The Roman Villa la Olmeda

Pedrosa de la Vega, Palencia, Castilla y León.
Special mention / Diploma in the category Conservation in the year 2010.

Dating of the building: 4th - 5th century AD.

Applicant: Ángela García de Paredes and Ignacio Pedrosa.

Reason for the award :

For the in situ conservation of a large set of mosaics, now converted into a Museum, which owes its survival to the sensitivity of the owners of the estate on whose grounds these Roman remains were found fortuitously.

Similar to the legendary discovery of Pompeii, a farmer found a Roman bronze piece in 1968 in Olmeda. In 2009, a brand new site of Roman mosaics was reopened in the state-of-the-art exhibition space.

The accidental appearance of a small Roman piece of bronze when plowing, led to the discovery, in 1968, of the archaeological site of Olmeda. Excavations uncovered an enormous rural village from the late Roman Empire. For twelve years, Javier Cortés Álvarez, owner of the farm, excavated and maintained the site at his own expense. In 1980 he donated it to the Diputación de Palencia, and consequently, the Board of Trustees of the Roman Villa of Olmeda was founded. Excavations have been carried out in different phases, and between 2005 and 2009 the site was closed to the public for the execution of the basic project of “Adaptation of the archaeological site of the Roman town of Olmeda”.

At present, the archaeological site is organized in four naves, supported on metal pillars that surround the archaeological remains. The structural problem is approached from a cellularly organized space in which the roof is the protagonist. The interior is presented as a large continuous enclosure, with different integrated elements, without breaking this continuity. This system allows for any expansion that may be needed in the future. The structural framework has a rhomboidal base of steel plates. On the outside, it is clad in aluminum sheet, while on the inside it appears as a coffered ceiling. The perimetre enclosure is projected with perforated metal sheet modules, clad with translucent polycarbonate to protect the archaeological site and nuance the entry of natural light. The dies of the sheet metal enclosure vary their density according to the height to integrate with the wooded landscape. Inside the immense covered space, the different parts of the villa are wrapped in metallic fabric, favoring the contemplation of the illuminated mosaics in diverse areas.

The aim is to present the visitor with a complex organism with excavated sections and the various rooms that make up the town discovered to avoid devising the entire excavation at a single glance. The interior route, which is carried out employing a wooden walkway, surrounds the impluvium at a high level because of the mosaics, leading the visitor to the hot springs. This walk widens and narrows according to the points of contemplation of the mosaics under the continuous roof that surrounds the excavation.

Others awards in Castilla y León: