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Making wine like Iberians: international summer work camp at La Ciutadella Ibèrica of Calafell

Monday, 18 August, 2014 to Saturday, 30 August, 2014
Manel Gómez
Josep Pou
Oriol Saura
Number of Participants / Visitors / Audience: 

The Youth Department of the Autonomous Government of Catalonia organises summer work camps of international exchange in the region. These work camps are different projects where 18-29 years old people participate doing tasks as services to the local community, helping people, protection of nature or intervention on historical heritage among others.

The work camps in Calafell are managed by the Pere Tarres Foundation and the Municipality of Calafell is one of the supporting organizations. The Iberian Citadel of Calafell has held three of these work camps so far (2010, 2012 and 2013) being construction the core theme of the work camp. Participants learnt about the construction techniques of the Iberians and made an important contribution to the reconstruction of some parts of the archaeological site.
In 2014, the Iberian Citadel will also host a work camp again, this year with different dates: from 18-30 August with 24 young people aged 18-29 coming from different countries of the world (Armenia, Taiwan, Czech Republic, Russia, France, Japan, Greece or Poland)

In the framework of 2014 summer work camp, our proposal is to focus work on one of the aspects of the Iberian culture that has been more investigated lately: the production of wine.

Archeological evidences

Based on studies made in different Iberian archaeological sites it has been possible to reconstruct the process of making wine, a drink that was introduced in the settlers of El Penedès area since 7th century BC according to many evidences found.

Just to mention the more significant evidences, we will refer to the findings of two archaeological sites. On the one hand, Font de la Canya hill in Avinyonet del Penedès, a huge field of silos where evidences of carbonized grape seeds were found and dated 7th century BC.

On the other hand, the Iberian Citadel of Calafell, where besides carbonized grape seeds found too, the finding of a grape in carbonized state stands out, dating back from 3rd century BC.
Despite these findings, no elements used for wine making have been found in any El Penedès site. However, these facilities have been documented in other Iberian sites of the same chronologies.
What we intend with this project is to make a replica in the experimental area of the Citadel of Calafell of the facilities identified as wine production centres of two Iberian sites excavated in El Campello (Alacant, Comunitat Valenciana) and Verdú (Catalonia).

At the Illeta dels Banyets site (El Campello) it was identified a place where grapes were trampled to make wine later.
The other one is the Iberian village of Els Estinclells (Catalonia) where it was excavated the base of a press in a room where remains of grape seeds have been recovered. In this case, next to the site a project of experimental archaeology was developed in order to know the press functioning.
Chronology is from 3rd century BC in both cases therefore it coincides with the phase of reconstruction of the Citadel of Calafell.


The participants were divided in three working groups, one for producing clay bricks, and the other ones for building the trampling platform and the press area with the help of the staff. This took 3/4 days and once it was done we had to let the structures dry (pics 1-8). While building process, we received the visit of the Mayor of Calafell, Mr Joan Olivella, Joan Plana (representative of Catalan Government, Youth Dept), Raimon Martínez (Fundació Pere Tarres) and other representatives (pic 15). On Friday 22, the participants visited the VINSEUM the museum of Wine Cultures in Catalonia. We scheduled a guided tour where we learnt on the History of wine culture in El Penedès area (pic 20).

On the 2nd week, the participants went to a vineyard in Calafell with the aim to pick grapes with pruning scissors or even using replica pruning hooks as documented in the excavations at the Iberian Citadel. The grapes were put into baskets and transported to the Citadel with a tractor. Almost 1000 kilos of grapes were ready for trampling as a result of the harvest (pics 9-11).

The trampling process proved that the platform worked quite well. The grape-juice was collected first in the kalathoi vessels made in the Verdú kiln and then poured out into bigger vessels for fermentation (pics 12, 14 & 18).

The remainders of the trampling process were taken to a second pressing on the wine press section.

The process was repeated until producing around 1000 litres of grape-juice which has been kept partially inside the defense tower of the Citadel and also some of the recipients outdoors.


Pic 1 - Construction of the platform for...
Pic 2 - Construction of the platform for...
Pic 3 - Construction of the platform for...
Pic 4 - Wine press section wall
Pic 5 - Wine press section
Pic 6 - Wine press section
Pic 7 - Wine press (front view)
Pic 8 - Time for a selfie
Pic 9 - A trip to the vineyard for grape...
PIc 10 - Using replicas of documented...
Pic 11 - Baskets full of grapes
PIc 12 - Grape trampling
Pic 13 - Grape trampling
Pic 14 - Pouring out the grape-juice into...
Pic 15 - Mayor and organisation delegates...
Pic 16 - TV coverage
Pic 17 - Wine press
Pic 18 - Grape-Juice in a ceramic recipient
PIc 19 - Harvesting
PIc 20 - Visiting VINSEUM in Vilafranca del...
Pic 21 - Storage into defense tower