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AZAILA (“Beligio”) Teruel, Spain.

Hispano-Roman town, possibly Beligio, 12 km W of Escatron. A fortified oppidum on the Cabezo de Alcala which covered the slopes of the hill and the surrounding plain as far as the river Aguas. Nothing is known of its history, but there were at least three towns: the first, founded in the Iron Age (ca. 500 B.C.), occupied by the Iberians from the middle of the 5th c. B.C., and destroyed by Cato between 197 and 195 B.C.; the second, reconstructed in the Iberian fashion on the ruins of the first, ca. 195 B.C., and destroyed in the Sertorian wars between 81 and 72 B.C.; a large amount of material from the second town was used during the Roman period for the construction of a third town. After the battle of Ilerda, 49 B.C., it was not rebuilt.

The ruins are well preserved. Excavation has uncovered a complex defensive system including a ditch and drawbridge, and walls of small rubble which follow the contour of the hill. They apparently date from the Republican period, and are arranged in terraces with communicating stairways. Two streets climb directly to the acropolis and a third serves as a ring road. The decumanus runs N-S, divides into two in the last third of its course, and has short cardines, one of which ends in a watch tower; all the streets were paved with large irregular stones and had sidewalks, reflecting advanced city planning. The approach to the acropolis was protected by two towers. Except for a few houses (one with grindstones) and the guard house, the N part is occupied by a large house or palace. In the center of the oppidum there is a small temple in antis and another of the native type near a deep and well-built cistern. In the first temple was found a group of bronze statues; two of them, from before 49 B.C., were once thought to be Augustus and Livia but almost certainly represent the ranking Roman of the district and his wife. The remains of a horse, fragments of a bed, and some ladles were also found here, also a little bull from the native temple.

The pottery includes painted Iberian ware, Campanian, and common ware (wheel-turned jars and amphorae), but no terra sigillata. None of the 802 coins studied are later than 45 B.C. Unlike that of the Bronze Age tumulus, the site of the Ibero-Roman cemetery is unknown.

Finds are in the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid and the Zaragoza Museum.


J. Cabré, “Los bronces de Azaila” ArchEspArq 3 (1925); id., Azaila (1929); id., Corpus Vasorum Hispanorum. Cerámica de Azaila: Museos de Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza (1944); P. Beltrán, “La cronología del poblado ibérico del Cabezo de Alcalá (Azaila) según las monedas allí aparecidas,” Boletin Arqueológico del Sudeste Español 1 (1945) 135; A. Beltrán, “Notas sobre la cronología del Cabezo de Alcalá en Azaila (Teruel),” Caesaraugusta 23-24 (1964) 79; id., “Arqueologia e Historia de las ciudades antiguas del Cabezo de Alcalá de Azaila (Teruel),” Etudios . . . Zaragoza 2 (1973) 95.


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