IT is a mystery that has confused and intrigued Spanish archaeologists for 150 years.
More than 20 glittering gold Visigoth crowns, wine goblets and jewel-encrusted crucifixes, ditched in the middle of nowhere 15 kilometres from Toledo.
Until now, experts had no idea why the priceless Treasure of Guarrazar had been abandoned in a field in the Guadamur district – a tale that inspired two books, Jose Calvo Poyato’s The Last Visigoth Treasure and Pedro Antonio alonso Revenga’s The Hidden Treasure.
But Spanish archaeologist Juan Manuel Rojas has finally solved the puzzle following a joint investigation with Guadamur Town Hall, which has led to an established archaeological site now open to the public.
The story of the Treasure of Guarrazar started in 711 when Tariq Ibn Ziyad’s troops invaded the Spanish peninsula before heading to the Visigoth capital of Toledo.
It was previously believed that the Christians in Toledo made a quick call to hide the royal jewels under two graves in the field until the coast was clear. They were found 1,100 years later.
But Rojas said ‘it made no sense’ to hide them in a field’ and, after some digging, he discovered 30 metre-length walls, a basilica, remains of a palace, a Visigoth graveyard and even a guest house for pilgrims.
His research has led to the revelation that the place where the treasure was hidden was not a field at all but a religious complex.
Tickets cost €8 to visit the site www.guarrazar.com