Acinipo Archaeological Site
Acinipo Archaeological Site – Ronda
Acinipo Archaeological Site is located in the so-called “Mesa de Ronda la Vieja”, Partido Rural de Peñacerrada, at km 11.8 of the road MA-7402 that leads us in the direction of Setenil de las Bodegas, near the Ronda la Vieja Fountain.
The human presence in Acinipo began around the year 3000 B.C., although little is known about this period. In the ninth century B.C., Acinipo come into contact with the Phoenicians established in the Malaga coast, thus beginning the Iron Age. Some tiem later the place is abandoned, and repopulated again in the V century B.C. becoming a walled Iberian city.
The arrival of the Romans in 206 B.C. produced major changes in Acinipo, as the minting and the construction of large public buildings. The splendor of the city lasted until the second century A.C. Then Acinipo began its decline, gradually being abandoned and replaced by Ronda as the main centre of the mountain range. In Moorish times, the old theater became a watchtower.
Acinipo was known from the sixteenth century onwards as “Ronda la Vieja”. The first excavations did not begin until 1967. And although new campaigns were conducted, currently most of the city is still to be investigated.
The Theather is the most important building of Acinipo. Its bleacher (cavea) (1) is excavated directly in the limestone of the place, this operation also being used as a quarry for the construction of the stage (2). The orchestra was decorated with limestone and pink marble Stone (3). Due to its constructive characteristics, the building had to be erected at the end of the 1st century BC. A that time Acinipo was a very prosperous city, which minted its own currency.
This chronology makes it one of the oldest Roman theaters in Spain. It is estimated that its capacity was about 2000 spectators, since many sat at the top, where the stands were made of Wood. (4)
After the decline of the city, the theater was abandoned and its structures were used to build a watchtower of the whole environment, which was in use until the 15th century. (5)
The striking structures of the building explain that it has always been visible, as reflected in the engravings of travelers and scholars of the 19th century.
The Domus is the prototype housing of the wealthy clases of a Roman city. In Acinipo we only know one and only incompletely.
Th estructure is formed by two different spaces located on two levels. In the lower part we find romos that could have been used for cooking and storage. (1)
Also, a Lararium was placed here, altar of cult to the domestic gods, symbol of protection of the house and its inhabitants. (2)
The communication of the first terrace with the second is resolved by a stairway space, with undefined functions. (3)
This part was later transformed for industrial use, (4) possibly coinciding with the progressive abandonment of the places of urban habitation by the citizen aristocracy in favor of rural villages.
Body higiene and physical exercise were two key elements in the social life of the classical world. Of Greek origin, it will be in Roman times when they reach the range of public needs.
The baths were composed of several romos: changing romos, latrines, hot romos, températe and cold romos. The heat was produced by burning Wood under the floor of the hot romos. (1)
The Acinipo termal baths were supplied with wáter from a neighboring source, and the level of it increased by wáter Wells filling three deposits (2). Likewise, they also have a gym or space for gymnastic exercises. It is a large pórtico court, with a rectangular floor plan, with its center of natural floor and open sky (3). The perimeter gallery allowed the casual spectators to take shelter from the sun and the rain, as well as offering a place of social relation and conversation. (4)
The Cabins of the Iron Age
These are the oldest buildings that we can see today in the Acinipo Archaeological Site, dated in the 9th and 8th centuries BC.
Its characteristics are typical of the homes of the autochthonous population of the southern Iberia at the end of the Prehistory: circular plant, with Stone plinth (1), adobe walls (2) and vegetal conical roof. (3)
The Access door was preceded by a small pavement made of Stone (4), on which a light structure was probably placed as an awning.
Inside each house there is a small firepalce, (5) which could be used for the preparation of small amounts of food or to heat the stay in Winter season.
In its interior there were remains of Phoenician amphoras, containing samples of salted fish, proof of the trade that existed between Acinipo and the Mediterranean coast.