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A Unesco body calls for “paralyzing the destruction process” of three Tartessian settlements in the center of Huelva

Icomos, UNESCO's advisory body on heritage issues, has sounded the international alarm. The head of La Joya, in addition to those of Mondaca and Roma, unbuilt hills in the center of Huelva and where Tartessian populations settled, “are severely threatened by urban planning, the materialization of which would mean an irrecoverable loss for cultural heritage. and natural not only from Huelva, but from all over Spain “, reads the Report on the Cabezos de Huelva System, accessed by Newsfresh.

Icomos recalls that the Huelva City Council has given authorization to build on the Jewel ―a Tartessian necropolis with numerous tombs and archaeological jewels from more than 2,500 years ago that have been exhibited in the main museums of the world― four towers of up to 15 floors over 26,000 meters squares. For this reason, it demands to stop “immediately the processing” of the urban plans UE-1 (La Joya) and PERI 13 (Mondaca head). The Unesco advisory body proposes to erect these buildings “in other less sensitive areas from the natural and cultural point of view” to avoid their complete destruction.

“Cabezos have played a relevant role for human beings throughout history,” says the Hispania Nostra association, an entity for the defense of Heritage that has included them on its Red List. La Joya, for example, hides one of the most significant orientalizing necropolises on the Peninsula, in which 33 tombs have been excavated with an abundance, diversity and unique material riches, since they are objects of bronze, silver, gold, ivory, alabaster and even ostrich eggs. Its inhabitants enjoyed a prosperous economy based on relations with all of Iberia, Cyprus, the city of Tire and part of the Middle East.

Ivory casket found in Cabezo de La Joya ( Huelva). Archaeological Museum of Huelva

The heads are hills between 50 and 68 meters high next to the Huelva estuary that, due to changes in the coastline, were integrated into the urban fabric of the capital, far from the sea, but are not urbanized . For this reason, the Huelva City Council has urban plans for them (towers up to 30 meters high) ”, which, according to Icomos, will mean the“ destruction of natural, cultural, environmental and landscape values, especially the context and the enclave of the Tartessian necropolis of La Joya ”.

Comparison of the current state and the urban forecast on the head of La Joya, in Huelva. Icomos
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The citizen associations Huelva looks at you, the Friends of Parque Moret Platform, Ecologists in Action, Peripheries, Culture and Society Platform, ARQQ, Fridays For Future Huelva, Neighbors of La Merced and Circle of Cultural Heritage denounced the municipal plans before Icomos, which has now made its report public.

It reads that “the plans approved on the Jewel in 2004 and 2020, within the framework of the general plan for Huelva, are incompatible with the natural, cultural, environmental and landscape values ​​of the Cabezos, as determined by specialists and objective institutions and independents despised by the Huelva City Council ”. And he mentions the Andalusian Ombudsman, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain, the University of Huelva and 45 research centers.

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Four cement towers will cover the great Tartessian necropolis of Huelva

For this reason, Icomos claims to paralyze these developments, “begin a review of the general plan of Huelva that provides for the public enjoyment of the Cabezos”. Likewise, it requires “to protect, clean up and repair the slopes of existing hills urgently as a first step for a future enhancement of those spaces.”

Each square meter of these hills is the bearer of valuable and irreplaceable archaeological information ”, says Icomos

For centuries, the headlands always provided a stable, elevated terrain for the control of the territory, natural defenses against natural phenomena, piracy or invasions by other peoples. They fostered the existence of a safe harbor in the Huelva estuary, a commercial and cultural exchange enclave with other Mediterranean civilizations attracted by its proximity to the Iberian pyrite mines, exploited since Prehistory.

Icomos recalls that the current city of Huelva, with just 12,000 inhabitants at the beginning of the 19th century, experienced a spectacular development with the arrival of foreign companies to exploit the so-called Iberian Pyrite Belt. The urban fabric began to spread around the headlands, which remained undeveloped, with a marked natural character, until in the second half of the 20th century urban planning proposed its occupation, “at a time when heritage, cultural landscape and environments natural resources full of biodiversity were not yet values ​​to be preserved according to the criteria that prevail at the present time. ”

Elevation of one of the 15-story buildings in front of the head of La Joya. Icomos

The report also attacks the Ministry of Culture of the Junta de Andalucía, because “it has not urged any modification either, since the Territorial Delegation of the Ministry in Huelva, through the reports of the Provincial Commission of Historical Heritage, has only imposed regularly the obligation of previous excavations without excessive difficulties ”.

“The Cabezos de Huelva System calls for a more sensitive treatment with the role that it should play in a more sustainable Huelva and more in accordance with the European and world guidelines on the application of the principles of urban ecology to the future of cities”, says Icomos . “Principles that are incompatible with the construction of massive blocks of houses in height due to the environmental damage to which they induce by concentrating services of all kinds and being points of convergence of road traffic, in addition to the energy waste that the concentration in height of a number of plants that exceeds the traditional standards of the sector ”.

And he concludes: “Each square meter of these hills is the bearer of valuable and irreplaceable archaeological information that deserves to be preserved for a future research and valorization plan that, eventually, may accompany the integration of those spaces full of values ​​in the city for citizen enjoyment. , whether they are tourists or countrymen. ”

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