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The Treasures of Villena and Cabezo Redondo

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In 1963, two extraordinary prehistoric sets of gold objects were discovered in Villena, in the province of Alicante, Spain. The Villena's treasure was found in the sands of a dry riverbed. The other one, the Tesorillo (literally “little treasure”) of Cabezo Redondo, was also discovered out of its archaeological context, on the slopes of a Bronze Age site. The first one consists of gold bracelets, vessels and ribbons, plus three silver vessels and two iron objects. The Tesorillo is composed of 35 pieces of gold, including ornaments and amortized objects. Since its discovery, both sets were seen as connected. Their chronology has been discussed by Spanish and international researchers who proposed various dates ranging from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age. Recent archaeological excavations at Cabezo Redondo recovered hundreds of gold and silver ornaments from domestic contexts and from tombs of adults and children.
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ISBN 978-3-944507-13-2
ISSN 1867-4 402
11/ II 2014 TAGUNGEN DES LANDESMUSEUMS FÜR VORGESCHICHTE HALLE
Herausgeber Harald Meller, Roberto Risch und Ernst Pernicka
Metalle der Macht – Frühes Gold und Silber
Metals of power – Early gold and silver
6. Mitteldeutscher Archäologentag
vom 17. bis 19. Oktober 2o13 in Halle (Saale)
Metalle der Macht – Frühes Gold und Silber
TAGUNGEN DES
LANDESMUSEUMS FÜR
VORGESCHICHTE HALLE
11/II
Tagungen des
Landesmuseums für Vorgeschichte Halle
Band 11/II | 2014
Metalle der Macht –
Frühes Gold und Silber
Metals of power –
Early gold and silver
6. Mitteldeutscher Archäologentag
vom 17. bis 19. Oktober 2o13 in Halle (Saale)
6th Archaeological Conference of Central Germany
October 17–19, 2o13 in Halle (Saale)
landesmuseum für vorgeschichte
Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt
Metalle der Macht –
Frühes Gold und Silber
Metals of power –
Early gold and silver
6. Mitteldeutscher Archäologentag
vom 17. bis 19. Oktober 2o13 in Halle (Saale)
6th Archaeological Conference of Central Germany
October 17–19, 2o13 in Halle (Saale)
Tagungen des
Landesmuseums für Vorgeschichte Halle
Band 11/II | 2014
herausgegeben von
Harald Mel ler,
Roberto Risch und
Ernst Pernicka
Halle (Saale)
2o14
Die Beiträge dieses Bandes wurden einem Peer-Review-Verfahren unterzogen.
Die Gutachtertätigkeit übernahmen folgende Fachkollegen: PD Dr. Barbara Reg ine Arm-
bruster, Prof. Dr. François Bertemes, Prof. Dr. Christoph Bru mann, Prof. Dr. Robert Chap -
man, Dr. Andre a Dolfini, Prof. Dr. Gerhard Egger t, Dr. José Lull Gracía, Dr. Maria Filomena
Guerra, Prof. Dr. Detlef Günther, Prof. Dr. Andreas Hauptmann, PD Dr. Reinha rd Jung,
Dr. Laurence Manola kakis, Prof. Dr. Gregor Markl, Dr. Regine Maraszek, P rof. Dr. Carola
Metzner-Nebelsick, Prof. Dr. Pierre de Miroschedji, Prof. Dr. Louis Daniel Nebelsick,
Prof. Dr. Ernst Pernicka, Prof. Dr. Margarita Primas, PD Dr. Sabine Reinhold,
Dr. Ralf Schwa rz, Dr. Zofia Anna Stos-Gale , Dr. Christian-Heinrich Wunderlich.
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isbn 978-3-9445o7-13-2
issn 1867-44o2
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Inhalt / Contents
Band I
11 Vorwort der Herausgeber / Preface of the editors
Sektion Allgemeines / Section General Perspectives
21 Hans Peter Hahn
Die Sprache des Glanzes: Wert und Werte als Kontext von Gold
33 Hans-Gert Bachmann
Gold: pursued, desired, cursed – Reverence for a precious metal
Sektion Herkunft und Verarbeitung / Section Procurement and craft
Bergb au / Mining
53 Gregor Borg
»Gold is where you find it« – Zeitgenössischer artisanaler Goldbergbau in Afrika als Analogie
(prä-)historischer Goldgewinnung
71 Thomas Stöllner
Gold in the Caucasus: New research on gold extraction in the Kura-Araxes Culture
of the 4th millenium BC and early 3rd millenium BC
111 Danilo Wolf und René Kunze
Gegharkunik – Neue Quellen für altes Gold aus Südkaukasien?
141 Rosemarie Klemm und Dietrich Klemm
Früher Goldbergbau in Ägypten und Nubien
Archäometrie / Archaeometr y
153 Ernst Pernicka
Possibilities and limitations of provenance studies of ancient silver and gold
165 Verena Leusch, Ernst Pernicka, and Barbara Armbruster
Chalcolithic gold from Varna – Provenance, circulation, processing, and function
183 Zofia Anna Stos-Gale
Silver vessels in the Mycenaen Shaft Graves and their origin in the context of the metal supply
in the Bronze Age Aegean
209 Christopher D. Standish, Bruno Dhuime, Chris J. Hawkesworth, and Alistair W. G. Pike
New insights into the source of Irish Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age gold through lead
isotope analysis
223 Nicole Lockhoff and Ernst Pernicka
Archaeometallurgical investigations of Early Bronze Age gold artefacts from central Germany
including gold from the Nebra hoard
237 Robert Lehmann, Daniel Fellenger, and Carla Vogt
Modern metal analysis of Bronze Age gold in Lower Saxony by using laser ablation mass
spectrometry (ns-LA-ICP-QMS and fs-LA-ICP-MCMS) and portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF)
247 Ernst Pernicka
Zur Frage der Echtheit der Bernstorfer Goldfunde
257 Mercedes Murillo-Barroso, Ignacio Montero Ruiz, and Martin Bartelheim
Native silver ressources in Iberia
269 Francisco Contreras-Cortés, Auxilio Moreno-Onorato, and Martin Bartelheim
New data on the origin of silver in the Argaric Culture: The site of Peñalosa
285 Beatriz Comendador Rey, Jorge Millos, and Paula Álvarez-Iglesias
Provenance of the prehistoric silver set of Antas de Ulla, north-western Iberia, using lead stable
isotope ratios
309 Katja Martin
Was bleibt ... Der Metallurg und sein Handwerk im archäologischen Befund
Experimentelle Archäologie / Experimental archaeology
323 Barbara Armbruster
Ethnoarchäologie und experimentelle Archäologie in der Forschung prähistorischen Goldes
335 Eleni Konstantinidi-Syvridi, Nikolas Papadimitriou, Anna Philippa-Touchais, and Akis Goumas
Goldworking techniques in Mycenaean Greece (17th/16th–12th century BC):
some new observations
349 Christian-Heinrich Wunderlich
Wie golden war die Himmelsscheibe von Nebra?
Gedanken zur ursprünglichen Farbe der Goldauflagen
353 Christian-Heinrich Wunderlich, Nicole Lockhoff und Ernst Pernicka
De Cementatione oder: Von der Kunst, das Gold nach Art der Alten zu reinigen
Band II
Sektion Kontext und Interpretation / Section Context und interpretation
Osten / East
371 Raiko Krauß, Steve Zäuner, and Ernst Pernicka
Statistical and anthropological analysis of the Varna necropolis
389 Svend Hansen
Gold and silver in the Maikop Culture
411 Barbara Helwing
Silver in the early societies of Greater Mesopotamia
423 Romain Prévalet
Bronze Age Syrian gold jewellery – Technological innovation
435 Andreas Reinecke
Der Anfang des Goldhandwerks in Südostasien. Zur Verknüpfung archäologischer Befunde
und metallanalytischer Ergebnisse
Mittelmeer / Mediterranean sea
451 Stelios Andreou and Michael Vavelidis
So rich and yet so poor: Investigating the scarcity of gold artefacts in Bronze Age northern
Greece
467 Borja Legarra Herrero
The role of gold in south Aegean exchange networks (31oo–18oo BC)
483 Maria Grazia Melis
Silver in Neolithic and Eneolithic Sardinia
495 Maria Bernabò Brea, Filippo Maria Gambari, and Alessandra Giumlia-Mair
Preliminary remarks on the gold cup from Montecchio Emilia, northern Italy
505 Teodoro Scarano and Giovanna Maggiulli
The golden sun discs from Roca Vecchia, Lecce, Italy: archaeological and cultural context
527 Alicia Perea
Goldworking processes and ontologies at the inception of metallurgy in the
western Mediterranean
541 Maria Carme Rovira Hortalà, Ferran Borrell, Mònica Oliva, Maria Saña, Oriol Vicente, and
Gabriel Alcalde
Early gold remains in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula
547 Maria Carme Rovira Hortalà, Ignacio Montero Ruiz, and Alicia Perea
The funerary »treasure« of Montilla, Cordova, Spain
557 Vicente Lull, Rafael Micó, Christina Rihuete Herrada, and Roberto Risch,
The social value of silver in El Argar
577 Selina Delgado-Raack, Vicente Lull, Katja Martin, Rafael Micó, Cristina Rihuete Herrada und
Roberto Risch
Die Silberschmiede von Tira del Lienzo, Totana, Prov. Murcia, im Kontext
der El Argar Metallurgie
593 Mauro S. Hernández Pérez, Gabriel García Atiénzar, and Virginia Barciela González
The treasures of Villena and Cabezo Redondo, Alicante, Spain
Mitteleuropa / Central Europe
611 Harald Meller
Die neolithischen und bronzezeitlichen Goldfunde Mitteldeutschlands – Eine Übersicht
717 Ralf Schwarz
Goldene Schleifen- und Lockenringe – Herrschaftsinsignien in bronzezeitlichen Rang gesellschaften
Mitteldeutschlands. Überlegungen zur Gesellschaft der Aunjetitzer Kultur
743 Juliane Filipp und Martin Freudenreich
Dieskau Revisited I: Nachforschungen zur »Lebensgeschichte« des Goldhortes von Dieskau
und zu einem weiteren Grabhügel mit Goldbeigabe bei Osmünde im heutigen Saalekreis,
Sachsen-Anhalt
753 Martin Freudenreich und Juliane Filipp
Dieskau Revisited II. Eine mikroregionale Betrachtung
761 Rupert Gebhard, Rüdiger Krause, Astrid Röpke und Vanessa Bähr
Das Gold von Bernstorf – Authentizität und Kontext in der mittleren Bronzezeit Europas
777 Henning Haßmann, Andreas Niemuth, Mario Pahlow, Bernd Rasink, Stefan Winghart
und Friedrich-Wilhelm Wulf
Der Goldhort von Gessel
789 Franziska Knoll, Harald Meller und Juliane Filipp
»Nordisch by nature«. Die jundbronzezeitlichen, goldenen Eidringe Sachsen-Anhalts an der südlichen
Peripherie des Nordischen Kreises in ihrem Kontext
873 Christian-Heinrich Wunderlich
Gemeinsamkeiten und Unterschiede der goldenen Eidringe von Schneidlingen, Könnern,
Hundisburg und Klein Oschersleben hinsichtlich ihrer Herstellungs- und Abnutzungsspuren
Westen und Norden / West and North
885 Flemming Kaul
Bronze Age gold from Denmark
903 Stuart Needham and Alison Sheridan
Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age goldwork from Britain: new finds and new perspectives
                
