1) THE MIDDLE AGE
Visigothic and Andalusian testimonies are scarce despite their existence in nearby localities (Alhambra, Eznavexor, Alcubillas or Almedina). The proximity of Munt Gil (Montiel), whose Islamic castle mediatised part of the region from the 9th century, may have relegated the North African settlement here to some farmsteads in the Jabalón valley.
The Christian advance beyond the Sierra Morena (Navas de Tolosa, 1212) allowed the suffocation of Montiel with a dense network of new settlements. These served both as a rearguard and for the exploitation of territories which, during the 13th century, were disputed by the archbishopric of Toledo, Alcaraz and the Order of Santiago.
In the end, this land was assigned to the Santiguistas with three enclaves that, even though they were contemporary, they were different in terms of town planning, location and history: La Moraleja, Peñaflor and Jamila. The latter abandonment of these two last mentioned strengthened the power of La Moraleja until its independence in 1421, the present-day Villanueva de los Infantes.
2) PEÑAFLOR: FORTIFIED VILLAGE
At the beginning of the 13th century the Castillón hill was again occupied with a stable settlement. Pennaflor rose as a modest Christian village of 0. 47 hectares that the order of Santiago soon ceded to «don García Pérez, mayor of the king. » The connection of the site to the parcel of Carrizosa is seen in the similarities with the fortified site of El Salido, largely for the control of the roads and the castle of Montiel.
Archaeological interventions since the 1980s have verified the walled perimeter, a central square, a cistern and a necropolis on the southern slope, with several generations of all-age individuals.
The village suffered several abandonments and was finally absorbed by Villanueva de los Infantes. However, centuries later, the place will still be mentioned as the main refuge of the municipality.
4) STRATIGRAPHY IN EL CASTILLÓN
El Castillón was the first scientifically excavated deposit in the municipality of Villanueva de los Infantes. In the mid-1980s, archaeologists Juan José Espadas Pavón, Carmen Poyato Holgado and Alfonso Caballero Klink conducted several projects on the hill to learn about the different phases of the site.
One of the exploratory tests, that of the North slope, made it possible to uncover several meters of the medieval wall as well as the prehistoric strata on which it reposed. Despite the potency and quality of the materials associated with these chalcolithic levels, everything seems to indicate that the construction and life of a Santiago-repopulated village profoundly altered the remains of the Copper Age. The top end of the Peñaflor fence remains unknown to us.
5) THE COLONNADED BUILDING OF JAMILA
Jamila is located on a small, unprotected terrace of the river Jabalón. Excavations since 1997 have been able to distinguish at least two major phases:
The most monumental is a large pseudo-rectangular enclosure with a nave and lateral colonnade. It is a unique architectural structure decorated with religious motifs. These features, the objects found, the absence of domestic space and the early mention of a ‘Our Lady of Jamila’ suggest that this was a place of medieval Marian worship at the beginning of the 13th century.
The end of this period was tragic, probably an arson attack. This can also be added to a certain marsh fever atmosphere, the result of the deforestation of the valley by the settlers at the time of the Little Ice Age. The present-day sanctuary took up the baton from the cult.
This destruction later allowed a farmhouse to be built inside the sanctuary, which reused elements from the previous period.