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Torre del Molino – Significant Archaeological Find - 415/2019

June 04, 2019


The Ministry for Heritage was recently informed of a structure that had been unearthed in the Four Corners area while ground works were being carried out. The Government archaeologist, together with the Gibraltar National Museum’s archaeologists visited the site and quickly realised that this was an important discovery.

The structure is a large construction, made of limestone, lime mortar, and red clays (Figures 1 and 2) and it sits on a layer of mortar of red clays approximately 20 cm deep.

The interior of the structure is a continuous wall forming a circular shape with a diameter of 4.14 m, the interior of which is filled by clean beach sand.

The wall is made up of limestone masonry, which is flat on one side.  Only one row on the inside remains and measures approximately 47 cm. The structure continues with 30 cm more still remaining, but lacking the inner row, made up of a collection of limestone clasts approximately 30 x 30 x 30 cm.

The circular interior seems to be forming a structure that is at least 1.40m wide.

Due to its location and characteristics, it is believed that it could be the foundations and first levels of an old circular tower, known as Torre del Molino, since the design of the foundations coincides with the type of foundations documented for that tower which is known to have been in that area (Figures 3 and 4).  The type of construction materials and coloration of the lime mortar, suggest that it was built within the Spanish period.

The site had been covered by infillings with an asphalt surface dating to the 20th Century, and it has not been possible to give a precise chronology given the absence of any archaeological remains that could have allowed a more accurate dating.

The site has been protected and filled in to avoid deterioration by the elements, with the extent of the base of the tower being demarcated on the surface so it is clearly identifiable (Figure 5).  Interpretation will also be placed once works are completed.

The Minister for Heritage, The Hon. Professor John Cortes said: “Another famous tower in Gibraltar that is sadly no longer with us.  The Devil’s Tower can be seen in old plans together with the Torre del Molino so this discovery adds more knowledge to Gibraltar’s heritage.  It is exciting, but no surprising to know that so much history lies still undiscovered beneath our feet and the Ministry, together with its advisors, is currently involved in other projects where more information is being unearthed.”