Practices in Archaeoseismology
The ruins of the ancient settlement of “El Tolmo de Minateda” are one of the best representative archaeological sites within the Albacete Province (SE Spain), characterized by a well-preserved record for the last ~3800 yr. The present ruins record an almost continuous of occupation from the Late Bronze Age (Iberian Culture, from ca. third century B.C.) to the High Middle Ages, including intervening and successive Roman, Visigoth, and Muslim city remains. The eventual Muslim settlement was abruptly abandoned and destroyed during the ninth–tenth centuries A.D., leaving a lack of any archaeological evidence of war or decay. Another previous anomalous archaeological episode of abrupt city abandonment and destruction is recorded during the Visigothic Period (seventh century). The archaeological record of this city supports evidence for earthquake damage linked to both periods of city abandonment and destruction, including oriented collapse of walls, watchtowers, and columns, oriented cracking of walls and column drums, as well as in situ broken pottery, abrupt abandonment of kilns, and anomalous sedimentary infilling of canals and water-supply facilities. Additionally, large-scale rockfalls containing Visigothic carved tombs are also apparently associated with both episodes, constituting one of the few instances of combined geoarchaeological evidence of earthquake ground effects ever reported. As a means of testing the theoretical archaeoseismic potential of this site, we obtained an archaeoseismic quality factor (AQF) value of 0.074.