University of Granada researchers have taken an important step to determine what life was like on the Iberian Peninsula in the Bronze Age. Included in their study is the oldest well found in region.

University of Granada researchers from the department of Prehistory and Archaeology have taken an important step to determine what life was like in the Iberian Peninsula in the Bronze Age.

Since 1974, archaeologists from Granada have been working on the site of the Motilla del Azuer, in the Southern province of Ciudad Real, in search of the necessary information to reconstruct the day by day in this thrilling and unknown historical period.

The sites, known as motillas, represent one of the most peculiar types of prehistoric settlements in the Iberian Peninsula. They occupied the region of La Mancha in the Bronze Age between 2200 BC and 1500 BC, and they are artificial mounds, 13 feet to 33 feet high, a result of the destruction of a stone fortification of central plan with several concentric walled lines. Its distribution in the plain of La Mancha, with equidistances of 2.5 miles to 3 miles, affects river meadows and low areas where the existence of pools was quite frequent until recently.

Although they already were known by the end of the 19th century, motillas were erroneously considered to be burial mounds until the middle of the 1970s, when the start of the research work on the Motilla del Azuer carried out by the University of Granada showed that it was a fortification, surrounded by a small settlement and a necropolis. It is the first site of this kind to be excavated in a scientific and systematic way.

Technical Features

The mound of the fortification that has been recovered has a diameter of about 164 feet, and is composed of a tower, two walled enclosures and a large courtyard. The central core is composed of a tower of masonry of square plan, with 23-foot high east and west fronts and an interior accessible through ramps inlaid in narrow corridors, which confer a particular nature to the place.

The researchers explain that the settlement of the Azuer contains the oldest well found in the Iberian Peninsula. The inside of this type of walled enclosures protected basic resources such as water, collected from the phreatic stratum through the well, and also was used to store and process cereals on a large scale, to occasionally keep the livestock and to product pottery and other homemade products, whose remains also have been found.