"The important thing is not just their number, but that in the decade that we have been working on this project, extensive work has been done on nearly half a dozen of them, and work at other levels has been done on nearly a hundred," Quirós-Castillo said.
As such, the researchers are compiling some of the most important archaeological records of medieval history throughout northern Spain, he said. "In other words, to see how the peasant community itself gradually adapts to the political and economic changes that take place in the medieval context in which these places are located," he added.
Quirós-Castillo and his colleagues also studied another abandoned settlement in Araba-Alava called Zornotegi. They discovered that the terraced fields in this village were devoted to cultivating cereals and grains.
"Zornotegi has a completely different history," Quirós-Castillo said. "Even though it was founded at more or less the same time, it is a much more egalitarian social community in which such significant social differences are not observed, and nor is the action of manorial powers which, in some way, undermined the balance of the community."