The Junta de Castilla y León is promoting drone races over pre-Roman Vetton forts with the aim of “disseminating cultural heritage” through “non-traditional” methodologies and actions that may be attractive to youth.
Despite these explanations, the social networks of the Ministry of Culture -directed by Vox, which governs in coalition with the PP- have not promoted any of the races organized through the TERPAT Cross-Border Projectwhich provides for actions for the knowledge, protection, conservation and management of cultural and natural heritage as a support for the economic base of the cross-border region of Spain and Portugal.
After the castro of Yecla de Yeltes (Salamanca), this Sunday the second Drone Racing in the Castro de Mesa de Miranda, in Chamartín (Ávila), which was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest last year after the documentation had been in the drawers for more than thirty years. La Mesa de Miranda was a castro from the second Iron Age whose origin dates back to around 500 BC and remained inhabited until the 2nd-1st centuries BC. It is a castro that consists of urban space, divided into three enclosures and a necropolis.
The castro is in a Natura 2000 Network
Ecologistas en Acción warns the Junta de Castilla y León that this drone race is being held in the Red Natura 2000 ZEC and near a ZEPA bird protection zone. “It is close to a camping area for imperial eagles and golden eagles,” laments Nuria Blázquez from the association, who recalls that these migratory birds are now making their postnuptial migration. The Junta de Castilla y León – in a document sent by the Territorial Delegation of Ávila – calculates that the castro is “twenty kilometers” from the recovery area of the imperial eagle.
From the winning company they assure that the flight of the drones will be “at a very low altitude”. In addition, the Ministry of the Interior is informed of the event, as confirmed by this newspaper. The mayor of Chamartín, Ángel Jiménez (Por Ávila), emphasizes that this is a “different” way of making culture known. “I don’t know how it can harm the environment”, asks the alderman.
The head of Endangered Species of SEO/Birdlife and doctor in Biology, Nicolás López, assures that the castro is in a “sensitive and delicate” area for the flight of large-scale gliding birds and raptors. López highlights the importance of “not disturbing” the imperial eagle that roams nearby. “It is a very territorial bird of prey and there are several studies being published on the serious problem posed by interactions between drones and territorial birds of prey. With territorial species there is no reason to have conflicts… But the imperial eagle, if it is disturbed as it may be in this case, can leave the territory”, warns López.
The head of SEO/Birdlife recalls that the castro is in the Natura 2000 Network and is “terribly close” to a bird protection area. “They need a previous report of environmental conditions that we do not know if it has been sent to the Ministry or not,” he explains. The company defends that the regulations regarding the flight of drones are “quite strict”.
Minor contracts integrated into the Territory and Heritage program
The drone races, in which eight pilots participate, are integrated into a minor contract of 17,787 euros. Two other companies submitted to the offer, but the Leonese company Invicsa Airtech was awarded, which has received a total of five minor contracts worth 70,000 euros —approximately— framed in this project Territory and Heritage (TERPAT): production of interactive content on historical sets, target design and 3D printing and inclusion of Augmented Reality technology to visit Siega Verde, in addition to the two drone races.
The TERPAT has among its objectives the conservation, research, documentation and elaboration of routes of the pre-Roman settlements. This European program also provides for the application of new technologies for the development of Geographic Information Systems and georeferencing and the promotion of archaeological sites and enclaves, in addition to the organization of scientific meetings.
In addition, environmentalists warn that there is a unique holm oak in the castro, with a trunk of 4.18 meters, but both the Board and the organizing company assure that the flight plan “moves away” from the holm oak.
The Ministry of Culture, which has not responded to questions from this medium, defends that this event “will favor their knowledge and the dissemination of their values” and will allow them to carry out a “playful activity that is different from the usual and with an audience that possibly other traditional forms of dissemination may be less attractive to them”.