2,500-year-old Iberian village Calafell in Spain
”We don’t know what was the name of this place in the Iberian times because Calafell is the name from the Muslim times in the Middle Ages.”
”We don’t know what exactly happened in Calafell, if the Romans defeated it or the Iberians just left on their own.”
”Look, every time you see the red line, everything under is the original wall from 2,500 years ago” he pointed out to us.
”We cannot say this place looked exactly like the one we can see now. We don’t have enough proofs; it’s just a hypothesis. Maybe in 20 years we will have more evidence and know more.”
Iberian houses and life
- Then it was time to enter one of the Iberian small standard houses. The reconstruction is always clearly separated with a red line from the original wall.
- The archaeologists always put a column to the place where there is a hole in the ground and the rest of the houses were rebuilt with clay, limestone, straw, mud and other natural materials.
- 12 or 13 buildings with mostly 1 room were excavated. The minority of them had 2 or 3 rooms but we don’t know if the other room was for the inhabitants or served as a storage or animal shelter (goats or sheep.)
- Unfortunately, there’s no evidence of the house roof style as nothing of that was preserved.
- Some Iberian houses were of approx. 60 square metres where upper-class people and warriors used to dwell.
- The house entrance doors were most probably super small as in the middle of the summer it was very hot. The reason was to keep the air inside fresh without much light and heat from the outside.
- The Iberians were the civilization like any other Mediterranean one at that time based on agriculture of growing cereals and legumes.
- Most of the Iberian population were peasants.
- Our guide showed us how they used to grind cereals and legumes. I saw a similar stone grain mill the Bedouins still use nowadays in Tunisia.
- Carbonized seeds and shells were found at the fireplace in the middle of the house so now we know they used to eat chickpeas and olives.
- Probably they ate sitting on the ground and not at tables.
- The importance of iron technology is shown here at the Iberian village of Calafell. The Romans had a more sophisticated way of working with iron but we don’t really know how the Iberians managed to make iron objects.
”When we tried to experiment with iron to make arrows, we spent loads of kilograms of iron. It’s a complex process which takes a lot of time.” our guide laughed.
- Clay and other mineral mines were found close to Calafell, too.
- Also, some graves with personal objects and gifts that other people put into the tombs were excavated. It was mostly luxury objects, such as swords, which prove that it was not shepherds but higher society members who had lived here.
- The Iberians traveled around the Mediterranean sea to trade with other tribes. That’s also the reason why they used coins which was the proof of their connection to other tribes, such as the Phoenicians, Greeks or Romans.
- Pieces of Greek vessels and jars found here show it was an active trade between the Iberians and other Mediterranean cultures.
- Other objects from the excavation were metal rings and furnaces for melting copper.
- We passed around something that might have served as a little temple but there’s not enough information about it to be sure.
- Two rounded ovens are located in the ruin area where bread-making workshops take place when families with kids visit the Iberian citadel of Calafell.
- The biggest house in the Iberian village consisted of a lot of rooms. Probably it was a kind of palace where the chief lived. The walls are so wide which makes us think it had a second floor. 3D reconstruction was done by the University of Barcelona and you can check the app now which shows how the house might have looked 2,500 years ago.
- They found 2 original furnaces in the village for making bread located at the street between the houses so the hypothesis is that everyone could bake a sort of pita bread there.
- The Iberians were good at making textiles.
”There’s probably ruins around the citadel, right?” one of my blogger colleagues Suzanne asked.”Probably? No. For sure yes. The village was larger than what you can see now but it was not in our power to preserve everything.”
- All the sings around the ruins are in Catalan but the visitors get a booklet in Spanish or English, too. Hopefully, soon there will be also English signs.
- You can schedule a tour around the Calafell ruins with a local guide in a few different languages.
And as almost everywhere, I played a little with the Iberian helmet and did some yoga asanas with it on my head. Only later on I found it I had it the other way round 😀
My trip to Iberian village Calafell Spain was a press trip. For more information, visit Calafell tourism website and Costa Daurada to see what other things you can do in the area. If you need a guy around Costa Daurada, check out Paco or his co-workers from Argos Serveis Culturals.