Construction work on new sporting facilities in Europa Point have unearthed evidence suggesting the area was home to a settlement during Gibraltar’s medieval Moorish period between 711-1462.
A 14th Century Moorish Guardhouse was discovered in excavations close to the present Shrine of Our Lady of Europe and various Moorish artefacts have been found.
It is believed the settlement, known as Corral de Fez, was established during the time of the Marinid Dynasty after the recapture of Gibraltar in 1333.
It was at this point that the Emir Abu’l Hassan constructed defensive walls all the way to Europa Point, making previously unsecure areas open for settlement.
A Marinid wall, which would have overlooked the Strait of Gibraltar, was found in the area of the Shrine as well, and it is likely that it was erected between 1333 and 1374.
It was previously suggested that the Nuns’ Well, which is located on Europa Flats, also dates back to this period but the archaeological evidence was inconclusive.
Announcing the findings, the Gibraltar Government said: “With the ongoing works for the Europa Point Stadium and associated accommodation, archaeological watching briefs are being carried out on all ground works.”
“These are being conducted by the Government archaeologist and a team of archaeologists from the Gibraltar National Museum working for the Ministry for Heritage.”
Smaller artefacts such as Moorish ceramics were found in the area of Europa Flats as well, which suggests that this area was occupied by a settlement.
The Government spokesman said the Moorish wall has been protected by a geotextile and covered and all necessary information has been recorded.
The other artefacts are currently at the Gibraltar National Museum for further study.
“These unique finds highlight the importance of archaeological watching briefs and this kind of work is an example of different departments working in partnership,” the Government statement read, adding that the Heritage Minister, Dr John Cortes, is pleased that “the picture of Gibraltar’s past is being recreated with every new discovery”.