Fundació Privada l’Esquerda – Museu Arqueològic de l’Esquerda The site l’Esquerda represents the Iberian Era (5th – 1st century BC) as well as the period between the 7th and 14th century AD. The area presented is the Plana de Vic, and the valley of the river Ter, all 70 km north from Barcelona, in the inner lands of Catalonia.
The archaeological site is 12 hectares large, of which 1.5 hectares is the most visited area. The area of experimental research (AREA = Area of Research Experimental Archaeology) has 1600 square metres. The archaeological museum has 400 square metres but there are plans for a new and larger museum. There is a 13th century reconstructed granary, an exact reconstruction of the one you can see in the archaeological site of l’Esquerda. So, you can visit the original remains, and then the reconstruction.
The archaeological site is permanently open; the archaeological museum opens 4 days a week; the experimental area is open by appointment. Examples of presentation activities there are bread making, bronze casting and blacksmith activities. The museum takes actively part in happenings like the International Day of museums (May), European Heritage Weekend (September), the “Iberian weekend” (October), “Science week” (November).
The non profit foundation and museum intends to take care of the heritage of l’Esquerda archaeological area, and to promote archaeological research and diffusion. The reason of existence of this project is experimental archaeology. Universities and students do research which partly is connected to agriculture (following the seasons of planting, weeding, harvesting and storage), partly to crafts. One of the most successful activities carried out with visitors is the demonstration of how a mediaeval blacksmiths forge works. The blacksmith makes a large demonstration about the difficulty to work with iron, and he shows which few archaeological evidences could have been remained of such a technological equipment. Finally he offers to the public the possibility to experience with fire and iron.
The archaeological research started on the site in 1977 directed by Dr. Imma Ollich, from the Department of Mediaeval History of the University of Barcelona. From 1982 the Catalan government cooperated in the excavation. In 1988 the museum was founded by the team that excavates in the site, with help and support of the Municipality of Roda de Ter and with Dr Imma Ollich as director. It is a stable research team that carries with the most important aspects of the project.
In 1991 the first experimental archaeological project (with the economical support of the Ministerio de Educación y Cultura) was started in an open-air area next to l’Esquerda. This was the LEAF Project, focussing on agriculture. We built four series of fields when we planted different kinds of cereals and beans. We cooperated with the Butser Ancient Farm (Petersfield, England). Ever since 1991, the national government funds the organisation for carrying out archaeological experimentation.
In order to organise all the work around l’Esquerda, in 1994 a private foundation was created with the Mayor of Roda de Ter being the President and Dr. Imma Ollich as vice President.
As a follow up of LEAF a granary was constructed in 1997-1998 combined with som underground silos. In 2000 storage experiments inside the granary and in the pits took place. In 2004 -2005 a metal craftwork area was built, with two furnaces, one for iron smelting, the other for bronze smelting. In 2006, the archaeological site was protected as National Catalan Heritage.