It is located in the town of Las Cuevas de Soria, in the pastureland of the village, in a flat area next to the Izana River. It was discovered and excavated in the year 1928 and three quarters of the main building were brought to light. The archaeological site of the Roman Villa La Dehesa dates from the early fourth century and reveals a large mansion of almost four thousand square metres, built over an earlier construction of which very little is known. The building, which has a simple structure, reveals a rectangular floor plan with a large peristyle or central landscaped space and surrounded by columns around which numerous rooms decorated with high quality materials were opened. In the excavations that have been carried out so far, more than thirty rooms of different sizes and structures have been discovered, some of them with a semicircular head as an apse, and most of them have floors magnificently paved with mosaics decorated with multiple geometric motifs. The villa already existed during the High Roman Empire, perhaps in its origin it was a Celtiberian construction, and it survived until the High Middle Ages, being abandoned for unknown reasons.
The Roman Villa La Dehesa, a luxurious country house probably with two floors, is protected by a modern structure. The visit is made through a footbridge that allows to approach all the areas of the archaeological site, with a privileged perspective, from which you can admire the mosaics of the floors and the profiles where the walls used to be. At the area where the archaeological site is accessed, there was the thermal complex where we can see what were the thermal rooms, with exterior furnaces for its heating and a long and narrow bath decorated with mosaics at its interior. In the northeast area of the building is located the great hall, a room of impressive dimensions and whose entrance had a central door of double leaf and two small doors to the sides. In the area of the peristyle, from where this great room was accessed, some mosaics of three-dimensional cubes can be seen. The visit is complemented by the installation of a space for interpreting the town and a museum of the archaeological site.
Studies and traditions have not helped in the knowledge nor revealed the name of the owners of the Roman villas. However, in the Roman Villa La Dehesa there is, by system in its mosaics, a monogram which, by comparing studies and findings in the surroundings, has led to the conclusion that its inhabitants were the Irrico whose origin could be Celtiberian and who proudly maintained it in spite of being fully Romanized. In addition, Eduardo Saavedra had the opportunity to know and copy an inscription on a tombstone, now disappeared, which served as a support in a house in Las Cuevas de Soria and which came from the chapel of San Miguel, also disappeared. The inscription reads: Lucio Terencio Rufino, of the Irrico family, son of Rufo, 30 years old, lies here. His mother and brother took care of it.
The archaeological site, which was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest on 4 June 1931, is a true setting which, together with respectful and suggestive lighting, allows visits and night-time activities.
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The image of the Roman goddess Magna Mater has been found at the sites of Los Villares, La Dehesa and Los Quintanares, which has been the reason for linking them to each other and to the goddess who ruled the cycles of nature and its importance in the culture and way of life of the Roman world.
We reach Las Cuevas de Soria by following the SO-100 road that links the city of Soria with Navalcaballo or Quintana Redonda among other municipalities, and whose access we will find shortly after leaving Soria towards Almazán on the N-111 road. It is on this SO-100 road that we will find the detour that leads to Las Cuevas de Soria. Shortly before reaching this municipality, we will come across the track that leads to the Roman Villa La Dehesa, right on the stretch of road that goes from Izana to Las Cuevas de Soria. Other local roads also lead to the town and connect it with the surrounding villages.
The Roman Villa La Dehesa has a large car park where we can park our vehicle without any problems.
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