The Treasures of Villena and Cabezo Redondo (Alicante, Spain)

Summary
In 1963, two extraordinary prehistoric sets of gold objects
were discovered in Villena, in the province of Alicante, Spain.
The Villena's treasure was found in the sands of a dry river-
bed. The other one, the Tesorill o (literally »little treasure«) of
Cabezo Redondo, was also discovered out of its archaeologi-
cal context, on the slopes of a Bronze Age site. The first one
consists of gold bracelets, vessels and ribbons, plus three sil-
ver vessels and two iron objects. The Tesorillo is composed of
35 pieces of gold, including ornaments and disused objects.
Since its discovery, both sets were seen as connected. Their
chronology has been discussed by Spanish and international
researchers who proposed various dates ranging from the
Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age. Recent archaeological
excavations at Cabezo Redondo recovered hundreds of gold
and silver ornaments from domestic contexts and from tombs
of adults and children.
Zusammenfassung
Die Goldschätze von Villena und Cabezo Redondo
(Alicante, Spanien)
Im Jahre 1963 wurden in Villena in der Provinz Alicante in
Spanien zwei außergewöhnliche Ensembles aus verschiede-
nen Goldobjekten gefunden. Der sogenannte Villena-Schatz
wurde in einem ausgetrockneten Flussbett geborgen. Der
andere Fund, bekannt als Te sor illo (wörtlich übersetzt »klei-
ner Schatz«), stammt aus Cabezo Redondo und ist ebenfalls
ohne archäologischen Kontext. Dieser Schatz wurde am Hang
eines bronzezeitlichen Fundortes geborgen. Der Villena-
Schatz enthält goldene Armringe, Gefäße und Bänder, drei
silberne Gefäße und zwei Eisenobjekte. Der Tesor i llo besteht
aus 35 Goldobjekten, sowohl Schmuckstücke als auch ausge-
diente Objekte. Seit ihrer Entdeckung werden beide Fund-
ensembles als miteinander in Beziehung stehend angenom-
men. Ihre zeitliche Einordnung ist seither von spanischen und
internationalen Wissenschaftlern diskutiert worden, die ver-
schiedene Datierungen von der späten Bronzezeit bis in die
frühe Eisenzeit vorschlagen. Neue archäologische Ausgra-
bungen in Cabezo Redondo erbrachten hunderte von Gold-
und Silberobjekten aus Siedlungs- und Grabkontexten sowohl
aus Kindergräbern als auch aus adulten Bestattungen.
Introduction
In 1963, two outstanding sets of gold and silver items were
discovered within just a few months in Villena, 45 km
inland from the Mediterranean coast (Fig. 1). One of them
– Villena's treasure – was found in the sands of a dry river-
bed. The other one, the Tesorillo (literally »little treasure«) of
Cabezo Redondo, was discovered on the slopes of a Bronze
Age site, in an archaeological context which cannot be dated
either. The first one consists of golden bracelets, vessels and
ribbons, plus three silver vessels and two iron objects. The
Tesorillo is composed of 35 pieces of gold weighing 147 g.
These objects were immediately considered to be prehis-
toric and were related to the Cabezo Redondo site.
José María Soler García began the excavations on this site
in 195o (Hernández Pérez 2oo5), though it had been known
since the 19th century. After a 3o-years hiatus, a team from
the University of Alicante under our supervision continued
the excavations which are still ongoing.
The site is located at a vantage point near a crossroad that
connects the central plateau and the upper part of Andalusia
with the Mediterranean region, a unique environment with
plenty of water, fertile lands, mineral salt deposits and many
plant and hunting resources. It is a proto-urban settlement
on a hillside, whose blocks of houses are distributed on arti-
ficial terraces accessible via streets, stairways and ramps.
The domestic units are large, some of them up to 1oo m 2,
with mostly plastered stone walls. Inside, there are floors of
great quality and an outstanding earthen architecture used
in the construction of interior furniture.
There were human burials inside the village. Some of
them were found in stone cists and ceramic urns, and
others in caves and crevices on the same hillock. Grave
goods are always scarce, or even nonexistent: simply a few
vessels and personal ornaments, sometimes made of gold
and silver. The few burials and grave goods demonstrate
that not everybody would have received a funeral and that
there was a hereditary social status, since some of these
graves with gold ornaments belong to children.
The many radiocarbon dates precisely establish the
village's sequence in the middle centuries of the 2nd millen-
nium cal BC, what is known as the Late Bronze Age.
                
