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Archaeology of Violence in Asturias: Battlefield of Oviedo / Spanish Civil War.

Location: Oviedo, Spain

July 1, 2018 to July 15, 2018

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Deadline Type: 
Contact for details

Flyer: PDF icon archaeology_of_the_spanish_civil_war_information_packet_2018.pdf

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified


Project Director:

Alfonso Fanjul Peraza. Phd. in Archaeology.

Project Description

During nearly one year, the city of Oviedo suffered one of the biggest battles of the spanish civil war. Our project in Paisano´s Hill, tries to turn a trench complex into the first touristic site of the Civil War in the city.

Today It may be that none of the daily tourists going up to view the city of Oviedo from Paisano Hill, at the summit of Mount Naranco, are aware that they are treading on the battleground of one of the numerous battles that took place for control of Oviedo during the Spanish Civil War.

At eight o'clock in the evening, on 20th February 1937, the red army forces launched an attack on the nationalist troops from Africa, who were defending Paisano Hill. The aim of the attack was to take the hill, and then proceed downward toward Oviedo, blocking the pathway to the city allowing withdrawal and arrival of reinforcements. According to the Logos Agency correspondent at the Asturian front, the African troops allowed the red troops to approach to a tactical distance, from which their hand grenades could not reach the nationalist trenches. After opening fire on the attacking republican troops from a close distance, the Moroccan soldiers burst upon them en masse attacking with bayonets, forcing them downhill, and leaving three hundred corpses on the slopes of Paisano Hill. Minutes later, according to the  journalist,  "a deathly silence fell on Mount Naranco as the Muslims set about gathering up the enemy dead". The aim of the project started to make the fortifications located at the summit of Paisano Hill accessible to visitors, taking into consideration the constant stream of tourists in the lookout area for Oviedo. At the same time, students, researchers and amateurs in archaeology were able to learn techniques for archaeological documentation of military conflicts, applicable to sites in other parts of the world. Actually the first target of the project has become the developing of a research of an archaeology of violence instead of the touristic view that started the project. In 2018 we plan to continue digging a communist fortress, formed by trenches, bunkers and some underearth tunnels, that we start digging in the summer of 2016. 

Period(s) of Occupation: Historical Archaeology - Spanish Civil War

We have a group on the project in facebook - archaeology of violence in Asturias project, were you can check some of our photos and research.

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 15 days.

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 
Experience Non required

Room and Board Arrangements

TRANSPORT. There are airlines from Paris and London to Asturias airport. If you travell to Madrid There are buses from Madrid to Oviedo every two hours from Mendez Alvaro bus station.  There is a subway that will take you from Madrid airport to the Mendez Alvaro bus station. The subway doesn't operate during the night. Avoid taking a taxi!– It can cost over fifty dollars to the bus station, whereas the subway is 5 euros.

TRANSPORT FROM ASTURIAS AIRPORT AND OVIEDO BUS/TRAIN STATIONS We pick up students from the airport in Asturias that is known either as Asturias airport or Oviedo airport, depending on the airline you use.

WORKING HOURS: From 9am to 14.00 pm excavations – Lunch in the excavation, some  rest in the afternoon and them we have laboratory (cleaning and catalogue of artifacts found during the day). Evenings are free - (we usually take students to have some drink in Oviedo) Dinner at home.

ACCOMMODATION: We stay in a countryside house were there is place enough for everybody and we can use a big room as laboratory. If its sunny we work with the materials outside in the garden. The house is an old XIX century villa located 6 km from Oviedo in a village.

800 $ the season.

Academic Credit

Number of credits offered: none
Tuition, transport and a place to stay are included in the fee.


Contact Information
Alfonso Fanjul
Recommended Bibliography: 

FANJUL PERAZA, A., DUARTE, R., FEITO ÁLVAREZ, F. y BRACERO, C., (2014): "The forgotten battle.  Archaeology of the Spanish civil war in the trenches of Oviedo´s siege".  Trébole. Boletín cultural de Asturias en América, 3: 21-33.

DÍAZ HERRERO, M., FEITO ÁLVAREZ, F. y FANJUL PERAZA, A. (2014): "Munición extranjera en la batalla de oviedo 1936/37. Estudio material de las excavaciones arqueológicas en el pico paisano". Trébole. Boletín cultural de Asturias en América, 3: 16-20.