43-The Interpretation Centre of Local Archaeology

Geoparque Villuercas > CULTURAL SITES > 43-The Interpretation Centre of Local Archaeology

The replica of a cave with cave paintings and the reproduction of several of the pieces of what is known as the Bronze-Age Treasure of Berzocana are some of the attractions of the Archaeology Interpretation Centre of Berzocana. By visiting it we can go on an imaginary journey through the development and the history of all the cultures established in these valleys over millennia. More than 250 archaeological examples from different periods are evidence of this.

It is one of the interpretation and information centres of the Villuercas-Ibores-Jara Global Geopark of the UNESCO and one of the most important for understanding the past of the area. It opened its doors in 2013, although what is known as the Archaeological Museum of Berzocana was its forerunner. Its collection has been enriched by examples from the excavations which the Universidad de Extremadura, the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and the Universidad de Barcelona have carried out all over the area. It is worth emphasising those of the location itself, Berzocana, which for three years allowed the location and excavation of over a hundred tombs of various types.

An important settlement which contributed very valuable examples is the late Roman site of ‘Cuesta Quemada’ of the Dehesa Boyal de Valhondo. The remains were determined to be of a rural mining settlement of the 3rd or 4th century A.D. Once it has been studied a large proportion of the recovered material, which is of incalculable value to the culture of Extremadura, is exhibited to the public in this Berzocana centre.

Other sources for acquiring examples were donations from private individuals and the Church, to be precise the Cofradía de los Santos (Brotherhood of Saints) of Berzocana. In all, the centre holds some 250 archaeological items from various historical and prehistoric periods. The Interpretation Centre is located in the building where the old library used to be and before that the village school. The building has entrances suitable for people with reduced mobility and an inner staircase linking its two storeys. Access for the disabled is possible from the outside for either of its storeys.

The exhibits allow us to go on a journey through the prehistory and history of the cultures and peoples which inhabited the territories of the Geopark from the Palaeolithic onwards during successive periods and epochs. This journey is divided into rooms devoted to the periods of Prehistory, Rome, and the Middle Ages. The examples are exhibited in display cabinets and identified by their corresponding cards. The explanatory panels relate and interpret the most important aspects of each historical moment together with the support of location maps, diagrams, descriptions, photographs…Highlights include replicas of original pieces such as those of the two torcs (necklaces in the form of a circular horseshoe) of the Treasure of Berzocana (the original is in the National Archaeological Museum) and reproductions such as those of the decorated stelae of Solana de Cabañas and Cañamero.

One of the main attractions of the centre is a replica of a cave devoted to the world of schematic cave paintings and their interpretation. It is located on the lower ground floor of the building and in the darkness of the room an audiovisual is shown on cave paintings in general and those of the Geopark in particular. As an activity to complement the interest of the centre, it is possible to go on a chronological guided tour within it through the various exhibition sections from prehistory to medieval times. Alongside the interpretation centre is a small plaza where parking is forbidden, but both cars and coaches can park on the Plaza de España which is very close.