From Prehistoric Times to the Romans
Humans settled, first temporarily and then permanently, in places that had the resources necessary to ensure their survival. It is for this reason that they chose to settle in places that were rich in vegetation and game. The Guadalquivir River and its tributaries provided these conditions, and became the earliest channels of communication linking the different parts of the surrounding territories. Objects such as this scraper from the Middle Paleolithic Age have been found in the areas around these rivers.
Mousterian tip carved using the Lellavois technique. Flakes were chipped from a core and would then be worked until they were shaped into the desired tool.
The Neolithic Age saw some decisive changes to the economic base of society, marked by the settlement of small groups of people. Stone Age tools are remarkable for the polishing technique used to make them, which was an improvement on the methods of earlier eras.
Marble bracelet that was among the funerary objects found in a burial ground, discovered at the Neolithic site of the Cueva de los Murciélagos (Bats Cave) in Zuheros.
Bell-beaker ceramics, so-called because of their inverted bell shape, appeared during the later stages of the Chalcolithic period (3rd millennium BCE) and continued to be made during the Bronze Age (2nd millennium BCE). They are high-quality ceramics that were widely used across a large geographical area, showing the importance of cross-cultural commercial contact during this part of the prehistoric era.
Richly decorated with incised geometric bands, the origins of bell-beaker ceramics are unknown. However, their use was widespread across Great Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Central Europe, the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and North Africa. They were used in funerary as well as domestic contexts.
Items made from bronze have been found throughout the area of Alto Guadalquivir, generally in the graves of distinguished individuals. Weapons, such as this bronze ax, were made using univalve molds into which molten metal was poured.
The purpose of this beaker is clear: it was used for melting metal. Many utensils associated with metallurgy and metal mining are from the north of the province, where the mines were located.
Bronze sword from Palma del Río. This type of sword is typical of the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula during the third phase of the Atlantic Late Bronze Age, in around 750 BCE.
Mining hammer from Cerro Muriano in the Cordoban mountains. Copper ore mining in the Sierra Morena dates back to the Chalcolithic Age. Its transportation towards the Mediterranean trade routes was controlled from the settlement of Colina de los Quemados, which was strategically located between the mountains and the Guadalquivir River.
Engraved alabaster beaker of Phoenician origin, whose design was clearly influenced by the "Orientalizing" style.
Fragment of an ivory comb decorated with an incised image of a horse, with a lotus flower at its feet. Clearly influenced by the "Orientalizing" style, this object comes from the Llanete de los Moros archaeological site in Montoro (Córdoba), and dates from around the 7th to the 6th century BCE.
Unguentarium made from multicolored "pasta vitrea" (glass paste), which was part of a set of funerary objects found in a grave in the Iberian cemetery of Los Torviscales, in Fuente Tójar (Córdoba). The piece is a result of the commercial relationships established between settlers from the eastern Mediterranean and native Iberians.
Ceramic bowl of Attic influence, indicative of commercial relationships with people from the eastern Mediterranean.
Fibula brooch that is part of the Treasure of Los Almadenes (in Alcaracejos, Córdoba). It reveals the importance of goldsmithery in the Iberian Peninsula during the Celtiberian period, between 350 and 300 BCE. The economy at that time allowed for the existence of an aristocratic social class, which demonstrated its social status through jewelry.
Iberian cinerary urn with a decorative pattern of stripes and geometric motifs in reddish tones. This type of ceramic decoration is typical of the Iberian era.
Another technical innovation introduced by settlers was ironwork, which would replace the use of bronze. This falcata sword was one of the weapons in the Hispanic panoply. They were not just instruments of war, but also had a strong symbolic significance and were often found among funerary objects. This one is from the Iberian archaeological site of El Cerro de la Cruz (in Almedilla, Córdoba), and dates from around 300 BCE.
Iberian iron ferrule to be placed on the handle of a spear.
Ibero-Roman sling bullet used for hunting small animals and as a weapon of war. The presence of large quantities of weaponry suggests that there was ongoing military conflict during this period.
Classical texts and archaeological finds show that Iberian society had a hierarchical structure. At the top were the
ruler and the elite aristocracy of warriors and priests. Then came the middle classes of merchants and craftsmen,
followed by the largest group—farmers—and then the slaves.
This bust reveals the important purpose and function of public representation. It may be a portrait of someone from Hispania Baetica's upper middle class who had
adopted the fashion and style of the Roman court, which was the prevailing custom of the time. Stylistically, it is still
in keeping with the conventions of Iberian statues (frontality and hieratism), while also presenting features which are the result of a fusion of cultures at the beginning of the new era.
Museo Arqueológico de Córdoba
Consejería de Cultura de la Junta de Andalucía
Curated by Francisca López Garrido
Texts: Francisco J. Morales Salcedo y Francisca López Garrido
Photos: Darío Muñoz Leva
Digital composition: Francisca López Garrido