This article presents the results of the archaeological investigation carried out between 2017 and 2018 by Algeciras City Council in al-Bunayya (1282-1375), the only city founded by the Marinid dynasty in al-Andalus, after recent research revealed its true location. Until then, the site of the city had been attributed to another Islamic city in Algeciras: al-Ŷazīra al-jadrā’. The two cities existed alongside one another from the end of the Middle Ages, until they were destroyed by the Nasrids in 1375 or 1379 and subsequently abandoned.
The medina’s defences comprised a wall protected by two lines of concentric barbicans and a third section which may have formed part of the entrance to one of the city gates. At least three phases of construction have been identified: the first coincides with the founding of the city by the Marinid sultan Abū Yūsuf (1282-1285), when the wall and the first barbican were built from rammed earth, a technique used in most Marinid urban settlements. The second phase (1285-1344) may be linked to Nasrid refurbishments, which covered or substituted the former rammed earth walls of the towers with walls made from layers of stone masonry and filled with rubble masonry, reflecting the customary methods used to refurbish fortifications on the border with Castile. The third phase (1344-1369) may be attributed to the time of the Castilian conquest due to the presence of stonemasons’ marks, and involved the construction of a sloping barbican using stone and rubble masonry.