2                   
Tesorillo of Cabezo Redondo
In April 1963, José María Soler García gathered a total of
35 golden items, with a total weight of 147.o8 g, from the
sediments that had fallen off the edge of a quarry cut into
the southeastern hillside of Cabezo Redondo (Fig. 2). The
peculiar circumstances of the discovery (Soler 1965) could
suggest that the original amount of items was much larger.
It seems that they had been hidden directly in the ground, in
an area with little archaeological remains, or maybe in a
small crevice.
The set has been called Tesorillo of Cabezo Redondo
(Fig. 3). It consists of
•a ribbon-like golden headband 55cm long and 1.2cm
wide, with holes in the rounded ends;
 •twofragmentsofgoldribbons,oneofthembrokenintwo
pieces;
 •threeopenbraceletsmadewithathinribbonwhosebor-
ders are bent inwards, one of them with a series of 12 and
13 perpendicular incisions;
 •aspiralwithtwoandahalfturns;
 •twospiralswithjustoneturn;
 •twoplainrings;
 •aringmadewitharibbonwithacentralmoulding;
•four rings with simple mouldings, two of them with
three mouldings of which the central one is larger, and
the other two with four and five of this decorative type;
 •sixringswithseveralmouldings,someofthemdecorated
with oblique or vertical incisions, and one with a trun-
cated pyramidal decoration;
 •tencone-shapedpendants(tutuli),veofthem(17mm
high with a base diameter of 21 mm) have two holes at
the top end, while the other five ones are smaller (13 mm
high with a base diameter of 19.5 mm) and have only one
hole; all ten contain a series of raised dots near the edge
of their base;
 •asphericalnecklacebeadwithacylindricalperforation;
 •abraceletfragmentorabentsheetwithamouldingpar-
allel to the edge, a row of 15 spikes 2.5 mm high, and an
ingot in the shape of a bent cylindrical bar with 12 mm
diameter and 8 mm long, that shows traces of use.
Treasure of Villena
In the late evening of December 1st, 1963, months after the
discovery of the Tesorillo, another outstanding discovery of
prehistoric gold and silver items was made, known as the
treasure of Villena. As stated in the comments made by
J. M. Soler and according to the photographs (Soler 1965), the
set pieces had been tidily placed into a vessel that, according
to its shape and the treatment of its surface, undoubtedly
belongs to the Bronze Age and is similar to others found in
Cabezo Redondo. The vessel was buried in the Rambla del
Panadero (Fig. 4), a small dry riverbed, 12 km from Villena
and 6.5 km from Cabezo Redondo. Some items may have
been lost, since some of them were recovered from the loose
gravel of the riverbed, and others were found several meters
away from the vessel, which had also lost part of its rim.
The set is mainly composed of gold items (11 bowls, 28
bracelets, three bottles and several objects that are part of
the decoration of a circular item) with a total weight of
9.754 kg (Fig. 5). The three silver bottles weighing 62o g; t wo
items seem to be made of iron, one in the shape of a bracelet
and the other, hemispherical, decorated with golden ribbons
and some sort of resin considered to be amber, but no analy-
sis has been made to confirm this.
Estremoz
Abía de la Obispalía
Gatas
Portimao
Villena
Cuesta del Negro
Cero de la Encina
N
200 km
Fig. 1 Map with location of the sites mentioned
in the text. Red marked area see Fig. 2.
Abb. 1 Karte mit den im Text erwähnten Orten.
Rot markier ter Ausschnitt siehe Abb. 2.
                
3               
1 Th is weight does not correspond to the origi-
nal one, since t heir inner sides were rein-
forced due to their poor cond ition.
The eleven golden bowls, one egg-shaped and the other
ones hemispherical, were made out of a thin sheet of gold
leaf with no signs of welding. Their total weight is 3.5o8 kg.
They were decorated from the inside using chisels with
rounded tips, creating different motifs, some of the most
common ones being rectilinear compositions found in sev-
eral positions, and semicircular garlands that hang from
lines parallel to the rim. The rim itself is slightly everted,
which suggests they would have been used to drink from.
According to the height/diameter ratio and the volumes,
they seem to fit the following patterns (Fig. 6):
 •GroupI.Twoitems.H:55–6o mm; Ø: 1o5–119 mm; Capa-
city: o.38o.45 litres
•Group II. Three items. H: 66–83mm; Ø: 166–171mm;
Capacity: 1.19–1.28 litres
•Group III. Two items. H: 87–116mm; Ø: 2o1–219 m m;
Capacity: 2.4o–2.71 litres
 •GroupIV. Fouritems:H:1o5–121 mm; Ø: 21o– 253 mm;
Capacity: 3.89–4.18 litres.
There are a total of 28 bracelets with different sizes, weights
and decorations. Their diameters range from 47 mm to
73 mm, an average of 58 mm. Three of them weigh less than
1oo g, 22 weigh between 1oo g and 3oo g, and three of them
weigh more than 35o g, one of these reaching 459.96 g
(Fig. 7).
Four of the bracelets have a flat or slightly concave inner
side, while the outside is always convex and has a well-pol-
ished finish. All the other bracelets have different mould-
ings, some with openwork and some not, some with spikes
and some not, and some have a combination of both. The
studies of B. R. Ambruster and A. Perea (1994) point out that
these bracelets were made in the lost-wax casting method
and were then finished on a lathe.
Both golden bottles (381.o6 g) and the three silver ones
(9 81.83 g1) have a decoration of two horizontal and two verti-
cal ribs, made from the inside, that divide the bottle in dif-
fer ent sectors. Their body is spherical, the neck concave, and
the base is slightly flat. Their sizes range from 1o.3 cm and
22.5 cm in height, four of them (two silver and two gold ones)
have very similar dimensions (Fig. 8).
Rambla del Panadero
Cabezo Redondo
Vinalopó river
N
5 km
Fig. 2 Map of Alto Vinalopó. Location of Cabezo Redondo and Rambla del Pa nadero.
Abb. 2 Karte von Alto Vinalopó. Lage von Cabezo Redondo un d Rambla del Panadero.
                
4                   
The rest of the treasure consists of small pieces and thin
gold sheets, like the reels, that would probably have been
part of the decoration of a circular object that was disassem-
bled so that the ornaments could fit inside the vessel. These
ornaments have been related to those of a scepter (Tarradell
1964), a panoply (Perea 1991) or the hilt of a dagger or a
sword (Fig. 9). The individual objects would have been
fixed to each other and to the inner edge of the structure
with the small nails and bolts, also made of gold.
There is also what seems to be an open bracelet (31.85 g
and 85 mm in diameter) seemingly made of iron, though it
still needs to be analysed in order to establish its exact com-
position and origin.
Fig. 3 Tesorillo of Cabezo Redondo.
Abb. 3 Der Tesor ill o von Cabezo Redondo.
Fig. 4 Current photog raph of Rambla del Pana-
dero. The monolith indicates t he site of the dis-
covery of the treasure of Villena .
Abb. 4 Akt uelles Foto von Rambla del Panadero.
Die Steinsäule markiert den Fun dort des Schat-
zes von Villena.
                
