Roman Villa of Albir

When Constantine I and later Theodosius where leading a still splendid Rome, Albir, the coastal resort of Alfas del Pi was just farm land. Albir was then dependent on the city of Allon, which is now Villajoyosa. It was a rural area presided over by a large Roman Villa, the same one that was discovered on a plot of land approximate 20 years ago a few hundred metres from the beach. Next to this villa in other parts of the surrounding countryside were small cottages that cannot match the splendour of this villa, a splendour that is obvious from its private baths.

The Mayor of Alfas Del Pi, Vicente Arques and the Cultural Minister Maite Garcia have made the villa a project of the Town Hall, with the aim to preserve, protect and exploit the baths. The plan is to cover the baths and install walk ways, some made of wood and others transparent that allow the area to be seen without risk to the site which is one of the most important archaeology discoveries in the province of Alicante. According to the archaeologist Carolina Frias only the roman baths have been fully uncovered and a small section of the residential room that was used by the villa’s owners. There is still a vast area to be excavated and it is hoped they will uncover the oil press where they produced their olive oil and also the area where they made their own wine.  Even though these part of the villa are still hidden the archaeologists are aware of their existence due to the fact that they have found artifacts used in the production of oil and wine which according to Frias are very similar to what we use today. Visitors to this site will have the added attraction that the excavations are in full swing, therefore those who visit will be able to see the archaeologists at work. The baths consisted of three different areas, one with cold water, the second with warm and the last with hot water.  The last area not only had hot water but also a heating system that heated the room as well as the water.  The heating system was based on a firewood oven that heated a chamber.  Later on in the 300 years that the villa was in use other pools were added along with a water tank that supplied the baths.  Last November, very close to these baths, the villa revealed one of its best kept secrets, a funeral amphora, which contained the remains of a baby or a young child.  The future excavations could reveal much more facts that have been hidden underground for centuries.