The Archaeological Site of Ocuri is located at the top of the Salto de la Mora, a limestone hill located one kilometre from the town of Ubrique, from which the natural passage to the Manga de Villaluenga is controlled on one side and the exit to the south of the sierra on the other. Its strategic position, dominant in height and strengthened by its walls, as well as its extension, indicate that it must have been a pre-Roman (an “oppidum”) and Roman municipality of great importance
, a fact that is also demonstrated by the monumentality of the archaeological remains it preserves.
The discovery of this important archaeological site was made at the end of the 18th century thanks to the intuition of a local named Juan Vegazo, who bought the land in order to see if the remains that could be seen on that hill could be compared to those of Pompeii itself. Vegazo, a true pioneer of archaeological fieldwork, excavated several of the structures and left a written record of his discoveries, including two magnificent epigraphs dedicated to the emperors Antoninus Pius and Commodus, which contained the name of the city, unknown until then.
Although recent research has established its origins in at least the 6th century BC, the vast majority of the remains that have emerged correspond to the Roman period of the city, with a period of maximum splendour in the 2nd century AD. Outside the city walls, as dictated by Roman sanitary laws, are the necropolis and its most important monument: the mausoleum, without precedents in Andalusia. Inside are a series of niches where the urns containing the ashes of the deceased were placed, as well as offerings from relatives and possibly statues.
This is followed by its cyclopean wall of Iberian origin, which has been modified on several occasions and in which canvases made “a hueso” (without mortar) have been preserved and others with moulded ashlars that may date from the Carthaginian period. In the 1st or 2nd century AD the entrance was modified to give it a monumental character.
Behind the wall, various constructive remains can be seen, such as several cisterns with a large reservoir capacity, the forum with part of its “taverns”, the remains of houses and public buildings and above all, in the upper area, the impressive “thermal baths”. The Roman city of Ocuri must have been part of the “coventus iuridicus gaditanus”, an administrative body belonging to the imperial province of “Baetica” in the early imperial period.