Europa Stadium works reveal artefacts from the 14th century

The ceramics are being studied at the Gibraltar Museum.
The ceramics are being studied at the Gibraltar Museum. / SUR
  • The section of defensive wall and items of pottery support the belief that there was a settlement at Europa Flats in the Medieval-Moorish period

The works being carried in the area of the Europa Stadium have uncovered an underground section of a wall dating back to the Merinid dynasty in medieval times. It is located near the Shrine of our Lady of Europe, and would have overlooked the Strait of Gibraltar. It is likely that this is part of the original line wall which was constructed under the instructions of Abu'l Hassan between 1333 and 1374 (when control of Gibraltar passed from Merinid to Nasrid hands).

The Moorish wall has now been protected by a geotextile and covered, and full information about it has been recorded by archaeologists. This discovery appears to support documentary evidence that there was a settlement in the Europa Flats area during the Medieval-Moorish period (711-1462) and historians believe it was at this point that Emir Abu'l Hassan constructed defensive walls all the way to Europa Point, making areas which were previously unsecure open for settlement.

It had previously been suggested that the Nuns' Well, located at Europa Flats, may date from this period, but archaeological excavations close to this site were inconclusive. However, excavations close to the present Shrine of Our Lady of Europe did reveal evidence of a 14th-century Moorish guardhouse. Until now, that has been the only evidence supporting a Moorish presence on the Europa Flats.

The construction works have also revealed pieces of Moorish ceramics, which are now being studied at the Gibraltar National Museum. This reinforces the view that the area of Europa Flats was settled during the 14th century.

Dr John Cortes, the Minister for Heritage, says that slowly but surely a picture is being built up of Gibraltar's past through such discoveries.