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Late Bronze Age Iberian Bowls

Late Bronze Age Iberian Bowls

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Urnfield Vase Reveals 3,300 Year Old Lunar and Metaphysical Encoding

A vase dating back to Bronze Age Europe has strange symbols and abstract markings. Examination of the pottery has revealed a prehistoric mathematical approach to sacred numbers, as well as a moon veneration central to the beliefs of the proto-Celtic Urnfield culture. Was this ancient encoding used as a metaphysical tool?

The remarkably significant ancient vase was purchased in April 2015 from Hixenbaugh Ancient Art in New York by Lewis Hales, owner of the Celtic Collection Program, Inc., a non-profit historical corporation located in Georgia, America. According to archaeologist Randall Hixenbaugh, owner and curator of the business, the vase’s origin comes from the Late Bronze Age, proto-Celtic Urnfield Civilization (1300 BC -700 BC) and was used for food preparation purposes.

Made by one of the earliest European ancestors, the vase was likely excavated in Germany. It was first located in a private German collection during the 1960s then bought from the Munich based Herman-Historia auction by Mr. Hixenbaugh on April 25, 2005.

The “Urnfield culture emerged as the dominant society of central Europe,” states historian Agnus Konstam. “These people were seen as the predecessors of the Celts and their society has therefore been described as proto-Celtic. The only difference between these people and the Celts of the Hallstatt era is that the later developed the ability to produce iron.” The society got their name because their dead were cremated then placed in Urns at designated non-mound sites, according to Konstam.

When the vase arrived in May, it was immediately placed on exhibition at the Thomaston-Upson Archives, Thomaston, Georgia, where it was viewed for two months. According to Penny Cliff, then archives director, “It was an incredible opportunity to have the Celtic vase on display at the Archives. Having this vase with its ancient symbolism for the public to view was a definite asset to the Archives and enjoyed by all of the visitors who came to the Archives, many who came especially to see the display.” After the exhibition, the vase was taken to several specialists for evaluation.

Photograph taken by Lewis Hales May, 2015, at the Thomaston-Upson Archives of former Archives Director Penny Cliff inspects the vase.

The vase weighs two pounds and 10 ounces (one kilogram) and is 6 3/8 inches (16 centimeters) high and nine inches (22.8 centimeters) wide There are 13 fingerprint indentures around the handles different from the design shapes.

Jim Weber, a pottery craftsman and instructor who has been making pottery for 45 years, examined the vase and stated it had been coil built and pit fired. Due to the small and delicate thumb and fingernail indentures around its handles on both the inside and outside of the vase, it is likely that “a woman with middle level pottery skills” made it. The vase was intended to be “a functioning pot to be proud to have.”

The start and end of the Bronze Age in the Iberian Peninsula were marked by two historical events, neither of which greatly affected the communities in the area. This article takes a look at the various societies located in the peninsula, as well as the three main periods that comprise the Bronze Age. It first studies the Early Bronze Age, which started with the crisis of the Copper Age societies of the Bell Beaker tradition. The most popular archaeological group of this period was El Argar. The article then discusses the Late and Final Bronze Ages, which were characterised by a decrease in stable settlements and more connected peninsula communities. The end of the Final Bronze Age marked the start of Phoenician colonial activity in the western Mediterranean.

Vicente Lull, Departament de Prehistòria, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

Rafael Micó, Departament de Prehistòria, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

Cristina Rihuete Herrada, Departament de Prehistòria, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

Roberto Risch, Departament de Prehistòria, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

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Ancient DNA Reveals Why the Iberian Peninsula Is So Unique

Back in the Neolithic age, a group of humans we now call the Proto-Indo-Europeans lived to the north of the Black Sea, where they prepared to take over the world. This culture spread over Europe and Asia with enormous speed and influence, taking their language and their genes with them. Today, nearly half of humans on Earth have a language in the Indo-European family as their first language.

But the Indo-European wave had its limits, and thanks to new analysis of ancient DNA, scientists are starting to work out the details. New research published Thursday in PLOS Genetics found limited genetic mixing of Indo-Europeans on the Iberian Peninsula, in what is now Portugal, through the Bronze Age.

“Given their very large contribution to most ancient Europeans at the time, it is surprising that we did not find such a massive migration to Iberia also, given they even reached Britain and Ireland!” lead author Rui Martiniano at Trinity College Dublin tells Inverse by email.

“On the other hand, some Portuguese archaeologists are of the opinion that despite the observed cultural transition in Iberia with the onset of Bronze, this was much less pronounced in comparison to the rest of Europe. So what we found fits well with this observation.”

