Riverscapes and Watersheds: Cultural Heritage Layers Along the River Guadalbullón (Jaén, Spain)

  • Pilar ChíasEmail author
  • Tomás Abad
Part of the Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering book series (LNCE, volume 26)


Humboldt went beyond the old concept of landscape as a mere visual scene. The modern notion aims to find a landscape’s inner structure by means of dynamic visions provided by panoramas and itineraries. These prove to be particularly useful when applied to the analysis of riverscapes. According to Braudel, a landscape is a cultural construction in the guise of something natural, and this is particularly evident in the proposed case study. From the perspective of natural processes, the River Guadalbullón flows along a narrow valley with a variety of land forms and topographical features. From the cultural point of view, the river was the borderline between the Muslim territories and the Christian kingdoms throughout the Middle Ages. They were linked by means of an ancient royal road that was recently transformed into a highway from Madrid to Málaga, thereby subjecting the landscape to considerable strain. But the narrow valley still conserves old archaeological sites that date back to the Bronze Age. The old route is still in use and dotted with lodgings, bridges and watermills as described by the travellers since the 17th century. The castles that controlled passage through the valley also survive, as do the atalayas which sent out visual signals alerting to dangers. All of them share the same space as ancient crops like oil groves, elements of vernacular architecture such as alquerías, and ancient opencast mines. This study aims to prevent the disappearance of all these structures, to avoid the extinction of species, and to preserve the memory of territory and landscape.


Landscape Sustainable development Territory Regional planning Local identity Ancient cartography 


  1. 1.
    Sereni E (1989) Storia del paesaggio agrario italiano. Laterza, BariGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lefebvre H (1974) La production de l’espace. Éditions Anthropos, ParisCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Braudel F (1985) La Mediterranée: L’espace et l’histoire. Flammarion, ParisGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Muratori S (1967) Civiltá e Territorio. Centro studi di storia urbanistica, RomaGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Caniggia G (1967) Strutture dello spazio antropico. Uniedit, FirenzeGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cataldi G (1977) Per una scienza del territorio. Studi e note, Uniedit, FirenzeGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Chías P, Abad T (2011) La Bahía de Cádiz: Territorio fortificado y paisaje/The Bay of Cadiz: Fortified territory and landscape. In: Chías P, Abad T (eds) El Patrimonio fortificado. Cádiz y el Caribe: una relación transatlántica/The Fortified Heritage. Cadiz and the Caribbean: a transatlantic relationship. Publicaciones de la Universidad de Alcalá y Fundación Jose Félix Llopis, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, pp. 18–172Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Chías P, Abad T (2012) El arte de describir el territorio: Mapas y planos históricos en torno al puente de Alcántara (Cáceres, España)/the art of describing the territory: historic maps and plans of the brigde of Alcántara (Cáceres, Spain). Informes de la Construcción 64:121–134. Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ortega Valcárcel J (1998) El patrimonio territorial. El territorio como recurso cultural y económico. Ciudades 4:33–48Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Escobedo E, López JA (2013) Asentamientos de la Edad del Bronce en el Alto Guadalbullón. Sumuntán 31:79–98Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Lechuga MA, Bellón JP, Rueda B (2015) Nuevas propuestas de actuación para el estudio del oppidum de Iliturgi desde la arqueología del territorio. Revista Atlántica-Mediterránea 17:211–221Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Sillières P (1976) Un grupo de cuatro miliarios en La Cerradura (Pegalajar, Jaén). Boletín del Instituto de Estudios Giennenses 90:55–70Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Olmo A (2004) Mentesa romana, visigoda y musulmana. La Guardia fronteriza. Sumuntán 20:13–28Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    López Cordero JA (1996) El valle del río Guadalbullón en la Baja Edad Media. Una frontera entre Castilla y Granada. Jaenseñanza 9:19–30Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Zoido F et al (2012) Los paisajes fluviales en la planificación y gestión del agua. Elementos para la consideración del paisaje en la Cuenca Hidrográfica del Guadalquivir. Junta de Andalucía, Universidad de Sevilla, Sevilla, pp 513–533Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Chías, P, Abad T (2004) Los caminos y la construcción del territorio en Zamora. Catálogo de puentes. CSIC (Instituto de Estudios Zamoranos)/CEHOPU—CEDEX. Madrid. 2 volsGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Salerno R (2015) City ideologies in techno-urban imaginaries. Urban 508(9):185–192Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Cardone V (2015) Modelli grafici dell’architettura e del territorio (a cura di Salvatore Barba). Maggioli editore, Santarcangelo di RomagnaGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Galindo J, Sabaté J (2009) El valor estructurante del patrimonio en la transformación del territorio. APUNTES 22(1):20–33Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Lynch K (1960) The image of the city. The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, EnglandGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ArchitectureUniversity of AlcaláAlcalá de Henares, MadridSpain

Personalised recommendations