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Author Topic: EUSKALDUNAK - The Basques  (Read 2665 times)
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« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2009, 10:39:33 am »

Late Bronze and Iron Age
Sites in the Basque Country

                                                              I R O N   A G E

Already, in the first millennium BC, with the arrival of Urnfield culture (proto-Celts) to the southern edge of the Basque Country (Ebro valley), there are some findings of iron tools and weapons. In the rest of the country it seems, from the few remains found, that the people remained in the cultural context of the Atlantic Bronze Age for some time.

Unrnfield influence is limited to the Ebro valley, penetrating the Basque Country specially in Araba, where a peculiar facies of this culture, influenced as well by pre-Indo-European cultures of Aquitaine and the Iberian plateau (Cogotas I), exists [2.

Since c. 400 BC, there is a noticeable Iberian influence in the Ebro valley and central Navarre. Iron then became widespread, along with other advances such as the potter's wheel and an increase of production of cereal agriculture, that would allow for a larger population. Urbanization became more elaborated as well, with reticular street design in sites like La Hoya (Biasteri, Araba).

The Atlantic basin remains less developed and purely rural but there are many coincidences with the south. There are many sites, especially in the Northern Basque Country, that are awaiting archaeological excavation.

The economy became more and more centered in agriculture, specially cereals, with less importance of cattle and a marginal role for hunt. There is evidence of growing importance of bovine cattle (oxen).

Burial customs also changed, with a clear dominance of cremation in the Iron Age. The treatment of the ashes varies instead with burials in stone circles (cromlechs), mounds, caves, cists or urn fields.

The individual burial in cromlech is the most aboundant but limited to the Pyrenean region, where 851 of these funerary monuments are documented. These cromlechs have diameters of 3-7 meters, with the burial located in the middle.

Corpses were not cremated inside the cromlech but in a nearby spot, with only a handful of ashes being carried to the monument in fact.

Cave, cist and urn field burials were rare, the latter are only found in two sites at the Ebro valley. Cist burials, surely related to Iberian customs, have been found at La Hoya. Additionally many young children have been found bruied inside homes.

Art was mostly limited to decorative purposes, specially in pottery. Some cases of painted geometric decorations in homes, with an occasional human figure as well, have been found in the prolific sites of southern Araba (La Hoya, Alto de la Cruz). Some alleged idols and carved wooden boxes are also known of. Schematic mural painting, in caves or exposed rocky walls, dates, according to some authors, from this period as well.

On this substrate, an irregular Romanization would take place at the beginning of our age. Some towns like La Custodia (Biana, Navarre) would become clearly romanized, while others not far away, like La Hoya, would retain their original native character fully.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 10:45:46 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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