A multidisciplinary study recovers the graffiti that the inmates left on the walls of their dungeons between the Middle Ages and the 18th century
The knight caught in the fourteenth century was thrown into the old cistern of the Calatrava la Vieja quarter (Ciudad Real). It fell to the bottom quite a few meters high. If his legs were broken in the fall, the better, so he would not move. The only light that came to him was through the tank opening, and as long as the jailer wanted it. Impossible to escape a smooth-walled receptacle created to withstand the enormous pressure of water. The prisoner, after days of anguish and knowing that he was going to die, began to record, almost blindly, his portrait. But he was not the only one to occupy that miserable hole. According to the recent study The prison graffiti of the Middle and Modern Ages in the province of Ciudad Real, as well as the results of the excavations carried out in recent years in Calatrava la Vieja, the interior of the cistern contains “an enormous number of graffiti both painted as engravings ”.
The report — archaeologists and historians Víctor Manuel López-Menchero, Miguel Ángel Hervás, James Bart, Jeffrey P. Du Vernay, Herbert DG Maschner, Manuel Retuerce, Honorio Javier Álvarez and Diego Lucendo— recalls that the graffiti of the prisoners of the Middle Ages , except in the case of the Coudray Tower (France), they have generally been little studied, despite "the popular fascination they arouse" and constituting "a true emerging heritage". However, experts the Complutense, Castilla-La Mancha, Baraka Arquelogos and Global Digital Heritage universities highlight the effort of some Administrations to rehabilitate and make these heritage sites in Spain accessible. They mention Aragon, Segovia, Girona, Badajoz, Córdoba, Granada, Palma de Mallorca or the Valencian Community.