In summer 2015 our project worked in collaboration with the History Department in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and York International in order to offer a new experiential education course abroad in classical archaeology (HIST 3136).
Therefore, our field school became part of the York University History Department curriculum under the form of a six credit course. The course began with eight three-hour lecture/discussion classes over a span of two weeks at York in which the students examined the historical context of late-Iberian/early-Roman Spain in the second and first centuries B.C.E. and explored significant contemporary archaeological theories, methods and practices. Four weeks were then devoted to the application of this archaeological theory and method to the excavation of House 2 in Can Mateu. Themes studied included: the process of excavation (tools and techniques, plans and sections); soil and stratigraphy (applying the “Harris matrix” and stratigraphic units); recognition and analysis of material finds (pottery, coins, remains of building structures); the interpretation and synthesis of archaeological data; the value of archaeological evidence for historical analysis of the shifting social, economic, cultural and political conditions at the site in its broader Iberian and Mediterranean contexts.
Our aim for the first campaign of excavations was to start the excavation of house number 2 in Can Mateu. The house was only partially and superficially uncovered during the campaign of 1998 but was never excavated prior to 2015. The main goals were therefore two: first, we wanted to uncover the entire plan of house in order to have a first idea of its total surface, layout and state of preservation. The second objective was to date the abandonment of the house and see if it was contemporary to the one documented for house number 1.
Both objectives were accomplished. Thanks to our first campaign of excavation we know now that the total surface of the house is around 100 square meters and the remains seems to be very well preserved. As it can be seen in the plan (below), the household is composed of at least five rooms (rooms 3 to 7) of different sizes. There are also various access points that we discovered during our excavation. The main access from the street to the house seems to be through room 4. Other connections between rooms can be detected, such as the access between Room 4 and 3, 3 and 5 and a possible smaller access point between rooms 6 and 7 that will need to be confirmed in the future. There is however no access point between Room 2 and 3 with the rest of the rooms which suggests either two different household units or a separate space used primarily for storage purposes. This theory is reinforced by the fact that room 4 (and thus the house) has entry to the street located to the right of the house, while room 2 already has an access point on the other side.