5               
Gold and silver in Cabezo Redondo
During the excavations at Cabezo Redondo (Fig. 1o), J. M. Soler
dis cov ered several gold and silver items. Their formal fea-
tures were key for relating the Tesorillo and treasure discov-
eries to the inhabitants of the village. Indeed, at least three
of the inhabitants had been buried with precious objects
similar to the tutuli found in the Tesorillo: one of them with
an earring made with a thin gold wire with three turns, an-
other one with a silver earring, and a third one with a gold
cone. These graves are located both in small caves on the
same hill and within tombs excavated under the floor of
some houses.
The record of gold and silver items from Cabezo Redondo
has increased during the last excavation season with the
discovery of fragments of silver earrings (Fig. 11,1); a silver
spherical bead (Fig. 11,3) and an outstanding set of gold
items, among them four small tutuli (Fig. 11,4–7), three
rivets with a hemispherical head and a square moulding
directly in the middle of the ventral surface (Fig. 11,8–1o), a
gold ring (Fig. 11,2) made from a thin sheet; a ribbon-like
bracelet 1.2 cm wide with holes in the opposite ends (Fig. 12),
and two gold bolts and 83 gold nails (Fig. 13) found in House
XXVIII, in a destruction context that has been dated by a
barley seed to around 1443–13o7 cal BC (311o ± 3o BP; Beta-
332581). The features and techniques of all these items are
extraordinar ily similar to those in the Tesorillo (such as the
ribbons), and the Villena-treasure (such as the mouldings in
some of the elongated items, the fastening system and bolts
in the reels, and the semicircular raised mouldings in the
back of these reels).
In addition to these gold and silver items, other personal
and prestigious ornaments, such as ivory combs or vitreous
paste beads, suggest that Cabezo Redondo formed part of
an important exchange network.
Characterisation and origin of the raw materials
The metallographic composition of the gold in the treasure
of Villena (Hartman 1982; Soler 1969; Simón 1998) is rela-
tively homogeneous. The copper percentage ranges between
o.11 % and o.32 % for the bowls, with a maximum of o.7o %,
and between o.1o % and o.37 % for the bracelets, with two
maximums of o.62 % and o.64 %. The copper content of
both gold bottles ranges between o.32 % and o.16 %; the dis-
parity can also be seen in the minor items with a percentage
of o.o2 % in one of the items with openwork, and 1.2o % in
one of the ferrules with incisions. Similar differences can be
seen in the Tesorillo, even among the morphologically iden-
tical items.
The items in the Tesorillo and the Villena-treasure have a
fairly high and differing percentage of silver2. In this regard,
one of the rings of the Tesorillo has 27 % of silver, while an-
other ring has just 3 %, and the silver content of the rest of
the items ranges between 5 % and 1o %.
Fig. 5 Treasure of Villena.
Abb. 5 Schatz von Villena.
                
6                   
2 The si lver proportion according to the total
weight of the item. The proportions of a ll
other metals a re related to the amount of
gold in the item.
3 See the complete bibliography on this a rgu-
ment by Mederos 1999 or Hernández Pérez
2oo5.
4 Schü le 1976; Ruiz-Gálvez 1992; Hernández
Pérez 1997; Delibes/Abarquero 19 97; Pi ngel
1992; Lucas 1998 etc.
Recent analysis of some of the gold finds from Cabezo
Redondo – a bracelet and a clinch from the House XXVIII –
shows interesting differences between the two items, but
still inside the ranges mentioned above. The bracelet pre-
sents a percentage of gold of 84.98 %, compared with the
8o.9o % of the clinch (Fig. 14). The presence of silver is
practically identical, with 12.86 % and 12.98 %. Similar
results have been observed for the copper content, with
o.47 % and o.57 % respectively, and called for also analysing
differences in the tin content: while the bracelet contains
1.69 % tin, the clinch has 5.55 %. These results coincide with
the ranges obtained in the analytical study by J. L. Simón
(1998 , 2o4) for other pieces found in the settlement (ring, spi-
ral and tutuli).
J. M. Soler (1969, 17) pointed out, based on Hartmann's
suggestions (197o), that the amount of silver in all items was
in line with a natural origin, while the amount of copper
matches the percentage in gold found in fluvial sands.
It is not possible to establish the origin of the silver and
gold found in the treasures because none of the nearby
rivers such as Vinalopó, Segura and Serpis carry gold.
Therefore, the metals must have a foreign origin. All the
silver could have come from the southeast of the Iberian
Peninsula, while the gold could have come from the north-
western and Atlantic areas, should it have a peninsular
origin.
The link between the sets and their chronology
Since its discovery, the chronology of the treasure of Villena
has been discussed according to different technological
aspects used for creating the bracelets and bowls, the pres-
ence of the two iron objects and, mostly, because of inaccu-
rate information or sometimes ignorance about the settle-
ment in the surroundings of the findspot. Once the initial
link to the Iron Age had been ruled out (Almagro Basch
1969, 287), the two current approaches3 suggest a link to the
Final Bronze Age (Almagro Gorbea 1974; Perea 1991; Simón
1998), or to the Late Bronze Age4.
I
II
III
IV
I
II
III
IV
litres
4.0
3.5
3.0
2.5
2.0
1.5
1.0
4.5
50
110907050 130
250
200
150
100
300
0.5
0
mm
a
b
Fig. 6 The bowls of the treasure of Vil lena.
a Dimensions; b Capacity.
Abb. 6 Die Schalen des Schatzes von Villena.
a Abmessungen; b Fassungsvermögen.
                
7               
From our point of view, the connection between these
three precious metals sets is clear and the chronology links
them to the Late Bronze Age. The Tesorillo and the Villena-
treasure are related based on the similarities between the
decoration of spikes on the bracelets discovered in the
Rambla del Panadero, and the fragment of the bracelet that
is part of the Tesorillo (Fig. 15). On the other hand, the con-
nection between the Tesorillo and the finds from Cabezo
Redondo is unquestionable because the discovery was
made on one of its slopes, and there are a lot of similarities
between the items and some of the discoveries made in
more recent excavations. This link between Cabezo
Redondo and the Villena-treasure makes it possible to es-
tablish a calendar date for the latter and overcome the limi-
tations found in chronological phases based on material
parallels.
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
450
500
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
diameter
mm/gr
width weight
Fig. 7 The bracelets of the treasure of Villena. Relationsh ip between size and weight (the number corresponds to the J. M. Soler inventory number).
Abb. 7 Die Ar mringe des Schatzes von Ville na. Ve rhältnis von Größe und Gewicht (die Zahlen entsprechen der Inventarnummer von J. M. Soler).
0
50
100
150
200
250
mm 1 2 3 4 5
hbody diam mouth diam
Fig. 8 The golden and silver bottles of the trea s-
ure of Villena. Relationship between mout h
diameter, maxi mum diameter a nd height (h).
Abb. 8 Die Gold- und Silberflasch en des Schatzes
von Villena. Verhältnis von Mündungsdurch-
messer (mouth diam), max imalem Durchmesser
(body diam) un d Höhe (h).
                
