The Balmaseda 1487 Project began to be forged, unknowingly, in 2016 by recreating the medieval castle in three dimensions, taking as a reference the prints by Fernando Hierro Díez, which were published to commemorate the town’s 800th anniversary. Later, in the middle of 2019, the ruins of Cerro del Castillo were recreated, and a possible attempt to recreate Balmaseda in its entirety began to be glimpsed.
After this second approach to the world of heritage virtualization , a new software is being sought to help achieve more realistic finishes. The use of this new software requires an important learning process to reach a minimum of handling it. It is from September 1, 2019 when the result and the objectives to be achieved begin to be specified. Objectives that are expanding with the development of the project itself.
Over the course of these years, small tests of photogrammetry work have been carried out on Cerro del Castillo: a canvas of the wall in 2018 and a sector of the archaeological excavations in June 2021. Likewise, a recreation of how it could have been construction of the old bridge back in the XII-XIII centuries. All this with the aim of continuing to acquire knowledge regarding the virtualization of heritage.
Why the year 1487?
A document dated 1487 is preserved, which is a photo of the number of houses subject to taxation in Balmaseda. It is known as a book of estimates, although references to it are also seen as a real estate inventory. It is a highly valuable document and, although there are, finding another similar example in Bizkaia is difficult. Thanks to him we can know the approximate number of houses that were in Balmaseda for that year, their approximate location, the number of inhabitants (at least one fork), the number of crops there were, the names and surnames of the owners,…etc.
However, it should be noted that Balmaseda 1487 is not a photograph of a specific year. It is an approximation to the Balmaseda of the second half of the 15th century . This is not intended to reach the absolute truth, but to approach an arguable reality, connected with historical and archaeological research.
- Balmaseda 1487 was born with the intention of being an innovative tourist alternative for the visitor , by implementing 3D recreation technology at a specific moment in our history.
- This initiative is also a historical dissemination action for the inhabitants of the village, who wants to help consolidate basic historical facts of our medieval past.
- Another of the objectives pursued by the project is to reach the classrooms of schools in the village, through a didactic unit and an explanation from one of the collaborators of this initiative.
- The generation of economic activity is also one of the goals to be pursued, either through visitor spending on hotels, as well as the guided tour service of the local tourist services company.
- The creation of an interdisciplinary team of natural people from Balmaseda , who contribute to the project different approaches and areas of knowledge in which they are specialists, valuing the human capital of the Villa.
- The incorporation of the guided visit of the first point to the offer of activities that are organized in Balmaseda in the European Heritage Days that are celebrated annually in the month of October.
Virtual reconstruction or virtual recreation?
To understand the difference between these two concepts we must consult the International Principles of Virtual Archeology , known as the Seville Principles (2012). According to these principles:
- A virtual reconstruction is the attempt to visually recover a construction based on existing and objective physical evidence, studies carried out by archaeologists and other experts linked to historical science.
- A virtual recreation is the attempt to visually recover, based on a virtual model, the past at a given moment in an archaeological site, including material culture (movable and immovable heritage), environment, landscape, uses and, in general, cultural significance.
The Balmaseda 1487 Project has chosen to make a virtual recreation , including characters, landscape and natural environment, economic and productive activity, facts, customs, communication routes… Although it must be said that the limits between these two terms are diffuse. There are gray areas, since within a virtual recreation there may be areas or buildings for which a virtual reconstruction is made. Which greatly enriches the rigor of a virtual recreation.
The potential of Balmaseda as a Villa in which there are people specialized in different subjects and areas of knowledge forces this project to make use of that human capital and talent, with the aim of achieving a virtual recreation as close to a medieval reality,that unfortunately we will never know one hundred percent. With this sad but real premise as a starting point, a work team has been formed with which they have tried to achieve a result that is as credible as possible:
Oskar Arroyo Fernández / Logo of the project
Fond of photography and design. Regular collaborator of different local associations designing logos, posters for events and taking photos for social networks.
Javi Etxebarria Sainz-Ezkerra / 3D modeling and website
Graduate in Political Science and Administration (UPV-EHU), Degree in Labor Relations and Human Resources (UPV-EHU), and Master in HR and employment management (UPV-EHU). Since 2019 he is training in heritage virtualization..
Jorge Gómez Balenciaga / Guided tour and divulgation in schools
Tourist guide in the business initiative Alboan Servicios Turísticos, for which he is responsible. In charge of the Via Crucis museum. Disseminator of local history in schools.
Valentín Ibarra Lozano / Historical advice
Bachelor of Science from the UPV-EHU. He is the author of the books: Chronicle of the expulsion of the Jews. Balmaseda at the end of the Middle Ages (2017) and El Castillo de Balmaseda. Origins, demolition and resurgence (2020) and Martín de los Heros, hero of progress (2021).
Jon Kepa Izaguirre Goyoaga / Paisaje, fauna y flora
He has a degree in Chemistry (UPV-EHU). He is Director of Quality and R+D+i at A & B Biotechnology Laboratories. He collaborates in the Citizen Science Observatory keeping records of insects and studying the trees in the parks. This observatory is a project of the Ibercivis Foundation in collaboration with the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT)-Ministry of Science and Innovation.
Igor Santos Salazar / Historical advice
Degree in History from the University of Deusto. He is a Doctor of Medieval History. He has been a researcher at the UPV-EHU. And today he is a professor at the University of Trento, in Italy. He is a specialist in the Castilian and Italian High Middle Ages. He is the author of the book Balmaseda Medieval. A villa on the border (2021)..
Paloma Sañudo Orizaola / Advice on the Church of San Juan
Degree in Geography and History with a specialty in Art History from the University of Zaragoza. She has taken courses in library science and at the Practical School of Archeology of the Basque Country. She is responsible for the Balmaseda History Museum.
Bingen Urquijo Garay / Advice on the Church of San Severino
He is the author of the book San Severino de Balmaseda: traveler’s guide (2001)
The project is formed in different phases. As of today, we can say that phase 0 is complete, and we are in the middle of phase 1:
Sustainable Development Goals 2030
This project helps in the pursuit of the Sustainable Development goals of the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations ( UN ). Specifically, actions are provided for the following objectives:
- GOAL 4. QUALITY EDUCATION : promoting universal access to this project.
- GOAL 8. DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH : bringing tourists to Balmaseda and generating wealth in the community.
- GOAL 9. INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE : creating an innovative project never seen before in the town.
- GOAL 11. SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES : emphasizing the protection of our natural heritage.
- GOAL 12. RESPONSIBLE PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION : helping to achieve sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.
Here is the list of versions published to date:
- Version 1.0: Released on September 9, 2022.