Perhaps it was the natural barrier of the Pyrenees Mountains, or a particularly feisty and insular group of locals. Whatever the reason, the invasions — for the most part — stopped there. The researchers found only minimal genetic shifts in DNA extracted from bones at eight archaeological sites in what is now Portugal.

More surprising, though, were the small changes that were predominantly on the Y chromosome — meaning that the few Indo-Europeans that got that far were nearly all men. “Historically (and prehistorically) mostly men rather than women went into battle,” says Martiniano. “When looking at burial sites near or within prehistoric battle fields the majority of skeletons tend to be male. Even today, the majority of soldiers in most countries are men. We see a very abrupt turnover at the level of the Y chromosome, but we should really increase our sample size to be sure this is a global Iberian pattern rather than a local one.”

Still, the finding tracks with separate research that found that the wave of migrations out of the Pontic steppe and into Europe beginning about 5,000 years ago was largely a male phenomenon. While an earlier migration saw families moving together and bringing agricultural techniques with them, this Early Bronze Age wave appears to have been more about making war than settling down.

The fact that Indo-Europeans had limited influence within the Iberian Peninsula by the Bronze Age echoes to this day. People in the modern-day Basque region straddling the border between France and Spain speak a distinct language called Euskara. It is not part of the Indo-European family of languages, and in fact is considered a language isolate — related to none others spoken today. That’s some pretty serious staying power against the forces of cultural colonization.

But the influence of the steppe people eventually reached Iberia, although questions remain about how and when. “The big question is whether it happened in the late Bronze Age or at the onset of Iron Age,” says Martiniano. “It is also possible that there were also several later migrations that added to this steppe related admixture we see today, so it will be interesting to dissect how much of it entered throughout history.”

What this research shows, too, is the extraordinary potential of ancient DNA to paint a vivid and complex picture of human history. We to imagine the past in broad strokes, but new evidence has a way of throwing our easy theories off kilter and making room for a more dynamic story.

Late Bronze Age Iberian Bowls - History

The centre of Bronze Age technology was in the southeast since circa 1800 BC. There the civilisation of Los Millares was followed by that of El Argar, initially with no other discontinuity than the displacement of the main urban centre some kilometres to the north, the gradual appearance of true bronze and arsenical bronze tools and some greater geographical extension. The Argarian people lived in rather large fortified towns or cities.

From this center, bronze technology spread to other areas. Most notable are:

  • Bronze of Levante: in the Valencian Community. Their towns were smaller and show intense interaction with their neighbours of El Argar.
  • South-Western Iberian Bronze: in southern Portugal and SW Spain. These poorly defined archaeological horizons show the presence of bronze daggers and an expansive trend in northwards direction.
  • Cogotas I culture (Cogotas II is Iron Age Celtic): the pastoralist peoples of the plateau become for the first time culturally unified. Their typical artifact is a rough troncoconic pottery.

Some areas like the civilization of Vila Nova seem to have remained apart from the spread of bronze metallurgy remaining technically in the Chalcolithic period for centuries.

Middle Bronze

This period is basically a continuation of the previous one. The most noticeable change happens in the El Argar civilisation, which adopts the Aegean custom of burial in pithoi. This phase is known as El Argar B, beginning circa. 1500 BC.

The North-West (Galicia and northern Portugal), a region that held some of the largest reserves of tin (needed to make true bronze) in Western Eurasia, became a focus for mining, incorporating then the bronze technology. Their typical artifacts are bronze axes (Group of Montelavar).

The semi-desert region of La Mancha shows its first signs of colonisation with the fortified scheme of the Motillas (hill forts). This group is clearly related to the Bronze of Levante, showing the same material culture.

Late Bronze

Circa. 1300 BC several major changes happen in Iberia, among them:

  • The Chalcolithic culture of Vila Nova vanishes, possibly in direct relation to the silting of the canal connecting the main city Zambujal with the sea. It is replaced by a non-urban culture, whose main artefact is an externally burnished pottery.
  • El Argar also disappears as such, what had been a very homogeneous culture, a centralized state for some, becomes an array of many post-Argaric fortified cities.
  • The Motillas are abandoned.
  • The proto-Celtic Urnfield culture appears in the North-East, conquering all Catalonia and some neighbouring areas.
  • The Lower Guadalquivir valley shows its first clearly differentiated culture, defined by internally burnished pottery. This group might have some relation with the semi-historical, yet-to-be-found, Tartessos.
  • Western Iberian Bronze cultures show some degree of interaction, not just among them but also with other Atlantic cultures in Britain, France and elsewhere. This has been called the Atlantic Bronze complex.
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Tartessian, Europe’s newest and oldest Celtic language

The south-western Iberian Peninsula at the horizon of history. There are at least 90 known Tartessian inscriptions on stone concentrated in southern Portugal, with a wider scatter of fifteen over south-west Spain. (J. Koch, An atlas for Celtic studies (Oxford, 2008))

John Koch suggests that Tartessian is ‘more than a little bit Celtic’ and adds a new twist to the assertion, long since dismissed as invention, that the Gaels (Milesians) originated in the Iberian Peninsula.