8                   
We are aware that some of the arguments used to estab-
lish this connection may be considered weak, but other
arguments are even more difficult to sustain. Among the
first ones are the connections between the decorative syn-
tax of some well-dated ceramic vessels and the gold bowls
(Fig. 16). The raised dots technique in the gold bowls does
indeed remind of some of the ceramic vessels discovered
in the village, both their morphology and the distribution
all over the surface. This is the case of the vessel with
pointy appliques (mamelones) found in House XX, which
has been dated to around 1616–1281 cal BC (318o ± 7o BP;
Beta-1814o5) based on carbonized cereal found next to it.
The decoration of hang ing garlands seen in a vessel found
in House XXV, dated to around 1631–1449 cal BC (327o ±
4o BP; Beta-195924) based on a cereal sample found in the
same level, has an even greater similar ity to that seen in
many of the gold bowls. There is also a very similar decora-
tion in the ceramics found in Cogotas I, a culture that shares
other decorative motifs with Cabezo Redondo (Abarquero
2oo5).
Fig. 9 Reconstruction proposals for the smaller
pieces of the treasure of Villena. a scepter (Tar-
radell Mateu 1964); b hilt sword (Lucas Pellicer
1998).
Abb. 9 Rekonstr uktionsvorschlag für die Klein-
funde au s dem Schatz von Villena. a Zepter ( Tar-
radell Mateu 1964); b Schwertgriff (Lucas Pelli-
cer 1998).
Dpto. XXX
Dpto. XXV
Dpto. XX
Dpto.
XXI
Dpto.
XXVI
Dpto. XXVII
open space
Dpto. XIX
Dpto. XXVIII Dpto. XXIX
Dpto. XVIII
a
c
b
N
5 m
Fig. 1o Cabezo Redondo. a western slope; b eastern hillside; c plan of the archaeological site.
Abb. 1o Cabezo Redondo. a Westhang; b Osthang; c Plan der archäologischen Fundstelle.
ab
                
9               
Ceramic bottles have also been discovered in Cabezo and
the nearby village located in the Sax castle hillside, also
from the Late Bronze Age, even though the ceramic vessels
have no ribs. Additionally, there are formal similarities be-
tween the ceramic bottles found in the phase 2b of the Cerro
de la Encina site (Monachil, Granada) and the ones in the
Villena-treasure (Molina 1978). A similar bottle is also
known from a Late Bronze Age layer of Gatas (Turre,
Almería) phase V (Castro et al. 1995, Fig. 4,1), which has
been dated to around 155o–135o cal BC (Castro et al. 1995).
The bottles of the Villena-treasure were also related with
ceramic pieces of identical morphology which appeared in
archaeological contexts linked to the second phase of the
southwest peninsular Bronze Age, especially with the bottle
of Poio (Portimao, Algarve, Portugal; Schüle 1965).
It is not possible to say whether these ceramic items are
local copies or reinterpretations of the vessels in the treas-
1 2 3
4 5 6
8 9 10
7
1 cm
Fig. 11 Gold and silver items record in Cabezo Redondo.
Ab b. 11 Gold- un d Silberobjekte aus Cabezo Redondo.
2 cm
Fig. 12 R ibbon-like bracelet fou nd in House XXVIII of Cab ezo Redondo.
Abb. 12 Bandförmiger Ar mring aus Haus XX VIII von Cabezo Redondo.
                
10                    
1 cm
Fig. 13 Gold nails found in House XX VIII of Cabezo Redondo.
Ab b. 13 Goldnägel aus Haus X XVIII von Cabezo Redondo.
80
60
40
20
100
cps/eV
keV
0
121086420 14
analisis
Sn Sn
Ag
Cu
Cu
Au
Au
Ag
200 µm
Fig. 14 A nalytic results of the bracelet found in
the House XX VIII of Cabezo Redondo.
Abb. 14 Ana lyseergebnisse des Armringes aus
Haus XX VIII von Cabezo Redondo.
                
11               
5 For these researc hers, the fact that the brace-
lets from Villena h ave a deliberate cut sug-
gests a form of sym bolic destruction, and
would require t hem to be interpreted as
objects that have a lready lost their value;
this would ex tend this hypothesis to a ll other
items in the set. However, other w riters sug-
gest that the c uts could be connected with t he
need to gradua lly open them up so that they
could fit for all li fe stages (Mederos 1999, 118).
6 It is impor tant to note that we cannot strict ly
refer to an iron industr y, but to ironwork ing.
Its origin and t he technology used is yet to
be established.
ures or, on the contrary, as it has been suggested, the latter
reproduce in gold some of these ceramic shapes. In our view,
not being able to analyse the components of the ceramic,
they meet the same criteria of exchange as the gold items.
In fact, the well-known tutuli of the Tesorillo remind of
those found in Cabezo, in the Late Bronze Age levels, and
also to the one found in the 5th strata of Cuesta del Negro
(Purullena, Granada), dating from the same period. Particu-
larly interesting in this context are the items discovered in
Cabezo Redondo, which are considered to predate the ones
in the Tesorillo due to their smaller size, though both have a
hole at the smaller end. On the contrary, they have a differ-
ent shape and size than the cones found in the El Argar site
of San Antón (Orihuela, Alicante), despite being usually
associated with these. Differences in shape and size appear
also with the silver and gold earrings found in Cabezo de
la Escoba (Villena, Alicante), whose gold roll could be the
prec edent for the cones or tutuli from Cabezo (Hernández
Pérez 1997).
Based on the three hilts discovered and their extensive
connections with similar items in wider European contexts
(especially Nordic and Central European), M. R. Lucas Pellicer
(1998, 189) suggests a time frame between the years
125o–115o BC (not cal) for the Villena-treasure. In this regard,
we would like to point out the link between the hilts found
in Villena, as well as other items in the Tesorillo and Cabezo
Redondo site, and the ones found in Abía de la Obispalía
(Cuenca). The bracelets in Abía de la Obispalía have an evi-
dent resemblance with those in the treasure, as noted by
Almagro Gorbea (1974, 49), as has the grooved collar with
some parts of the hilts identified by Lucas Pellicer in the
treas ure of Villena. Besides these similarities, we do also
want to highlight other connections that relate the site of
Cuenca and Cabezo Redondo. First of all, the morphology of
the closed and smooth ring found inside the cave of Abía de
la Obispalía matches that of the rings in the Tesorillo, and
the one found among the stones in one of the walls of House
XXI in Cabezo Redondo, which is assumed to have been de-
stroyed and abandoned between 153o1258 cal BC (314o ±
6o BP; Beta-195927). On the other hand, the similarities of
the tacks dis cov ered in different domestic contexts in
Cabezo Redondo and the ones in the treasure of Abía de la
Obispalía are extremely interesting. Both have small hemis-
pherical caps with a diameter of about 15 mm and a tiny
square nail.
According to B. Ambruster and A. Perea (1994), the tech-
nology used for manufacturing the bracelets (of the Villena-
Estremoz type) and the technical and chronological devel-
opment of precious metalwork in the Iberian Peninsula
(Ambruster/Perea 1994, Fig. 8), would suggest that the Vil-
lena-treas ure was hidden or deposited within the first cen-
turies of the first millennium BC. These researchers believe
that the treas ure is not a homogeneous set, because it com-
bines two different types of precious metalwork typical of
the Bronze Age in the Peninsula. The bowls are associated to
the Sagrajas-Berzocana type, while the bracelets are identi-
fied as part of the Villena-Estremoz type (Fig. 17). The trea-
sure would be the result of many items gathered for years
which had lost their original social and symbolic value at a
specific point in time5, with the intention of turning these
objects into raw material for the trading routes of the Final
Bronze Age.
The two iron objects6 in the Villena-treasure extended
the chronology to the Iron Age (Almagro Gorbea 1986) and
connected it with the first Phoenician sea journeys. How-
ever, the presence of items made of iron would be typical
for both European and Mediterranean contexts from the
13th/12th centuries BC onwards (Lucas Pellicer 1998; Ruiz-
lvez 1992).
We believe that the archaeological record of Cabezo
Redondo places the Villena-treasure in the Late Bronze Age,
though it is possible that the whole group of items was
gathered for several generations starting at around 15oo
cal BC, which is the date when some of the first gold items
from the site were made. They could have been hidden
when the village was abandoned, around the first decades
of the 13rd century cal BC according to radiocarbon dating
(Fig. 18). The abandonment date is confirmed by the fact
that there are no materials typical of the Final Bronze Age.
Meaning
From the very day of the discovery, there has been an in-
depth debate regarding the origin and meaning of the treas-
ure of Villena. Some people consider it as a religious offer-
ing or a symbolic way of marking territory, while other
scholars believe it was provisionally hidden at a time of
danger.
In any case, the outstanding amount of gold discovered
in the surroundings of Villena – almost 1o kg of gold com-
pared with the little more than 4oo g found in the southeast-
a b
Fig. 15 Detail of a bracelet of the Villena -treasure (a) and a bracelet frag-
ment of Tesorillo (b).
Ab b. 15 Detail eines Armr inges aus dem Schatz von Villena (a) und eines
Armringfragmentes des Tes or illo ( b).
                
