5500 BC - 1500

The Ebro lands, from Prehistory to Middle Age

Museu de les Terres de l'Ebre

A walk through the history of this land.

Prehistory: From the cave to the village
Major changes of climatic, environment and, also, anthropic nature, took place during this long period. Domestication procedures were introduced, with the population growing specific crops and breeding specific animals. The new economic structure favored a sedentary lifestyle among peoples and the development of funerary practices. As a result, the manufacture of tools was diversified and new industries as pottery were created.

The Ebro lands accommodated a regional group with specific cultural characteristics, which have left us red bottle-like pottery .

Other characteristic elements are body adornments like necklaces and bangles, created with shells and conches.

Shell ruler bracelet.

Chert microclites that were part of an arrow.

Stone used to cut.

Protohistory: Fortified settlements on hills
This period saw the widespread introduction of fortified settlements on hills, the urbanization of the habitat, the advent of the lathe, the use of metal and the emergence of the alphabet and writing. Commercial exchanges in the Mediterranean triggered economic distinctions between individuals and groups. Society was complex and tribal, with an extremely hierarchical organization, which lived on until the Roman conquest.

In the 7th century BC there is an evidence of workshops that disseminated work techniques, but also typologies.

Typical belt-chain with pigeon pendants and ram from the necropolis of Ebro.

Reinforced bronze torques or necklace with pendants.

Belt buckle with incised decoration.

Bronze fibula, an item that was used to attach or hold garments.

Commercial activities bloomed in the mouth of river Ebro between the indigenous populations and the Phoenicians.

Mediterranean trade is based on exchanging raw materials ―particularly, metal― for manufactured objects.

Major development and dissemination of standardized lathe pottery pieces. The most typical adornments included red paint and plant, anthropomorphic or geometric motifs.

Roman era: The colonization of the countryside
Throughout Antiquity, river Ebro was the backbone of all communications and structured the whole of the territory. It was also the main thoroughfare for trade communications. The valley was populated by a dense network of disperse rural settlements, which was organized from the city of Dertosa. Roman villas had a double function, residence of the owner's family and headquarters of the estate. The villas produced surplus which was subsequently traded and, also, performed supplementary craft activities, such as metal forging or the manufacture of transport amphorae.

Sigilata ceramic dish from the Pisa workshops.

Traditional african pottery pot of imperial age.

"I am from Aper, return to the site" says the inscription at the base.

Lighting element for living and dead.

The amphorae contained oil, wine or garum, basic elements of Mediterranean trade.

Medieval period: The lords of the land
The area of the river Ebro and its tributaries became a border between the Islamic regions and the Christian territories, and was also noted for its intense agricultural activity. The small communities were disseminated over the territory, existing in a clan structure and based mainly on agriculture. They depended on an administrative centre that, in the case of the Ebro lands, was located in the city of Turtūša, and was equipped with several watch points, such as the fortresses in Ulldecona, Miravet and Amposta.

Silver money currency treasury is due to concealment in times of conflict.

Al-Andalus bucket of the eleventh century.

Al-Andalus pitcher. Shape that has survived over time.

Al-Andalus ataifor with inner glaze.

After the Christian conquest
The feudal model was implemented in these lands. The territorial division favoured the survival of the autochthonous population, from then on subjugated by nobility, the Church and the military orders of the Temple and the Hospital. Noble income was based on the surplus of specific crops (cereal, olive and vine) and on the monopoly held over transformation processes (mills, furnaces, oil mills...). The fabric of the settlement, based on a concentrated rural habitat that operated under the authority of the city, fuelled a thriving bourgeoisie which held all municipal power.

Dish in green and mangaqneso produced in the workshops of Barcelona.

Nun's bowl imported from the workshops of Paterna.

Medieval luxury dinnerware piece from the workshops of Paterna.

Museu de les Terres de l'Ebre
Credits: Story

Consorci del Museu de les Terres de l'Ebre
Texts: M.Villalbí
Drawings F. Riart

Museu de les Terres de l'Ebre

Credits: All media
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