The myth and mystery of Tartessos
For Greek and Roman writers, Tartessos was a place of fabulous natural wealth in silver and gold, situated somewhat vaguely in Europe’s extreme south-west, beyond the Pillars of Hercules. When Herodotus, ‘the father of history’, wrote around 430 BC, the kingdom of Tartessos had already ceased to exist and belonged to the pre-classical past before the rise of Cyrus the Great and the Persian Empire. The power exerted by the idea of Tartessos on the classical imagination was such that many of the exploits of Hercules—originally set in the eastern Mediterranean—were relocated to the fabled country beyond the Straits of Gibraltar, hence called the Pillars of Hercules. Though there is more than one school of thought on the subject, a long-standing and prevalent view is that the ocean-going, luxury-laden ‘ships of Tarshish’ mentioned repeatedly in the Old Testament—going back to the joint venture of Solomon and Hiram I of Tyre around 950 BC—also refer to Tartessos.
Archaeologically, Tartessos is synonymous with the brief and spectacular ‘orientalising phase’ of the south-western Iberian Peninsula’s First Iron Age, around 750 to 550 BC. At this time the Phoenician colony of Gadir, now Cádiz on Spain’s south Atlantic coast, catalysed a brief incandescent hybrid civilisation in what had been the southern region of the Atlantic Late Bronze Age (around 1250–750 BC). That earlier cultural commonality, defined by bronze swords, spearheads, cauldrons, flesh-forks and spits, stretched from Tartessos to Galicia, Brittany, Britain and Ireland. In the eighth century BC a new élite arose rapidly amongst the native trading partners of the Phoenicians. These Tartessian potentates are known primarily from necropolises of tumulus burials, awash with luxury grave-goods from the eastern Mediterranean, including jewellery, cosmetics, portable images of deities, ornamented chariots, wine and oil.
Soon after Gadir’s mother city, Tyre in present-day Lebanon, fell to Babylon in 573 BC, the Tartessian élite’s economic lifeline to the east became rapidly constricted, and the wealthy burials came to an end. Herodotus wrote that a party of Greeks from Phocaea in western Asia Minor visited Tartessos around 550 BC, where they received enthusiastic hospitality and vast riches from the Tartessian ruler Arganthonios, in whose name we may recognise the Celtic word for ‘silver’, Irish airgead, Welsh arian, ancient Celtic arganto-. Arganthonios was understandably eager for the Phocaeans to found a colony ‘anywhere they liked on his land’. But the Greeks were not to save Tartessos. Around 540 Phocaea fell to Cyrus. Soon after, when Arganthonios was dead, the remaining Phocaean fleet in the west was destroyed by a combined Etruscan–Carthaginian force off Alalia in Corsica. The Straits of Gibraltar were henceforth closed to Greek shipping. During the fifth century BC, the Iberian culture of Spain’s Mediterranean coast—which had ongoing access to Greek and Carthaginian trade—was to supplant Tartessos as the wealthiest and most dynamic zone of the peninsula.

Tartessian inscriptions
One of the enduring consequences of the era of Phoenician influence—which had by around 800 BC progressed from trading outposts to full-blown colonies in southern Spain—was the adoption of alphabetic writing by the native population, first in the south-west. The number of known Tartessian inscriptions on stone is now about 90 and steadily rising with new discoveries. Concentrated densely in southern Portugal (the Algarve and Lower Alentejo), there is a wider scatter of fifteen over south-west Spain. The best exhibition of the inscriptions is on view in the new and innovative Museu da Escrita do Sudoeste, in the charming provincial town of Almodôvar. In the significant minority of cases in which the stones have been discovered in their original context and this has been published, the find-spots are necropolises of the Iberian First Iron Age (800–500 BC), showing that the inscriptions belong to a funerary tradition. In this respect they continue the 100 pre-literate ‘warrior stelae’ of the Iberian Final Bronze Age (1250–750 BC). In four apparently transitional monuments incised heroic images are combined with Tartessian texts.