12                    
Fig. 16 Comparative syntax of decorative bowls of the Villena -treasure and some ceramic vessels found in the Cabezo Redondo.
Abb . 16 Vergleich der verzierten Schalen des Schatzes von Villena mit Keramikgefäßen aus Cabezo Redon do.
                
13               
ern Peninsula belonging to the El Argar culture, 22oo
155o cal BC – has to be placed in the historical context of the
time in order to be understood. In the Late Bronze Age,
when the El Argar culture collapsed, important social
changes took place in the Vinalopó and, especially, Villena
regions. Especially notable is the synoecism process around
Cabezo Redondo, which happened at the same time when
more than 2o small settlements were abandoned (Jover et al.
1995). From that moment onwards, Cabezo Redondo turned
into a proto-urban settlement comprising large domestic
compounds, and areas for specialised activities such as
metal working inside some buildings. Within House XXI in
particular metalworking tools such as moulds, anvil stones
or hammers were discovered, together with ivory or textile
fibers. A special feature that breaks with previous tradi-
tions is the presence of graves inside the village, both under
the floor of the houses and in small natural caves in the
same hillock, some of them with gold and silver ornaments
that remind of those in the Tesorillo. These ornaments not
only appear in funerary contexts, but have also been docu-
mented in inhabitated areas, where they must be inter-
preted as disused or abandoned objects after the destruc-
tion of those spaces.
The successful development of Cabezo can be explained
by the rich wildlife (von den Driesch/Boesneck 1969) and
natural salt resources (García Martínez 1969), its proximity
to lakes, and the strategic location on a very popular prehis-
toric crossroad. Some researchers want to see the treasure as
the reflection of a political leader with a gold scepter (Tarra-
dell Mateu 1964), though we think the smaller pieces could
belong to the guard of a certain weapon. These would, how-
ever, be pieces that state a clear social status, as do the
28 bracelets. In this sense, the close connection between
some of the bracelets in the Villena-treasure and other ones
found in Portugal (Estremoz-Villena type) have lead to inter-
pret these materials as dowries, keys to maintain the
exchange and alliance network with other groups in the Ibe-
rian Peninsula (Ruiz- Galvez 1992).
On the other hand, the gold and silver tableware should
be linked to social feasting rituals. Classical sources, espe-
cially Homer's epic poem, describe the use of containers by
people with a high reputation in social events. Ritual drink-
ing has been stated in the Peninsula since the Bell Beaker
(Rojo et al. 2oo6) and El Argar (Aranda/Esquivel 2oo6) cul-
tures. Perhaps the control of the roads and exchange routes,
which had necessarily to cross the area, together with the
economic opportunities of stockbreeding, resulted in a status-
based society led by some sort of hereditary leadership that
gathered a great amount of gold through generations. This
gold came in the form of items that displayed the high social
status, like the bracelets and decorated weapons, and the
tableware for the ritual reinforcement of social relationships.
All these objects did eventually lose their value when the
social power collapsed. Cabezo Redondo, and almost the
entire region, was gradually abandoned between the years
13oo and 12oo cal BC. In the final final occupation phase
there is no evidence of a fire or any sort of destruction in the
houses, a fact that makes it hard to establish the exact mo-
ment in time since there are no valid organic samples for
radiocarbon dating. Up to now, the most recent dating for the
village corresponds to the penultimate occupation period
of House XXIX, which dates to around 141o–1257 c al BC
(3o6o ± 3o BP; Beta-361367). After this date, this house and
probably many more on the site should have still been used
until the final abandonment. However, no items from the
Final Bronze Age have been discovered, which suggests that
nobody lived in the settlement at around 12oo cal BC.
The reasons that led to the abandonment are still a mys-
tery, though it is likely that there was a change in the com-
mercial routes after the 13th century cal BC. Also, new vil-
lages appeared by the Vinalopó and Segura river mouths,
which became established after the 11th and 1oth centuries
cal BC and turned into the new social power centres, a power
now based on the links between the Mediterranean and the
Atlantic (Ruiz-Gálvez 2oo1). In this regard, the fact that the
Villena-treasure was hidden, as pointed out by M. R. Lucas
Pel licer (1988, 191), has much to do with the need to hide the
material and technical value of the items and, with them,
also the social status of the owners who, perhaps, thought
they would be able to restore their status in the future, which
never happened.
Acknowledgment
This work is part of the project »III–II millennium cal BC:
settlement, ritual and social change among the basins of the
rivers Júcar and Segura (HAR2o12–3771o)« financed by the
plan I+D+i of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness
of the Government of Spain.
Fig. 17 Bracelet of Estremoz (Portugal).
Ab b. 17 Armring aus Estre moz (Portugal).
                
14                   
H-22771
Beta-1959283
Beta-1959291
Beta-1814031
Beta-1890031
Beta-3747942
Beta-3747932
Beta-2920332
Beta-2770692
Beta-3613682
GrN-51091
Beta-3276574
Beta-1890043
Beta-1959242
Beta-2770672
Beta-3276592
Beta-1959251
Beta-2770682
Beta-3276562
Beta-1814052
Beta-1814012
Beta-1814022
Beta-1814041
Beta-1959271
Beta-1959261
Beta-3325822
Beta-3325812
Beta-3613672
120014001600
Calibrated date (calBC)
180020002200 1000
Beta-3276582
Beta-1814061
OxCal v4.2.3 Bronk Ramsey (2013); r:5 IntCal13 atmospheric curve (Reimer et al 2013)
Fig. 18 Radiocarbon dates obtained from the Cabezo Redondo.
1 Charcoal; 2 Seeds; 3 Human bone; 4 Faunal bone.
Abb . 18 14C-Datierungen au s Cabezo Redondo. 1 Holzkohle; 2 Samen;
3 menschliche r Knochen; 4 Tierknochen.
                
