Archaeologists reconstruct life in the Bronze Age at a site of Southern Spain
By Mike Hanlon
June 5, 2007
June 6, 2007 Researchers from the Group of Recent Prehistory Studies (GEPRAN) at the Universidad de Granada have been working since 1974 on reconstructing what daily life was like on the Iberian Peninsula in the Bronze Age. Archaeologists have been working on the site of the Motilla del Azuer, in the Southern province of Ciudad Real, in search of the necessary information to reconstruct daily life in this little-known historical period.
The sites, known as motillas, represent one of the most peculiar types of prehistoric settlements in the Iberian Peninsula. They occupied the region of La Mancha in the Bronze Age between 2200 and 1500 BC, and they are artificial mounds, 4 to 10 m high, a result of the destruction of a stone fortification of central plan with several concentric walled lines. Its distribution in the plain of La Mancha, with equidistanes of 4 to 5 kilometres, affects river meadows and low areas where the existence of pools was quite frequent until recent dates.
Although they were already known since the end of the 19th century, motillas were erroneously considered to be burial mounds until the middle of the seventies, when the start of the research work on the Motilla del Azuer carried out by the UGR showed that it was a fortification, surrounded by a small settlement and a necropolis. It is the first site of this kind to be excavated in a scientific and systematic way.
The mound of the fortification which has been recovered has a diameter of about 50 metres, and is composed of a tower, two walled enclosures and a large courtyard. The central core is composed of a tower of masonry of square plan, with 7 metres high east and west fronts and an interior accessible through ramps inlaid in narrow corridors, which confer a particular nature to the place.
The researchers explain that the settlement of the Azuer contains the oldest well found in the Iberian Peninsula. The inside of this type of walled enclosures protected basic resources such as water, collected from the phreatic stratum through the well, and was also used to store and process cereals on a large scale, to occasionally keep the livestock and to product pottery and other home-made products, whose remains have also been found.