Opening lecture: La fortaleza medieval de Isso (Albacete) y su territorio

This paper presents some of the information obtained during the archaeological surveys carried out in 2019 in the stately fortress known as Torre de Isso, located in the municipality of Hellín (Albacete). These fieldworks have attempted to answer some questions related to the historical interpretation of the preserved monumental remains, specifically two large towers and some walls from the second half of the thirteenth or fourteenth century. The initial study and graphical documentation were carried out to obtain the data needed to draft a conservation project in line with current scientific criteria.
Extending the investigation to the whole neighborhood of houses that surrounds the towers resulted in the discovery of a quadrangular fortress of 44 x 42 m, which incorporates the towers and in which different construction phases have been identified, certainly prior to and subsequent to the Christian conquest. The remains found were reused in the load-bearing walls of some of the houses. Beside the fortress, we extended the study to the entire village of Isso, in order to find out if the medieval castle had an annexed relevant village. Finally, the surveys expanded throughout the entire territory of Isso, with the desire to know if its characteristic dispersed settlement, made up of small farmhouses, and its traditional irrigation system, have a medieval origin.
This multidisciplinary research project has allowed us to obtain extensive data and produce significant information, although it should be noted that many issues and some of the interpretations offered in this article are still hypothetical. Therefore, only future development of additional archeological and historical works will make it possible to tackle those questions that remain to be answered.