
El Majuelo Fish Salting Factory Almunecar

El Majuelo Fish Salting Factory Almunecar

Garum was exported from Almuñécar (Sexi) to all points of the Roman Empire. Such was the quality of the product from Almuñécar that it had its own brand name, Garum Sexitanum. Classical authors such as Strabo and Pliny mention it by name in their chronicles.

El Majuelo Fish Salting Factory Almunecar

El Majuelo Fish Salting Factory Almunecar

The fish salting factory at Almuñécar was first built by the Phoenicians and extended by the Romans. It is at the foot of the hill on top of which is the Castillo de San Miguel and occupies the same site as the current botanical gardens of El Majuelo spreading across part of the northern and western slopes of the hill.

El Majuelo Fish Salting Factory Almunecar

El Majuelo Fish Salting Factory Almunecar

The factory consists of two parts, an administrative area with offices and warehouses and a production area. During excavations, archaeologists found large numbers of coins I the administration area.

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El Majuelo Fish Salting Factory Almunecar

El Majuelo Fish Salting Factory Almunecar

Fish fillets were layered with salt in the pits and left for 20 days, after which they were packed in amphorae and exported. The production of salted fish and garum was the main economic activity in Almuñécar. Garum is manufactured from a puree of fish waste, intestines, liver and other ingredients. Recipes were closely guarded. The sauce was used as a condiment and a seasoning, much as we use fish sauce in Thai cooking or Worcestershire sauce in British recipes.

El Majuelo Fish Salting Factory Almunecar

El Majuelo Fish Salting Factory Almunecar

Water for the fish salting factory was brought in as part of the main water supply to the town. An aqueduct was built in the 1st century BC to fill the increasing demands of the citizens and the factory. The vaulted pipeline from the aqueduct is still visible beneath the pedestrian bridge that traverses the salt factory site.

Entrance to the El Majuelo Fish Salting Factory is through the Majuelo Botanical Garden. The park is open every day from 8am until 10pm and entrance is free.

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  • Brian Neale - 4 Mar 2022
    History interests me very much
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