Andalucia Rustica

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Archaeological Sites of Andalucia

Los Millares Archaeological Site

Archaeological Sites of Andalucia

Los Millares Archaeological Site – Santa Fe de Mondújar

Los Millares Archaeological Site is believed to be one of the most significant archaeological sites of the Copper Age (2700-1800 BC). It is located in the municipal area of Santa Fe de Mondújar, around 17 km (10,6 miles) from Almería.

An important civilisation was developed in Los Millares, which was a pioneer in introducing copper metallurgy in the Western Mediterranean.

The settlement and necrópolis at Los Millares is situated upon a spur-shaped plateau at the eastern pint of which the Rambla de Huéchar joins the River Andarax. Nowadays the site lies some 18 kilometres from the coast, although during the time of occupation the Andarax estuary had not yet silted up and the river was navigalble as far as the settlement.

The plateau is 1.5 kilometres long from east to west and covers and area of nineteen hectares, six of which were occupated by the village and the rest by the necropolis. The latter comprises some eighty megalithic passage graves, most of which contain round chambers either roofed with false vault or covered with flat wooden ceilings. The necropolis as a whole is divided into distinct groups of tombs, wich may have belonged to different lineages or family groups within the population of Los Millares.

Reconstructed Tomb

The necropolis at Los Millares contains about 80 collective tombs. It was first excavated at the end of the XIX century by the Belgian civil engineer Louis Siret and his formeman Pedro Flores, although the records were only published in 1943 by the German archaeologists Georg and Vera Leisner. Between 1953 and 1956 Professor Martín Almagro and Antonio Arribas, excavated 44 graves but their researches have not yet been followed through, although the poor condition of some of the tombs has demanded thier urgent conservation.

This tomb 17/I has been completely rebuilt since the excavations in the 1950´s. It is one of the two graves originally constructed outside the confines of the settlement but then brought inside the village by the building of the final outside wall. It is one fo the earliest examples of tombs on this site containing a round chamber with footings of slate slabs and covered by a false vault. The passage appears to have been divided into three sections by open doorways of slate slabs. Opening out on either side of the last of the three sections of the passage are two smaller secondary chambers or niches. Above ground, the tumulus is marked out by several concentric rings of upright slabs and dry stonework.

Huts and workshops

The huts used as dwelling places were arranged in small groups. Each hut contained a single living area occupied by a single family of parents and children and sometimes small adjoining side-rooms designed for various tasks. Routine domestic work, such as grinding grain and cooking flat bread cakes, basket weaving, clay modelling and firing, all took place in the open air around the entrance to the hut. Domestic animals were also kept in pens nearby.

The round huts are constructed of stone footings roofed with intertwined brances, reeds and cane, and finally plastered with mud. The conical roof was perforated with small gaps to allow smoke to escape.

From the earliest times (5300-3800 B.P.) Los Millares enjoyed and important, thriving metallurgic tradition. Within the village there were several metal-working shops where copper was smelted and worked.

Copper implements came to be used more and more in domestic tasks instead of ones made from worked and polished stone. They were also regarded as objects of wealth and prestige, as can be seen by their appearance in burials of the families of higher social rank.

Junta de Andalucía


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