15              

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Source of figures
1–2 authors
3 courtesy of the Archaeologica l
Museum of Villena
4 authors
5 courtesy of the Archaeologica l
Museum of Villena
6–8 authors
9 a based on Tarradell 1964, 7 with
additions; b based on Lucas Pelli-
cer 1998, 174 Fig. 6 with additions
1o–13 author s
14 aut hors and Instituto Valenciano
de Conser vación y Restaurac ión
de Bienes Culturales
15 courtesy of the A rchaeological
Museum of Villena and authors
16 authors
17 courtesy of the National Archaeo -
logical Museu m of Spain
18 authors
Addresses
Prof. Dr. Mauro S. Hernández Pérez
Universidad de Alicante
Ap. de Correos, 99
E-o3o8o, Alicante
mauro.hernandez@ua.es
Dr. Gabriel García Atién zar
Universidad de Alicante
Ap. de Correos, 99
E-o3o8o, Alicante
g.garcia@ua.es
Virginia Barciela González
Universidad de Alicante
Ap. de Correos, 99
E-o3o8o, Alicante
virginia.barciela@ua.es
... Uno de estos pequeños objetos presenta una reducida cantidad de una especie de resina identificada, sin las correspondientes analíticas, como ámbar. El conjunto se completa con tres botellas de plata, de unos 655 g de peso, y dos objetos considerados de hierro, uno de ellos con la morfología de un brazalete y el otro, de tendencia semiesférica, recubierto por una lámina calada de oro (Soler García, 1965;Hernández Pérez et al., 2014) (Figs. 1 y 2, A). La composición metalográfica del oro del Tesoro de Villena (Soler García, 1969;Hartmann, 1982;Simón García, 1998) es relativamente homogénea. ...
... En la amplia bibliografía dedicada al Tesoro de Villena destaca la escasa atención prestada a los objetos de plata, aunque bien es cierto que la descripción morfológica y tecnológica está bien asentada (Soler García, 1965;Armbruster, 1995). Buen reflejo de este menor interés queda patente en la discusión sobre el peso total de las piezas, que ha bailado desde los 981,83 g (Hernández Pérez et al., 2014) ofrecidos tras las dos restauraciones de las piezas, hasta la horquilla 620-650 g obtenida en el último trabajo sobre el conjunto (Montero Ruiz et al., 2016). Centrándonos en la cuestión de la materia prima, en la resolución de la Dirección General de Patrimonio Artístico de la Consejería de Cultura y Educación por la que se incoaba el expediente de declaración como BIC el Tesoro de Villena se mencionaba la realización de analíticas en 1998 que mostraban una aleación de plata, oro y cobre (BOE, 7 de enero de 2003: 7.802). ...
... La segunda materia formaba parte de un adorno o remate complejo y fue catalogada como ámbar (Soler García, 1965) o algún tipo de resina (Hernández Pérez, 2005;Hernández Pérez et al., 2014). Sin embargo, y al igual que el oro o el hierro, la falta de analíticas concretas impide precisar la materia prima exacta y su procedencia. ...
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Desde su descubrimiento a finales de 1963, el Tesoro de Villena se ha convertido en un referente en la historiografía prehistórica peninsular. Para ello fue determinante la notable diligencia de José María Soler García a la hora de publicar detalladamente el conjunto, apenas unos meses después del hallazgo, en el número de 1964 de la revista Villena y en 1965 en el número 36 de Excavaciones Arqueológicas en España. A estos trabajos se uniría, en 1969, El oro de los tesoros de Villena, editado en el número 36 de la serie de Trabajos Varios del Servicio de Investigaciones Prehistóricas de la Diputación de Valencia, en el que se revisaba el catálogo y se ofrecían nuevos datos sobre la composi-ción metalográfica a partir de los análisis realizados por A. Hartmann. Desde estos trabajos, muchos han sido los investigadores que han empleado el Tesoro de Villena para abordar múltiples cuestiones, desde la tecnología áurea hasta las relaciones socioeconómicas durante los momentos finales de la Prehistoria. En cualquier caso, los temas más frecuentemente discutidos en los más de cincuenta años transcurridos desde el descubrimiento han sido la cronología y significado del conjunto. Resulta indudable que estos dos asuntos son de compleja resolución por las circunstancias del hallazgo, descubierto en una rambla alejada de cualquier con-texto arqueológico, y las características del conjunto, formado por piezas de dife-rente tecnología y materia prima. De este modo, cualquier trabajo que pretenda ahondar sobre el Tesoro de Villena debe asumir sus limitaciones intrínsecas y tratar de profundizar a partir de la suma de la mayor cantidad posible de indicadores. Tomando en consideración esta premisa, este trabajo se centrará en tres aspectos que consideramos primordiales: la materia prima, la tecnología y la morfometría.
... The economic power attached to this settlement was also manifested in the abundant gold and silver ornaments. The type and dating of these objects to 1500-1300 BC is the same as the famous "Villena treasure," which contained ~9 kg of gold and was found in a nearby riverbed in 1963 (see Hernández Pérez et al. 2014). ...
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The Late Bronze Age (1700–900 BC) represents an extremely dynamic period for Mediterranean Europe. Here, we provide a comparative survey of the archaeological record of over half a millennium within the entire northern littoral of the Mediterranean, from Greece to Iberia, incorporating archaeological, archaeometric, and bioarchaeological evidence. The picture that emerges, while certainly fragmented and not displaying a unique trajectory, reveals a number of broad trends in aspects as different as social organization, trade, transcultural phenomena, and human mobility. The contribution of such trends to the processes that caused the end of the Bronze Age is also examined. Taken together, they illustrate how networks of interaction, ranging from the short to the long range, became a defining aspect of the “Middle Sea” during this time, influencing the lives of the communities that inhabited its northern shore. They also highlight the importance of research that crosses modern boundaries for gaining a better understanding of broad comparable dynamics.
... 1000 BC). The hiding of the extraordinary hoard, Tesoro de Villena, probably occured during this time, linked with the social changes involved in the decline of the political power of this prominent Late Bronze Age site (Hernández et al., 2014). ...
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Antler is a profusely used raw material throughout Late Prehistory. From1700/1600 cal BC, social and economic transformations that took place in the Southeast of Ibe-rian Peninsula led to the period known as the Late Bronze Age. During this time, an extraordinary increase in the exploitation of antler raw material can be observed,to create varied objects, most of them involved in productive activities. This change took place in the general context of arise in the production of handicrafts. This includes the improvement of metallic tools made in real bronze and working techniques which allowed for the development of new and diverse implements made from different raw materials with a wide range of functions. The archaeological site with the most well-documented record of this process is Cabezo Redondo: a settlement characterized by a proto-urban organization on a hillside with a chronology which span along almost the entire 2nd millennium cal BC.
... En la misma dirección apuntan los enterramientos asociados el Peñón de la Zorra y el Puntal de los Carniceros, interpretados tradicionalmente como campaniformes, pero cuya relectura y análisis radiocarbónico permite situar, a tenor de los primeros resultados de un proyecto aún en curso, en ca. 1800-1600 cal BC, coincidiendo claramente con las dataciones de restos humanos conocidas para el área de poblado de Cabezo Redondo (Tabla 4) [Her14,Her16]. Lo mismo podría proponerse para otros contextos funerarios de la zona, como los enterramientos del Cabezo de la Escoba, recientemente reinterpretado como una covacha semi-artificial ubicada a unos centenares de metros del poblado [Cab15]. ...
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The proliferation of radiocarbon analytics in the last decades has allowed a better concretion of the chronological framework of the prehistoric sequence of the Iberian Peninsula, with special attention to the advanced moments. However, on several occasions a notable disparity has been observed between the material reality, the stratigraphic sequence and the dating obtained. Often it has been tried to explain these anomalies referring to contaminations of different type that could have affected the sample or to postdepositional processes not clearly observable, without taking into account that one of the possible explanations could be in the absence of a direct relation between the sample and the archaeological context to be studied. In this work, this question is approached from a site with a broad chronological and stratigraphic sequence that starts in the Campaniforme and lasts for much of the Bronze Age. In this case study we discuss the methodology followed in selecting the samples to be dated, as well as a first evaluation of the stratigraphic and chronological sequence of the settlement and the relationship of its depositional history with a series of historical events of regional character .
