A team of archaeologists has discovered the earliest known carvings of human figures made by the Tartessos, a lost civilization that flourished in southern Spain around 3,000 years ago and it has been linked to the legend of Atlantis.
The discovery of five reliefs of human faces in the ancient Tartessian site of Casas del Turuñuelo, revealed unexpected details about this company from bronze age What mysteriously disappeared about 2,500 years ago.
These are “the first portraits that we know of Tartessos” indicated the researcher Sebastián Celestino. Credit: Higher Council for Scientific Research.
According to researchers from the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC)the discovery came during an excavation in the eastern sector of the site, where a “massive animal sacrifice” took place, specifically sixteen horses, two bulls and a pig.
The CSIC team and the Junta de Extremadura, led by Esther Rodríguez González and Sebastián Celestino Pérez, confirmed that two of the figurines correspond to female figures adorned with earrings or hoop earrings that represent typical pieces of Tartessian goldsmithery. For archaeologists, they are likely to be depictions of gods and warriors.
“Given the technical quality and the artistic detail with which they were made, it seems that we are dealing with the representation of two female deities of the Tartessian pantheon,” the researchers said, further suggesting that it could be act of prominent figures in Tartessian society.
Previously, it was known that the Tartessians represented their gods and their heroes by schematic symbols, because this is what has been found to date; but now we know that they also made sculptures of figures adorned with jewels and that, in addition, “have a enormous quality, up to the height, I say it without exaggeration, of which a Greek or Etruscan sculpture has“.
The team of archaeologists who made the discovery. Credit: EFE/Samuel Sánchez Vaquero.
Besides the two female figures, other fragments belonging to at least three other individuals have also been recovered. One of them was identified as a warrior, keeping part of the helmet.
For some unknown reason, the site was intentionally sealed off and set on fire, probably as part of a ritual.
Relating to Atlantis
The ancient Greeks knew the Tartessos as the first civilization of the West. This civilization was linked since antiquity to the Atlantis of Plato.
“Through violent earthquakes and floods, in one day and one night of misfortune… [la raza entera]… was swallowed by the Earth, and the island of Atlantis … disappeared into the depths of the sea. -Plato.
The idea also arose from Aristotle’s link between a river in southern Spain and Atlantis and the Tartessos.
A mysteriously vanished civilization
Although it is still unclear how this civilization ended, new ideas and hypotheses have emerged as to how it may have ended.
Although the Tartessos flourished in the south of the Iberian Peninsula for several centuries, this rich culture seems to have disappeared from the face of the planet soon after the Turunuelo Houses was burned Some experts have speculated that a collapse in the mining and metals trade dealt a deadly economic blow to Tartessos.
Some experts believe that one or more large earthquakes and subsequent tsunamis may have destroyed most of their coastal settlements, causing widespread damage to Tartessian settlements from which civilization never recovered. This hypothesis explains why some researchers have suggested that the Tartessos may be linked to the origin of the legend of Atlantis, although others in the academic community have called such claims “whimsical and outright madness”.
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Another fascinating aspect of tartessian culture (VIII-IV centuries BC) is their writing system, which has not yet been fully deciphered, although it was used for inscriptions on ceramics, metal objects and engravings caves.
One of the most famous Tartessian artifacts is the so-called “Lady of Elche”, a bust with a unique helmet, believed to represent a goddess or priestess of the Tartessian religion.
Lady of Elche. Credit: José Luis Filpo Cabana / Emilio J. Rodríguez Posada / Wikimedia commons
However, for Celestino, the recent discovery is a significant shift in history, as the books “should begin to change their dates and detail that the appearance of this class of carvings is much older than previously thought. It is no longer valid to refer only to the Lady of Elche, but rather we have to go back half a centurywhich is the dating that these pieces have”.
An interesting discovery that brings archaeologists closer to the enigmatic Tartessian civilization, whose disappearance around 2,500 years ago continues to be a baffling enigma for science.
References: History / El Confidencial / La Razon.
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