“Settlements and Exchanges Around the Alboran Sea (Al-Andalus-Maghreb, 8th-15th centuries)"

This "Retos" (Challenges) R & D project,  funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, aims at studying the evolution of the settlements and exchanges between the coasts of the Alboran Sea along the medieval period (from the 8th to the 15th centuries). By “settlement”, we understand all kinds of human occupation to different degrees of gathering, from villages to farmsteads, in the rural sphere, to larger cities. In regard to the exchanges, we encompass different manifestations here: the traffic of raw material and products, of people —for different reasons such as migrations, training visits or invasions—, and finally and linked to the previous, of ideas. To accomplish such a task, the matter will be dealt in a multidisciplinary manner, undertaking an analysis of the existing written sources and the information produced after archaeological interventions.
This is a project lacking of direct precedents within the research landscape in Spain for both its subject and the intended evolutionary comparative method of application: the comparative study of the evolution of two geographically separated areas which are interrelated from a historical perspective. Among the most important goals during the three-year period of the project are: the development of an explanatory pattern on settlements around the littoral of the Alboran Sea, a detailed study of the commercialised products between both banks, to establish an analysis of the coastal societies and their economic exploitation of the space (fishing, salt mines, agriculture), the study of the socio-cultural and technological exchanges between both shores. In this regard, our research plan aims at giving a response to the challenge number six of the National Research Plan “Social Changes and Innovations”, particularly to its priorities, since its subject matter can help to understand the dynamics and consequences of two of the ever-present phenomena in the history of Spain: population migration and the exchanges as shaping elements of identity factors. In terms of archaeology, this project would contribute to the protection and preservation of culture and heritage, potentially getting to become a generator of new patrimonial elements, and eventually, to contribute to the development of new models of sustainable exploitation within the industry of cultural tourism. 

Translated into English by Luis F. Bravo Morales, luisbravomorales[arroba]lenguasmodernascom