September 28, 2012

La Bastida, Bronze Age Iberian fortified site

From a website dedicated to it:

La Bastida (Totana, Murcia) is one of the most important archaeological sites of Prehistory in Europe. It was inhabited about 4000 years ago in the Bronze Age, and it has a great potential to understand our past and the heritage and cultural projection of Murcia Region. 
The archaeological site is located in the Sierra Tercia, on a steep hill at  confluence of the Rambla de Lebor and Salado Cliff around 6 km west of Totana town. The four hectares of surface make it one of the most extensive sites and it can only be compared to the one that occupied the present town of Lorca.

The Argaric society was a milestone of  sedentary life, urbanism, metallurgy and political and economic inequalities. La Bastida offers a unique and exceptional opportunity to understand this key stage of our past.
From a recent press release:

La Bastida unearths 4,200-year-old fortification, unique in continental Europe 
Similar characteristics have not been observed in other constructions of the Bronze Age, with three-metre thick walls, square towers originally measuring up to seven metres, a monumental entrance and an ogival arched postern gate; a fully conserved architectural element unique in Europe in that period. 
The wall protected a city measuring 4 hectares located on top of a hill. With architectural elements reminiscent of people with Eastern styled military skills, its model is typical of ancient civilisations of the Mediterranean, such as the second city of Troy. 
One of the most relevant architectural elements discovered is the ogival arched postern gate, or secondary door, located near the main entrance. The arch is in very good conditions and is the first one to be found in Prehistoric Europe. Precedents can be found in the second city of Troy (Turkey) and in the urban world of the Middle East (Palestine, Israel and Jordan), influenced by the civilisations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. This indicates that people from the East participated in the construction of the fortification. These people would have reached La Bastida after the crisis which devastated their region 4,300 years ago. It was not until some 400 to 800 years later that civilisations like the Hittites and Mycenaeans, or city-states such as Ugarit, incorporated these innovative methods into their military architecture.

Related: 4.2 kiloyear event, and El Argar.

1 comment:

Maju said...

You noticed details I had missed, thanks.

I was rather thinking that the Eastern influences are not clear until the adoption of pithos burial by this very same civilization c. 1500 BCE but it seems that there are some other elements pointing to earlier connections.

However I cannot find a linguistic connection because these cultures would seem ancestral to later Iberian ethno-linguistic populations and nothing I have ever read of Eteocretan or Lemnian-Etruscan (plausibly original from the area of Troy), never mind ancient Greek, Hittite, Hattic, Semitic, etc., resembles Iberian. So I find difficult to imagine any major E>W migration at that point.

Also there were older civilizations in the area for which the Oriental connection, while not impossible (tholos, excavated tombs), is always extremely evasive.

On the other hand some words may have spread from East to West in that period, for example the well attested iri/ili/uri/uli Iberian (and Basque) for town/city, related to oriental words of same meaning like Ilion, Iriko (Jerico), Iri-salem (Jerusalem), Elis or Sumerian "uru" (Uruk, Ur, Eridu), all them meaning the same (sometimes known for sure, in other cases inferred).

Krutwig also proposed a connection between the Eteocretan and also Mycenean Greek term "wanaka" (king, later replaced in Greek by basileos), the Trojan Aeneas and the Western name of mystery origin but often associated to mythical kings Eneko, Iñigo, Angus (Oengus). It could well be that the words for "city" and "king" were migrating only then from East to West in connection with other influences.

Notice also Sumerian aba (cow), Basque abere (cattle, livestock). Greek aries (ram), Basque ahari (ram), etc. Although these may also stem from older connections.