The oldest Celtic language?
Thus far, the theory that Tartessian is partly or wholly Celtic has been advanced only with an understatement and tentativeness that has failed to break through the habitual inattention of Celtic scholars in Ireland, Britain and North America towards evidence emerging in the Iberian Peninsula. Most Celticists know that the Celtiberian language of the eastern Meseta during the last centuries BC was Celtic and that there were also numerous ancient Celtic place- and group names in the western peninsula (e.g. names ending in –briga ‘hillfort’ = Old Irish brí ‘hill’, for example). But that’s about as far as it usually goes.
When we approach Tartessian from the study of the better-attested Celtic languages—of Ireland and Britain and ancient Celtic Europe on the other side of the Pyrenees—it looks more rather than less Celtic. We have already noted Arganthonios, silver magnate in name and deed. Herodotus also mentions the Kune-tes, inhabitants of the Algarve, ‘the westernmost people of Europe’ and neighbours of the Keltoi (Celts). Their name appears to contain the Celtic word ‘hound’, hence ‘warrior’, ‘hero’ (for example, Cú Chulainn), and precisely the suffixed form in the Old Welsh Cinuit of the Kynwydyon (Brittonic Cune-tio, Cune-tiones), founder of the main dynasty of Strathclyde.
Turning to the inscriptions, some obstacles and uncertainties in the transcriptions remain. The list of recognisable Celtic-looking forms can be greatly extended, however. Particularly in the longer, unbroken and most legible inscriptions, something of a critical mass develops, in which the Celtic-looking words are so frequent that the theory of ‘a few Celtic names in a matrix of an unknown language’ must be rejected in favour of the new working hypothesis: ‘Tartessian is Celtic’. The Celtic look-alikes are eminently appropriate. For example, five of the letter sequences in the inscriptions resemble words in other Celtic languages meaning ‘grave’, ‘funerary monument’ or ‘build a funerary monument’. In the examples below, the compared words are Modern Irish if not otherwise labelled. The translations are mine and tentative.

Three examples
Tartessian inscription and warrior stela from Abóbada, Portugal. (Jane Aaron)

Tartessian inscription and warrior stela from Abóbada, Portugal. (Jane Aaron)

One of the longest and most legible Tartessian inscriptions is ‘Fonte Velha 5’: lokooboo niiraboo too araiui kaaltee lokoon ane nar´kee kaakiis´iinkooloboo ii te’ (be)e teasiioonii ‘invoking the Lugh-deities of the Neri people, for the nobleman the tomb is made he remains unmoving within invoking all the heroes, the grave of Tasiioonos has received him’. The god corresponding to the Irish Lugh, king of the Tuatha Dé Danann, was sometimes invoked as a group, written Lucubo in Galicia and Lugouibus in Celtiberia, Tartessian lokooboo. In Roman times the Neri were a group in Galicia. Welsh ner ‘lord, hero’ shows that the name is Celtic too is do ‘to’. For araiui compare aire ‘lord, nobleman’. Kalite occurs in the ancient Celtic inscriptions of northern Italy, meaning apparently ‘built a funerary monument’. Likewise, Cisalpine Gaulish lokan means ‘grave’ its root is the same as luigh ‘lie down’, Old Irish laigid, with several further examples in the Tartessian inscriptions: lakaatii ‘lies down’, lakeentii and lakiintii ‘they lie down’, and ro.laHaa ‘I have lain down’. For kaaki compare gach ‘every’, cách ‘everyone’ for is´iinkooloboo see Gaulish Exkingolatos ‘Heroic man’. The compound verb te’ ‘[this grave] has received him/it’ is a recurrent formula it corresponds to beir ‘carry’ and the compound tabhair ‘give’, Old Irish d-a.beir, earlier t-e.beir ‘gives it’. The preverb ro is one of the most strikingly Celtic features of Tartessian, functioning just like Old Irish ro as part of past perfect verbs, hence ‘has received’. With teasiioonii compare the pre-Roman British king’s name Tasciovanos, the first element of which corresponds to the common man’s name Tadhg.
The Tartessian manifestation of one of the most famous Celtic goddesses appears on two broken stones of the same fabric and thickness found at San Bartolomeu de Messines. On the first, a few Tartessian letters are legible above the image of a female rider seated side-saddle on a large horse and brandishing a long object in her left hand. The second stone reads: iboo-iion asune uarbaan ekuur´ine obaar baara . . . oretoo ‘for those I have received, for Asuna, the supreme one, for the Horse-Queen . . . deliverance (running under)’. Assuna is an attested woman’s name in Gaul. For ekuur´ine compare each ‘horse’ and ríon ‘queen’ oretoo is the infinitive of uaratee ‘has delivered/run under’, which occurs in another Tartessian inscription. Scores of dedications to the horse-goddess Epona have been recovered from Gaul. She is often invoked in full as Eponae Reginae ‘to the Horse-Goddess Queen’, corresponding to both elements of Tartessian ekuu-r´ine. Several representations show Epona riding a horse or pony. In the Welsh Mabinogi Rhiannon, whose name means ‘Divine Queen’, containing the second element of ekuu-r´ine, appears as a mysterious horsewoman at a mystic tumulus (gorsedd).
The most photogenic of the stones is the warrior of Abóbada, who forms a clear link between the inscriptions and the Late Bronze Age warrior stelae. The texts reads: iru alkuu sies´ nar´keentii mubaa te’ Haataaneatee ‘for the man Alkos: these lie unmoving… The grave has received him, for the winged one.’ The epithet ‘winged’ is possibly a reference to the warrior’s formidable attitude: armoured and harnessed, he brandishes short spears in both outstretched hands. One of the heroes of the Dark Age Welsh elegies of Y Gododdin, warriors who also fought with short throwing spears, is similarly called ‘winged (edenawc) in battle’.

