domingo, 30 de marzo de 2014

Phoenician colony in southeast Spain re-examined (Alicante)

Researchers in Spain have applied new remote sensing and aerial imaging to the Phoenician colony of Cabezo Pequeño del Estany of Guardamar under the project “Cultural Transfers in the Ancient Mediterranean” to begin a new round of archaeological works on the site.
The settlement was first discovered by chance in the late 1980s when it was partially destroyed by an illegal cement quarry and subsequently excavated in several seasons of rescue archaeology under the direction of Antonio García Menárguez, director of the Archaeological Museum of Guardamar.

Aerial photographs

The current joint work between the University and the Museum has raised interest in this spectacular site after recent consolidation work was photographed from the air showing the preserved sections of an impressive 2 metre high defensive wall, with projecting bastion and towers.
This wall, built between 900 and 850BCE contains eastern Mediterranean compartmented rooms within the main excavated structure, following a typical Phoenician pattern of internal architecture. The organisation and the size of the colony itself is one that is replicated in other such pioneer settlements, and the type of defence found here has close parallels in the Near East with sites such as Hazor or Qeiyafa in Israel, as can be clearly seen in the aerial images.
The fortified site, was one of several that dotted the coastline of Spain, as traders sought the precious tin and other metals that could be obtained at the end of the known world. The peaceful abandonment of the settlement occurred around 700 BCE and, pending further research, may be due partially to the gradual silting up of the Segura estuary or even a succession of seismic events.
The data suggest that the population of Cabezo Pequeño del Estany moved to a larger location, on the seafront itself, which is now known as La Fonteta and lies preserved beneath the sand dunes of Guardamar.
Phoenician colonisation of this area is interesting as it is one of the few sites to be contained within a defensive wall such as is visible from the aerial images. In addition to the normal range of materials, such as pottery and Greek lamps, there is also ostrich shell, ivory and Egyptian scarabs.

Potential for steel working

However, the exceptional find is that of early metallurgical activity, not only involving tin and bronze working but potentially, steel.
Both the University of Alicante and the Archaeological Museum of Guardamar are now contemplating conducting future archaeological excavations at Cabezo Pequeño to better understand the activities of these early trading colonists.

Source: Past Horizons: http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/03/2014/phoenician-colony-in-southeast-spain-re-examined

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