Acciona Energía began construction of the Extremadura I, II and III photovoltaic complex, with 125 megawatt peak (MWp) capacity, in November 2021. Archaeological remains were discovered during the clearing of the land prior to construction. From that moment on, the company began working with archaeologists, heritage conservation specialists and the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage of the Regional Government of Extremadura to locate, delimit and safeguard the sites.
11 sites in 30 hectares
The joint work, according to the company, has made it possible to discover a total of 11 sites, six of them from the Chalcolithic period, dating from the last centuries of the 4th and first centuries of the 3rd millennium BC, and another five from the Bronze and Iron Ages (2nd and 1st millennium BC, respectively) and up to the period of the Lower Roman Empire (3rd to 5th centuries AD). The archaeological site represents 30 hectares of archaeological protection, so that Acciona Energy has been adapting the design and configuration of its photovoltaic project to ensure the protection and preservation of the remains that have been demarcated, says the subsidiary of the Acciona Group.
Mikel Ortiz de Latierro, Director of Environment, Social, Health and Safety and Quality of Acciona Energía: "Protecting the remains found has been a priority for us from the very first minute. To this end, we have hired the services of an archaeology and heritage conservation company, we have worked in constant coordination with the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage of the Regional Government of Extremadura and we have adapted the initial configuration of the plant, adapting it to the distribution and protection margins of the sites".
Perimeter protection for the sites
The company reports that so far work has been done to delimit the real extension of the sites by means of superficial stripping of the vegetation cover, and a perimeter protection area of 25 meters has been applied, which will be exempt from all types of assemblies.
Integral excavation and financing
During this initial phase, some pieces have been found that remain under study in the archaeology laboratory of the research team that has accompanied the works. The objective now, says the company, is to undertake the comprehensive excavation through a program of actions fully financed by Acciona Energía.
Mikel Ortiz de Latierro, Director of Environment, Social, Health and Safety and Quality of Acciona Energía:"We approach this project with great enthusiasm, as the recovery of this valuable heritage will undoubtedly boost tourism and the economy of the area. In fact, we have already received the first academic visitors who have shown interest in the sites".
Cortijo Lobato site
The company's communiqué states that "among the remains found, the Cortijo Lobato site stands out, where one of the six "moat enclosure" type sites dating from the 3rd millennium BC is located. This type of fortifications, formed by a wall with bastions, is surrounded by a series of concentric moats drawn around that delimit the ancient settlements of prehistoric Chalcolithic communities and cover a large area of land. The find is exceptional because of its good state of preservation and will be key to further study of the period".
Alicia Lizarraga, Environment Manager of Acciona Energía: "these fortifications usually delimit a settlement area, as well as places of control of the territory. Their function could be defensive, both to protect the community and resources from competition with wild animals and from possible conflicts with other populations".
The previous prospection of the terrain and the archaeological clearing works carried out before starting the construction of the photovoltaic complex, have allowed the location and delimitation of the site, which in the specific case of Cortijo Lobato, would have been practically unrecognizable to the naked eye, states Acciona Energía.
This type of remains are practically unrecognizable to the naked eye, as the action of time and vegetation tend to erase them from the surface, making it impossible to identify them. In the specific case of Cortijo Lobato, the remains have been identified thanks to the previous intensive prospecting of the land and the archaeological clearing work carried out before starting the construction of the photovoltaic complex, which have allowed their location and delimitation.
About Acciona Energía
, a subsidiary of the Acciona Group, is a company based in Madrid and has been providing solutions based on renewable energies for 30 years. It has renewable energy assets in five technologies (wind, solar photovoltaic, hydroelectric, biomass and solar thermal), claiming to reach 11 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy in operation and the goal of reaching 20 GW by 2025.