The collection could be extended and many more related words and names brought in from Brittonic and Continental Celtic. If this much can suffice to show that Tartessian is ‘more than a little bit Celtic’, there is a basis for reinterpreting much standard doctrine about the Celts and even the Celticity of Celtic Ireland. The ancient Celtic languages are still most often envisioned as having expanded from a homeland in central Europe in close association with the La Tène and Hallstatt cultures of the European Iron Age (about 750–50 BC). For Ireland this is problematical, as the Hallstatt element in the Irish archaeological record is limited. Though there are a few spectacular masterpieces in an Irish version of the later La Tène style, these are thin on the ground, with a conspicuous gap in Munster, precisely where the Primitive Irish ogham inscriptions are thickest. Tartessos, likewise, shows little in common with Hallstatt and La Tène. In fact, Tartessos was finished—and most or all of the inscriptions likewise—before the earliest La Tène material commenced in the fifth century BC.
On the other hand, both Ireland and south-west Iberia had been ‘fully paid-up members’ of the Atlantic Late Bronze Age. It has long been recognised that the V-notched shields, leaf-shaped swords and ogival-headed spears of the Iberian warrior stelae have close counterparts among actual artefacts of the Irish late Bronze Age. Therefore, if we can reorientate our thinking away from Hallstatt and La Tène to look instead at Ireland’s overseas affinities during its spectacularly wealthy late Bronze Age, the fact that Tartessos should now be giving up some of its mysteries in a language comparable to Irish may not be so surprising. It will not be the first or the last ironic twist of intellectual history for a Celtic Tartessos to appear on the horizon after the Spanish provenance of the Gaels (as per the Book of Invasions) has lost its last shred of credibility. HI

John T. Koch is research professor at the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies.

Further reading:
B. Cunliffe, Facing the ocean: the Atlantic and its peoples (Oxford, 2001).
J. T. Koch, An atlas for Celtic studies: archaeology and names in ancient Europea and early medieval Ireland, Britain, and Brittany (Oxford and Aberystwyth, 2007).
J. T. Koch, Tartessian: Celtic in the southwest at the dawn of history (Aberystwyth, 2009).
J. Untermann, Monumenta Linguarum Hispanicarum 4: Die tartessischen, keltiberischen und lusitanischen Inschriften (Wiesbaden, 1997).

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Argaric diadems as embodied emblems

Diadems and crowns made of precious metals are some of the most easily recognised emblematic objects. Unlike flags or heraldry, diadems are designed to be worn by individual people. The object's connection with the human head and face—the most visible and distinctive physical features of any individual—produces a hybrid object-subject entity, comprising a general abstract symbol and a specific physical appearance. That hybrid entity, in turn, becomes a new emblem: an ‘emblematic subject’.

Metal diadems appear in the archaeological record of the Iberian Peninsula during the Late Chalcolithic and the Early Bronze Age (from the mid to late third millennium cal BC). Such objects, however, are very rare and contextual data are poor. The oldest examples were made of long, plain (undecorated) golden sheets with distal perforations for their attachment to the head (Perea Reference Perea 1991). These objects are often interpreted as symbols of rank, worn by ‘leaders’ or ‘chiefs’ with military power (Garrido Reference Garrido and Almagro 2014). This interpretation stems from their presence in individual—or presumably individual—tombs (e.g. at Fuente Olmedo, Montilla, Quinta da Agua Branca), along with weapons and other distinctive objects linked with the Bell Beaker complex.

When compared with other earlier and contemporaneous examples from Iberia, diadems display distinctive forms and meanings in Argaric society. First, they are made from native silver, with just a single known gold example. There are two varieties: simple headbands and semi-circular rods with a disc-shaped appendix.

