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Sunday, November 29th, 2015

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The Community (social and cultural measures)

Obelisk from an old Roman quarry

One of the lines of action laid down in the Social Responsibility Plan is involvement in the community and the social fabric. Thus, the companies in the abertis group and the abertis foundation pursue a broad programme of sponsorships which prioritise projects related to road safety, the environment, culture and social accessibility.

The group supports the ‘Voluntaris’ corporate volunteer scheme, which came from employees themselves, by providing resources and communication tools for the volunteers to carry on and build up their social work outside working hours. abertis organises an annual Volunteer Day, a chance to share projects with different NGOs and involve those employees who are willing in charity projects.

abertis shares with the companies which are now part of its group a sensitivity to historic and artistic heritage and to cultural values. Thus, the group works with the principal cultural institutions, always through the authorities, with the aim of making it possible to work on sites which would otherwise be unlikely to receive financial support for their recovery.

It has also placed at the disposal of interested members of the public two heritage assets of outstanding interest: Castellet castle and the Roman quarry of El Mèdol, a site included in the declaration of the city of Tarragona as a World Heritage Site.

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El Mèdol

The Clot del Mèdol

The Roman quarry of the Clot del Mèdol, located 6 kilometres from Tarragona, is one of the thirteen sites which make up the architectural ensemble of Roman Tarraco, listed by Unesco as World heritage Sites (see photo gallery). The stone extracted from El Mèdol was used to construct the most important buildings in Tarraco, the capital of Hispania Citerior, during the periods of the Roman Republic and Empire.

The quarrying left a pit 200 metres long, with a width varying from 10 to 40 metres. At the centre of the quarry there is a 16-metre high needle showing the level of the rock when quarrying began. It is estimated that some 50,000 cubic metres of stone came out of El Mèdol. This was taken to the city along the Via Herculea, later known as the Via Augusta, which partly coincided with the route of the modern-day AP-7 motorway managed by abertis. It was also transported by sea, from what is now the Punta de la Mora . The stone from El Mèdol is a type of limestone which is golden in colour and very easy to work.

In 1931 the Clot del Mèdol was listed as a historical-artistic site and it was in the year 2000 that the historic ensemble of ancient Tarragona was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
As part of its commitment to the community abertis preserved it and opened it up to the public through an agreement with the Catalan Government’s department of Culture and Tarragona City Council. The site forms part of the cultural routes of the Tarragona Museum of History.

The abertis foundation commissioned a study of El Mèdol by Dr. Martí Boada, a researcher with the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), who led a multi-disciplinary team to study different aspects of the site.  The research highlights the geological interest of the quarry and its distinctive biotic environment.

In July 2010, a forest fire burnt some of the land around the Clot del Mèdol, revealing a new quarry face with perfectly-preserved evidence of extraction. The fire also provided a better view of one of the faces already known which was probably the first place in which the Romans worked – it is the highest part of the quarry – before they found an easier area to exploit: what is today the Clot del Mèdol. These two quarry faces and the waste material deposited in front of them, which is very rarely preserved, are currently being studied by the Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology (ICAC).

The quarry can be reached from El Mèdol service area on the AP-7 southbound, and from the N-340 main road.

Picutres by Dr. Joan Albert Adell, architect

Archaeological sites around Catalan motorways

Map showing archaeological sites situated close to Catalan toll roads.

In order to commemorate International Monument Day, abertis offers an up-to-date presentation of archaeological sites to be visited around Catalonia's motorways.

New museum-style research, studies and projects carried out over recent years in sites situated around Catalan motorways have been the motivation behind this document.

Spreading the word about archaeological research reflects the commitment of abertis to promote culture for all, and also to collaborate in the restoration of the country?s cultural heritage in order to reactivate potentially attractive assets for the purpose of cultural tourism whilst offering education centres the tools with which to enhance education and promote respect for our heritage among the young.

We believe in the preservation of our cultural heritage as an exponent of sustainability and as a vital resource for the development of persons, communities and the territory.

The presentation includes about 64 archaeological sites and centres of interpretation which are in close proximity to the motorways AP-7 (34), AP-2 (7), C-32 (22) and B-20 (1).

The updating of this presentation is clear evidence of the positive impact Catalan motorways can have as a catalyst for economic growth in the area and as a source of continuity starting with the old Catalan world and leading to the present.