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Higuera antigua Siguas

The Ancient Fig Trees from Siguas

When agriculture and archaeology are fused, they can make a valuable contribution to the preservation of the history-rich landscape of the Siguas Valley. Here is the oldest manifestation of fig culture (ficus carica) still productive and this single fact is enough to consider this small fig dried forest in Pitay (and the whole valley) as a cultural asset.

40 years ago, the valley was converted into a drainage system for the "Majes Siguas" irrigation project. The loss of biodiversity, the deforestation of the fig trees and the destruction of the archaeological remains are now markers of this place.

My small fig orchard (four hectares) is home to 40 specimens of this unknown and unique fig crop. The fig variety originates from North Africa and was introduced to Spain during the Islamisation of the Iberian Peninsula (8th century). The same variety arrived in Siguas 400 years ago during the Spanish conquest. Since then, these fig trees have flourished alongside the Siguas River, along with molles, nettles, pacayes and guayabas.

Despite the complicated circumstances (water scarcity, climate change, an elaborate harvest), the oldest fig trees (ficus carica) in the world can still flourish in a productive state and feed people, sheep and insects.

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Links de interés:

The Fig Trees from Siguas: Relics that Nurture.

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