The latter is unique to the Argaric material repertoire. To date, only six such diadems have been reported. Four were found in 1883 and 1884 by the brothers Henri and Louis Siret and their foreman Pedro Flores at the eponymous site of El Argar (Almería) (Figure 1). The diadems were found either in single (El Argar graves 51, 396 & 454) or double (grave 62) burials (pithoi). Where osteological information about the burials is available, diadems were found to be associated with females. This was also the case with the headbands, which were discovered at the sites of Gatas (grave 2), El Oficio (grave 6) and Fuente Álamo (grave 9) (Siret & Siret Reference Siret and Siret 1887). Furthermore, diadems were always found in association with a larger variety of grave goods, including necklaces, silver and copper ornaments, knives, awls and pottery. As a result, the Sirets claimed that the women buried with diadems were “souveraines ou femmes de chefs” (“sovereigns or wives of chiefs” Siret & Siret Reference Siret and Siret 1887: 163). The authors sometimes referred to the headbands as ‘couronnes’ (‘crowns’), in reference to a typical emblem of kingship. Almost a century later, statistical analysis carried out by Lull and Estévez ( Reference Lull and Estévez 1986) provided support for this interpretation by including diadems in the ‘category 1’ of Argaric grave goods—those associated with the ruling class. A fifth diadem came to light around 1923, probably originating from a tomb in Cerro de la Plaza de Armas, in Murcia (Melgares Reference Melgares 1983). This diadem differs from the others in that it is made of gold and features a linear embossed pattern of small dots along its entire perimeter, extending onto the disc-shaped appendix.

Figure 1. Silver diadems with disc-shaped appendix and associated grave goods from El Argar (Siret & Siret Reference Siret and Siret 1887: pls 43 & 44–45).

Although burial context data are available for the four El Argar site graves, nothing is known about the buildings under which the tombs were located. Analysis of the overall site plan of El Argar and the distances between the tombs provided by Flores (see suggests that all four graves were placed in the central-east sector of the site, probably in two discrete locations separated by at least 15m, with two graves in each area. While these observations are compatible with the existence of an elite quarter, they preclude the possibility of the four graves having been placed beneath a single building.

Late Bronze Age Iberian Bowls - History

This article presents the emerging transdisciplinary practice of Experimental Heritage as perform. more This article presents the emerging transdisciplinary practice of Experimental Heritage as performed within an ongoing Irish-Swedish research project involving artists and archaeologists. The project is undertaken simultaneously in western Ireland and south-eastern Sweden. It explores the chosen Irish and Swedish landscapes of Clare and Öland, their similarities and differences, with the aid of combined and integrated artistic and archaeological practices. The starting points for common explorations are: stone and water, movement and time/the multitemporal, and the tangible and intangible aspects of landscape experience. In a transdisciplinary process, we explore new ways of combining art, archaeology and heritage within and between these landscapes.

One path towards fulfilling the aims is to explore art, archaeology and heritage through the senses. A phenomenological landscape perspective and an eco-cultural approach is combined with Performance Studies and movement-based practice. These perspectives and methodologies are paired with artistic and archaeological approaches to research, such as those conducted through poetry, music, performance, visual arts, physical surveys, mapping and excavations.
Methods of working have developed from walking in the landscape to sketching, through visuals, sound and movement, group dialogue, team building and exploring the materiality of making. Group movement-based workshops are used to support receptivity and inner listening for decision making through somatic principles and the senses. The project encourages transdisciplinary as well as translocal practice to arrive at new approaches and perspectives on how the past matters to us in the present and how it might have an impact on the future.

To achieve both transdisciplinary and translocal ways of working through art and archaeology/heritage, we need to expand beyond conventional art and archaeology/heritage research, communication and presentation within the well-known framework of universities, cultural history museums and art institutions. The constraints of these conventions are substituted by alternative settings in the landscape. This landscape-based practice includes method development across disciplines, times and geographic distances. It also includes collaborations with people from local communities that can contribute their perspectives, experiences and stories to the explorations.

The advantage of Experimental Heritage as practice in the landscape is its ability to challenge our current worldview to better understand other times and cultures as well as our own. This in turn provides us with new tools to create alternative futures resting on care and respect for the need for diversity and breaking not only with boundaries set up between nature and culture but also hierarchies of centre and periphery. We intend to find out more about the multitemporal layers in the landscapes surrounding us and how they relate to our inner landscapes of multitemporal perception. The combination and equal roles of artists and archaeologists as well as the contributions of researchers and members of the local communities in this work is crucial. Equality and diversity encourage transdisciplinary knowledge development.

