Proyecto LArcHer | Excavaciones

Balma del barranc de la Fontanella


Vilafranca (Els Ports, Castelló)


Dídac Roman (UJI/PRE-EINA); Inés Domingo (ICREA-UB)

Field work

2011-2013, 2015


Discovered in the 1970s and publicised by Ferran Arasa based on the recovery of ceramic, lithic and bone remains that led him to suggest occupation from the end of the Neolithic period. The review of the materials recovered in those first surveys (deposited at the Museum of Fine Arts in Castelló) made us think of the possible existence of a pre-ceramic level (Epipalaeolithic/Mesolithic), which led us to carry out an initial excavation campaign in 2011, to confirm the preserved sequence. The data from that first campaign led us to continue the excavation work through three more campaigns.

The deposit has an interesting sequence that can be summarised in three main phases:

1. The oldest phase is an occupation linked to the Mesolithic, with notched and denticulated pieces dating from about 10,500 years ago. This is the first reference from this culture in the north of the Valencian region and it provides very important data for characterising this period in our region.

2. The next phase is an occupation linked to the geometric Mesolithic period dating from about 8,500 years ago, with the presence of trapezoids with two concave sides and the existence of some triangles.

3. The most recent level corresponds to one or more sporadic occupations at some point during the Neolithic period. The absence of diagnostic ceramics does not allow us to be more specific in classifying it. There are materials that suggest older phases, while others could correspond to the middle and late Neolithic phases or even to the Bronze Age.


ROMAN, D.; DOMINGO, I. 2014. Excavacions en la balma del barranc de la Fontanella (Vilafranca, Els Ports). Quaderns de Prehistoria i Arqueologia de Castelló 32.

ROMÁN, D.; DOMINGO, I.; NADAL, J. 2020. The Mesolithic In Fontanella Rock Shelter (Vilafranca, Eastern Mediterranean Iberia) And The Last Hunters-Gatherers In Northern Valencian Country. Proceedings of The Ninth International Conference on the Mesolithic in Europe (Belgrade 14th–18th, 2015).

LLOBERAS, LL.; ROMÁN, D.; DOMINGO, I.; NADAL, J. 2021. L’explotació dels mamífers a la balma del barranc de la Fontanella (Vilafranca, Els Ports, Castelló). Primeres dades de l’estudi arqueozoològic. V Jornades d’Arqueozoologia. Diputació de València.

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