Resumen: Las excavaciones arqueológicas realizadas en la fortaleza más renombrada de los reyes de Asturias, el castillo de Gauzón, desde el año 2007 han proporcionado un compendio de informaciones y datos que abren nuevas perspectivas sobre el origen de las fortificaciones altomedievales asturianas. El conjunto de dataciones de C14, sumado al análisis estructural del yacimiento, a los materiales, a su cotejo con la prolífica documentación escrita y con los estudios previos de otros autores, permiten desarrollar en esta primera síntesis una propuesta de evolución de la fortaleza.
Palabras clave: castillos, Antigüedad Tardía, Edad Media, feudalismo, reino de Asturias, prerrománico, cultura material, arquitectura de poder, Alfonso III , Cruz de la Victoria.
Abstract: The archaeological excavations realized in the most renowned fortress of the kings of Asturias, Gauzón’s castle, from the year 2007 have provided a compendium of information that open new perspectives on the origin of the early medieval Asturian fortifications. The set of dates of C14, added to the structural analysis of the castle, to the materials, to his check with the prolific written documentation and with the previous studies of other authors, they allow to develop in this first synthesis an offer of evolution of the fortress:
Phase 0: The archaeological excavations do not allow up to the moment to establish safely a phase premedieval in the Peñón de Raíces, though one starts being accumulated a combine of evidences that appear in this respect. We are talking about a set of materials (terra sigillata hispanic, common ceramics, glaze, latericio) in study and that seem to place in Roman chronologies. To it is necessary to add the existence of a previous structure re-taken advantage in the later work of the medieval door. These Roman occupations have been documented in major or minor degree in other medieval Asturian fortifications. Inside the peninsular and European panorama one warns the first process of fortification prefeudal between IVth and VIth century A.D., and that it is not only a consequence of the warlike climate or of a social instability and politics derived from the German invasions but the manifestation of a new organization of the space, with an increase of the paper played by the local areas of power and a substitution of ancient centers of power (villas for castras or turres).
Phase 1: We represent at this moment to a new degree in the evolution of the local hierarchies of late antiquity, which agree his presence in the territory. After a possible occupation premedieval little detected, in the Peñón de Raíces there is raised an accession strengthened in height, in which there are used materials and technologies very refined of Roman tradition (masonry with mortar, brick, tegulae), pits, banks and ramps. His location on line of coast suggests an interest to control the sea and raises the maintenance of the routes of Atlantic navigation. The second half of the VIIth century and the beginnings of the VIIth appear as a importantly moment of a process of fortification documented in European varied spaces (In France, in Italy, in Ireland, with raths and crannogs, in Scotland with ringforts as Dunadd, in Germany, with fortifications like Christenberg or Büraberg, in England, with a backing of the elites happened by a mesh of aristocratic and royal accessions in the VIIth). We would be therefore before the second phase of prefeudal fortification dated between the VIIth century and beginning of the VIIth
Phase 2: East phase of Gauzón’s castle corresponds with the fortifications of the first feudalism, which live through a process of development between the centuries VII-IXth . It is fitted in the period of consolidation of the state formations. In consequence, the privileged groups will have major resources overturned in the design of a powerful architecture of power. These times define the internal design of the principal castles across a program of development and the exposition of a complex that drinks from the court spaces, being organized in a sphere of public and political character (aula or tower), another residential private road (camera or dependences) and a third ecclesiastic private road (churches or chapels). In Gauzón’s castle it is the phase of major brilliance. Between the VIIth and IXth century, the kings of Asturias reform the castle, with the construction of a monumental door, a tower of rectangular plant and carved stone used as emblem of power, a church dedicated to San Salvador and possibly a residential sector deprived with dependences and a bath.
Phase 3: Inside The European panorama this phase is fitted inside the full feudalism, with the second process of development of the castles between the XIth and XIIth century. The maturity of the territorial organization dominated by the aristocratic families and the extraordinary flow of human, political and economic forces assembled by these races sows the brilliance of the feudal system. The height of the tower takes place as emblem of power with quadrangular towers and major profusion of circular towers. There triumph definitively the royal models of rooms of dignity, churches inside castles, now of Romanesque style and private chambers that the principal count lineages had made his in the X. The dignifying and the enrichment will be progressive between the XIth and the XIIth. In Gauzón’s castle, this moment turns out to be defined by a new episode of constructions and occupations.
Phase 4: If the XIIth represents the moment of maturity of the castle, from the XIIth century it takes place a long period of deep mutations and decadence, caused by the irruption of new centers of power (cities), of new forms of rural organization (towers and strong houses) or a restructuring towards more residential uses. In Gauzón, the presence of the city of Avilés, and his donation to the order of Santiago they indicate his progressive decline. In the deposit there receive documents ceramics of import associated with the presence of a lordly elite, though constructive works or important reforms do not receive documents already. Finally, in the XIVth century, on the occasion of the civil wars, the castle suffers a process of dismantlement.
Phases 5 and 6: In the XVth the castle is already re-turned into enclosure of cattle, and his defensive structures will know a continued process of plunder, being taken advantage of his stones as constructive material of the villages of the environment.
Keywords: castles, Late Antiquity, Middle Age, feudalism, Kingdom of Asturias, prerromanesque, material culture, architecture of power, Alfonso III , Cross of Victory.