Late Bronze Age Iberian Bowls - History

On 18-21 May 2016 the 16th International Aegean Conference ΕΣΠΕΡΟΣ / ΗESPEROS: The Aegean Seen From The Westwill be held at the University of Ioannina. Further information is available at The program will be:

E. Agolli, “Models of Social Networks of Southeast Albania in Late Prehistory”

P. Bellintani and F. Gonzato, “Luxury Production. Amber and Glass from the Recent and Final Bronze Age Italy. A Northeastern Perspective”

L. Bejko, “Interactions of the Albanian prehistoric communities with the Aegean, Revisited: old data and recent fieldwork”

M. Bettelli, M. Cupitò, R. Jones, G. Leonardi, and S. T. Levi, “Po Plain, Adriatic and Eastern Mediterranean in the Late Bronze Age: fact, fancy and plausibility”

F. Blakolmer, “Spirals from Malta and ‘ropes and pulleys’ from the Eurasian steppe? On the origin of some ornaments of the Aegean Bronze Age”

E. Borgna, “The Last Mycenaeans and the Adriatic connection: a view from the Trapeza cemetery, Eastern Achaea”

A. Bunguri, “Relation between Mycenaean world and Albania during Middle and Late Helladic (as reflected from imported Mycenaean weapons and tools)”

A. Cazzella and G. Recchia, “Getting in touch with the eastern world: socio-economic developments in the central Mediterranean during the 3rd millennium BC”

D. Constantinidis, “Making connections: Westward trade in purple dyed textiles”

M. Cultraro, “Rock-cut Tombs in Context: Parallel trajectories between Aegean and South Italy in the Fourth millennium BC”

M. Cultraro and C. Marconi, “Western Sicily before the Greeks: Mycenaeans and Others along the Mediterranean Seaboard”

B. Davis, A. Chapin, L. Hitchcock, and E. Banou, “Like Dolmen, Like Dromos: Contextualizing the Solar Orientations of Some Mycenaean Tholoi”

S. De Angelis, “Between Italy and the Aegean: Context and Distribution of the Handmade Burnished Ware”

A. Depalmas, C. Bulla, and G. Fundoni, “Some Observations on Bronze Productions in Nuragic Sardinia Between Aegean Influences and Autonomous Creations”

M. Galaty and R. Ruka, “The Position of Albania in Mediterranean Obsidian Exchange Spheres”

S. Gashi, “Relations between Mycenean world and Kosova, as reflected from imported vessels”

M. Gazis, “Teichos Dymaion, Achaea. An acropolis-harbour of the Ionian Sea looking westwards”

C. Giardino and C. Merkouri, “Adriatic and Aegean connections with Southern Italian metallurgy during the Late Prehistory: a technological interaction sphere”

M. Gori, “Overcoming Old Interpretative Frameworks: a Revised Chrono-cultural Sequence for Late Early Bronze Age Macedonia”

C. Haywood, A. Sotiriou, and E. Papafloratou, “Southwestern Kephalonia, an island region in the context of the western Aegean world. Old and new evidence for the transition between the collapse of the Mycenaean palaces and the Early Iron Age”

F. Iacono, “The exception and the rule. Making sense of the diversity in patterns of Aegean interaction in LBA Central Mediterranean”

R. Jung and M. Pacciarelli, “Western Greece and Southern Italy 1250–1050 BCE: Manifold Patterns of Interaction”

C. Kleitsas, “Prehistoric Dodona, Epirus: Towards the identification of a sacred place”

L. Kolonas, M.-L. Nosch, and K. Sarri, “Protogeometric Funerary Textiles from Stamna, Aitolia, Greece”

T. Krapf, “From Central Greece to the North and then Westwards? Tracing Influences in Matt Painted Pottery Styles from MBA to EIA”

G. Kourtessi-Philippakis, “From the fringes to the center: new perspectives in the Early Prehistory of the Ionian Islands, Greece”

R. Kurti, “Carnelian and amber beads as evidence of Late Bronze Age contacts between the present territory of Albania and the Aegean”

P. Lera, S. Oikonomidis, A. Papayiannis, and A. Tsonos, “The settlement organization and the distribution of tumuli along the Eastern Adriatic and Ionian coasts during the transitional period between the 2nd and the 1st millennia BC”

S. Levi, M. Bettelli, V. Cannavò, A. Di Renzoni, F. Ferranti, and M. C. Martinelli, “Stromboli: Gateway for the Mycenaean Early Connections through the Messina’s Strait”

S. Levi, A. Vanzetti, and E. De Miro, “Cannatello, Sicily: the connective history of the LBA Central Mediterranean hub”

A. Mederos Martìn, “The Mycenaean contacts with the Iberian Peninsula during the Late Bronze Age”

G. Metallinou, “The position of Corfu in the Adriatic network of contacts in the second half of the third millennium BC”

P. Militello and K. Zebrowska, “The Aegean influence in Sicily: A landscape approach”

K. Nikita, G. Nightingale, and S. Chenery, “Mixed-alkali glass beads from Elateia-Alonaki: tracing the routes of an alien glass technology in the periphery of post-palatial Mycenaean Greece”