... Algunos autores defienden su origen atlán- tico, en base a la mayor concentración de hallazgos, y porque en ese área es donde se producen fenómenos de transmisión y persistencia tecnológicos propios de un proceso de largo alcance (Armbruster y Perea 1994;Perea 1994Perea , 1995Perea , 2014; Perea y Armbruster 2008). Otros, sin embargo ( Hernández Pérez 2005;Hernández Pérez et al. 2014), defienden su origen en el levante penin- sular, sobre la base del hallazgo de Villena (Alicante), un depósito de algo más de 9 kg de oro, entre los que se encontraron 28 brazaletes del tipo V/E, todos ellos seccionados. La fragmentación del material arqueoló- gico encontrado en este tipo de depósitos (Chapman 2000;Brück 2006), también ha suscitado numerosas interpretaciones, que van desde lecturas mercantilistas . ...
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Presentamos el hallazgo de un brazalete de oro encontrado en el sistema kárstico de Cueva Mayor-Cueva del Silo de la Sierra de Atapuerca (Burgos, España). Esta pieza excepcional, se caracteriza tecnológica, cronológica y culturalmente, así como su significado económico e ideológico en el contexto de la tecnología Villena/Estremoz (V/E) del Bronce final. El estudio se ha realizado mediante microscopía óptica (MO), y electrónica de barrido (MEB), y microanálisis elemental por dispersión de Rayos X (MEB-EDX). La presencia de este objeto de oro en la Meseta Norte y su paralelismo con otros ejemplos de la península ibérica confirmaría la conexión o intercambios tecnológicos, culturales y/o comerciales a larga distancia entre la vertiente atlántica y la mediterránea durante la Edad del Bronce.
... BC) situado en el Bronce Tardío. En el caso del Tesorillo, dada su simi- litud tipológica (Hernández Pérez et al. 2014), podrían corresponder al mismo momento que el asentamiento. Hay algún otro ejemplar que podría ser de la misma época, como el de la Cuesta del Negro (Purullena, Granada) que se asocia a Cogotas I (Molina y Pareja 1975). ...
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This paper presents archaeological layer XXV from Cova del Gegant (Sitges, Barcelona), ascribed to Bronze Age, and focuses on this period’s chronological issues. Cova del Gegant yielded Late Bell Beaker pottery featuring a decorative style akin to the “Northeastern Group” (generally ascribed to Early Bronze Age), human remains associated with a collective burial (radiocarbon dated to Middle Bronze Age), amber and/or resin ornaments, and two gold artifacts (very scarce in the NE of Iberian Peninsula). The archaeological artifacts and radiocarbon dating range provide important data concerning the exchange networks and movements along the Mediterranean coastline during Bronze Age. Key words: Cova del Gegant; Late Bell Beaker pottery; Gold; Bronze Age.
... On the one hand, it led to the abandonment of many hilltop settlements and the fortification of Motillas in the southern Meseta. On the other hand, new power centres were formed in c. 2 ha large settlements at Cabezo Redondo (Alicante); they were much smaller than those of El Argar, but with great political and economic importance, which can be seen in the 'treasure from Villena' and similar gold finds from the settlement (Hernández et al. 2014). ...
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Based on recent evidence from both archaeological and natural sciences, in this paper we would like to sketch a historical geography of Europe and the Mediterranean around the year 1600 bc and then discuss the changes observed during the 16th century bc in relation to a possible correspondence with the Thera eruption. Our point of departure will be the sequence of events that took place during the months and years just before, during, and immediately after the Thera eruption. The available archaeological evidence permits us to explore the response of the local and regional communities, the logistics that were mobilised, and the political decisions adopted in light of these events. From this local and regional scenario we will move on to discuss the changes occurring in Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Near East during the 16th century bc . At least four different socio-economic and political scenarios can be sketched, showing that the responses of Bronze Age societies were highly variable. At that point, we can ask how different political structures existing at the time reacted or were affected by the ecological and/or social dynamics. Basically, our itinerary concludes that the Thera eruption did not cause a severe climatic or environmental change, but touched the ideological realm particularly of those socio-political entities which were more dependent on complex ideological superstructures in order to legitimate extreme economic exploitation.
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Se presentan nuevos datos sobre la composición de las 3 botellas de plata del Tesoro de Villena (Alicante). La presencia de oro en la composición es un rasgo inusual en la plata prehistórica, no solo de la península Ibérica, sino de todo el ámbito del Mediterráneo con la excepción de Egipto. Sin embargo, esta aleación Ag- Au podría responder en la mayoría de los casos a una mezcla involuntaria durante la manufactura de piezas en el taller donde se trabaja simultáneamente con oro y plata
Article
The analysis of the Villena goldhoard bracelets is the starting point for a team research which has showed the existence of a technological stage which was more developed than we thought for the Atlantic Bronze Age in the Iberian Peninsula. The use of a complex lost wax casting gold technique and the existence of a horizontal rotary axis lathe are demonstrated. Finally we put forward an explanation for this important hoard and we stablish a chronological frame work framework for a series of gold finds coming from the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula. El estudio de los brazaletes del tesoro de Villena es el punto de partida de una investigación en equipo que ha tenido como resultado la constatación de un estadio tecnológico más avanzado del que hasta ahora se pensaba para la metalurgia del Bronce Atlántico en la Península Ibérica. Se demuestra la práctica de una sofisticada técnica de fundición a la cera perdida en oro y la existencia del torno de eje horizontal. Finalmente planteamos un modelo interpretativo para este importante depósito y situamos en un marco de cronología relativa toda una serie de hallazgos de orfebrería del suroeste peninsular que hasta la fecha se encontraban descontextualizados.
Article
Con los elementos indeterminados o "desechos" localizados en el Tesoro de Villena, se han reconstruido parcialmente tres modelos de empunaduras. Las analogias materiales, tecnicas, esteticas e iconograficas presupo-nen que se trata de espadas o armas de parada, valor anadido a la suntuosidad del conjunto aureo cuyo uso se vincula a ceremonias simbolicas de caracter politico. Se argumenta una datacion ante quem al Bronce Final III, en sincronia con el denominado Bronce Tardio del area comprendida entre el Vinalopo y el Bajo Segura. = Three models of hits have partially been reformed with indeterminate elements or "residues" located in the Tresure of Villena. The physical, technical, aesthetic or graphic analogies are supposed to belong to swords or ceremonial weapons, involving and extra value to the magnificence of the golden whole, whose use is closely bound to symbolic political ceremonies. The arguments used in the comparisons are not incompatible with a date ante quem to the Final Bronze III in coincidence whith the Late Bronze in the area of Vinalopo and Low Segura.
Article
El artículo propone dos períodos principales de intensificación agraria en la Península Ibérica: La transición del Campaniforme a la edad del Bronce y la del Bronce Final a la Edad del Hierro. Ambos momentos se relacionan con cambios en los sistemas de herencia por vía femenina y son detectables a través del análisis de la orfebrería y de los ajuares funerarios.
17 Armring aus Estremoz (Portugal)
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Abb. 17 Armring aus Estremoz (Portugal).
De orfebrería céltica: el depósito de Berzocana y un brazalete del Museo Arqueológico Nacional
  • Almagro Basch
M. Almagro Basch, De orfebrería céltica: el depósito de Berzocana y un brazalete del Museo Arqueológico Nacional. Trabajos Prehist. 26, 1969, 275-294.
Orfebrería del Bronce Final en la Península Ibérica: El tesoro de Abía de la Obispalia, la orfebrería tipo Villena y los cuencos de Axtroki
  • Almagro Gorbea
  • M Almagro
  • Gorbea
Almagro Gorbea 1974 M. Almagro Gorbea, Orfebrería del Bronce Final en la Península Ibérica: El tesoro de Abía de la Obispalia, la orfebrería tipo Villena y los cuencos de Axtroki. Trabajos Prehist. 31, 1974, 39–1oo.