Spanish archeologists have uncovered evidence of a 1,000 year old vineyard in Zaballa, a medieval settlement that was abandoned in the 15th century. Researchers from the University of Basque Country have been working on excavating Zaballa and 300 other deserted settlements that were abandoned over time as settlers drifted away from rural areas and into towns. The archeologists were able to identify a a number of terraced fields at the site as vineyards by studying seeds, pollen, and tools left at the site.

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Image © Wendy Harman

The metal tools discovered at the site would not have been used for cereal crops like wheat, but appear to have been used to cultivate vines. Further study of the area will give scientists and historians information on the daily lives of historical people, as well as valuable insights into the changes these societies went through during the medieval period in response to political and economic pressures. The most recent findings at the Zaballa site have been published in a special issue of the journal Quaternary International.


Lead image © Vina Caltierra