V. Nikolopoulos, “The Aegean itself or its reflection? Absence and presence of Aegean cultural elements in the Bronze Age Balearic Islands and the Iberian Peninsula”

S. Oikonomidis, “Adriatic and Ionion: geographic landmarks and cultural crossroads between the 2nd and the 1st millennia BCE”

E. Onnis, “Funeral customs in Albania and Greece: differences and similarities”

T. Palaima, “Facing west but looking east? Place references in the Linear B data from the Pylos archives”

T. Papadopoulos, “Mycenaean citadels of Western Greece: Nature, purpose and their intricate role in the local communities and their relations with the West”

A. Papayiannis, “Animal husbandry in Albania, Epirus and Southern Greece during the Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age: Questions of quantity, seasonality and integration to the economy and social structure”

L. Papazoglou-Manoudaki and K. Paschalidis, “A society of merchants and warriors to the East of the West. The case of the Mycenaean settlement on Mygdalia hill, near Patras, in Achaea”

K. Peche-Quilichini, L. Bellot-Gurlet, J. Cesari, B. Gratuze, J. Graziani, F. Leandri, and H. Paolinisaez, “From Shardania to Læstrygonia… Eastern origin prestige goods and technical transfers in Corsica through Middle and Final Bronze Age”

M. Ruiz-Gálvez and E. Galán, “From shepherds to heroes: Mediterranean iconography of power in the far West”

A.-L. Schallin, “The Handmade Burnished Ware – a Reflection of Immanent Change in the Late Bronze Age Argolid?”

A. Sotiriou, “Documents of the Late Neolithic and Early Helladic period from the island of Kefallinia”

K. Soueref, “Epirus and the Mycenaean World: Versions and dimensions of ‘immanentia’”

S. Todaro, O. Palio, and M. Turco, “The site of Valcorrente at Belpasso (Catania) and the links between the Aetnean area and the Aegean world between the end of the III and the first half of the II millennium BC”

H. Tomas, “Early Bronze Age Sailors of the Eastern Adriatic”

A. Tsonos, “Albania Meets the Aegean: The West Mainland Koine Revisited”

S. Tusa, “Relations between the Central Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Levant during the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC”

A. Usai, “Sardinia and the Aegean world: advances in understanding”

G. J. Van Wijngaarden and N. Pieters, “Between the Aegean and Adriatic. Zakynthos and the Ionian Islands in the Bronze Age”

A. Vanzetti, M. A. Castagna, A. Di Renzoni, N. Ialongo, L. M. Magno, S. Marino, and F. Porta, “The Oinotrian side of the LBA Mediterranean network”

O. Vikatou, “Meganissi Lefkas, a new site of the end of the Mycenaean era at the crossroads of the maritime routes of the Ionian Sea”

S. Vitale, “Kos, Italy, and Europe during the Late Mycenaean Period: Evidence for a Special Connection and Its Possible Significance”

P. Yiouni and E. Vasiliou, “Production and consumption of kylikes in Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age mainland Epirus (Prefecture of Ioannina)”

E. Agolli, O. Aslaksen, E. Ilieva, S. Ivanov, C. Kleitsas, T. Krapf, G. Papadias, A. Papazovska Sanev, E. Tsafou, A. Tsonos, and E. Vliora, “Balkan Bronze Age Borderland: Along Ancient Routes from the Aegean to Albania, F.Y.R.O.M. and SW Bulgaria”

M. Cultraro and F. Genovese, “Intercultural Contacts in the ancient Far West: New and old evidence from the Bronze Age cemetery at Plemmyrion, Syracuse (Sicily, Italy)”

L. A. Hitchcock and A. M. Maeir, “Hesperos and Phosphoros: How Research on Aegean-Eastern Interactions Can Inform Studies of the West”

E. Kolia and A. Spiroulias, “Keryneia, Achaia. A Recently Excavated Bronze Age Site in Northern Peloponnese. Aspects of Cultural Connections to the West”

K. Luci, “Mycenaean Culture in Bronze Age Kosova”

C. Marini, “The Elephant in the Room: Migration, Trade and Diffusion. Some Thoughts on Post-Palatial Achaea”

C. Oberweiler, P. Lera, G. Touchais, T. Krapf, and M. Gori, “The Korce Area (SE Albania): Local Cultures and External Influences from the West, the Balkans and the Aegean World during Prehistory”

F. Saranti, “Prehistoric Naupaktos: A missing link on the northern shore of the Corinthian Gulf”