The Macellum (The Marquet)

Located in front of the South entrance of the Forum, next to the decumanus maximus towards which it opens two entrances, the Torreparedones macellum or market, dating from the 1st century AD, was discovered in the excavations of 2008 and is one of the buildings in which it most reflects the rise and decline of the city. In fact, there are two perfectly differentiated areas, one of them corresponding to a large space with a patio paved with large stone slabs and a portico on columns with Attic bases and Corinthian capitals. This area would later be abandoned in late antiquity, most likely coinciding with a time of demographic recession that made the shops installed there unnecessary, where different food products were sold, including fish, as the presence of a oval-shaped cistern inside which small bones and bones have been collected that could be an indication of the sale in that place of some type of live fish.

In the other area of ​​the building we find a series of shops (tabernae) around a central open-air patio paved with small bricks forming spikes (opus spicatum) and surrounded by a small perimeter channel for the evacuation of water towards the sewer. which runs under the maximum decumanus. For its part, another room of larger dimensions could correspond to the place where the public scales (staterae) and the official weights were kept, as well as the measurements of capacity and length. In this case it would be the room called the ponderaria table.

The decline of the city led to the abandonment of the use of the macellum to the point that in late antiquity it was used as a cemetery.

Taverns of the macellum of Torreparedones.

Arcaded gallery of the macellum.

The macellum in Roman cities

As the ancient texts narrate, the macellum of the Roman cities was a market specialized in the sale of food products exclusively, especially game meat, beef and poultry, fish and horticultural products (fruits, vegetables), as well as bread, although these last products would be a complement to the main ones, fish and meat, with the sale of grain also being scarce. Frequently only luxury products were sold, with high prices.

In order to supply the population with the greatest possible comfort, the macellum was generally located next to the forum or in its vicinity, although it was always ensured that its location was easily accessible to suppliers and at the same time did not hinder the common transit of citizens. In this way, in Hispania almost all the markets are located next to the forum, with the exception of the macellum of Valentia (Valencia), which was close to the port. Their size was determined by the very place where they were located since, as in the case of Torreparedones, they had to adapt to the irregularities of an already existing urban planning.

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The macellum of Torreparedones

Virtual recreation of the Torreparedones macellum or market. In it you can see the interior distribution of the building with the taverns or small shops where you could buy the different food products that were offered to the citizens.