The Empire of Tartessos (16a)
For further information look at "The Excavation of Tartessos"
by Karl Juergen Hepke
The knowledge of the empire of Tartessos comes from Greek sources. So contains the "Geographica" of Strabo important passages from the Greek poet Stesichoros of Himera. Also fragments from Anakreon and Hekataios and some passages from Herodot mention the south of the iberian peninsula.
Over that has the Roman poet Rufus Festus Avienus (4th century B.C.) in his fragmentary preserved
poem "Ora maritima"
took down again a Greek text from the 6th. century
B.C. about a coast description from Massalia
(Marseille). This description is one of the most important sources for the
knowledge of the South Iberian coast at which was founded the branch Mainake (today Torre del Mar near
The dates from the 6th. century B.C. , taken from the poem, are as follows:
"Tartessos is situated
on an island in a gulf of same name into which flows the river Tartessos, which flows round its walls after having passed
the "Laguna Ligustino".
The river forms in its mouth area several arms, of which three flow to the East and four to the South. The latter are flowing round the town. They are carrying in their water pieces of heavy tin and bring rich metal to the town of
In proximity is situated the mountain of the Tartessians, full of woods, and the "Silvermountain" which lies above the "Laguna Ligustino",at the shore of which is sparkling the tin.
The town of
The east border of the reign of the Tartessians was at times the region of
The name "Tartessos"
was with that valid for a town, an empire and a river. Tartessos
was in all sources an important business center, rich
of ore in the south of the
Joined with the search after the town is especially the name of the German historian Adolf Schulten (1870-1960), who invested his life work and property into the search for the town and rested at last without success. Numerous archaeological finds have nevertheless proved that the remarks of the named authors must mean this area.
The more southern situated river Guadalete, which is much more convenient situated to the street of
A capital of an empire which was situated behind another good known town had probably no sense for a historian fixed at the time 700 B.C. until 400 B.C. and so nobody searched here. Although river, terrain and hill must have had a good impression for an archaeological trained eye, which knew the places of other towns of the Bronze Age like Mykene and Tyrins. Over that some cuts of the spade into the Tell de la Dona Blanca behind
But back to the literatur about Tartessos and its ancestor Tharsis. The Greek legend of Herkules tells, that the giant with three bodies Geryoneus ruled the island Erytheia (island of the sunset), that was situated far in the west near to the Hesperids. He was killed by Herkules and robbed of his cows. His ankle Norax went to
Justinus tells in his
excerpt of the historical works of Pompejus Trogus, written in the 3th. century about two legendary kings of Tartessos.
Gorgoris taught the apiculture to the people, While Habis taught farming and cattle breeding. Habis was abandoned as new-born and was brought up by a
hind. A story typical for the states of the beginning.
Habis issued laws, forbid any work to the nobility and shared people into seven classes. That remembers the stories of culture bringing persons in other states of origin.
Historians suppose by this legend, that Tartessos was at the beginning a theocratic monarchy as other states of the beginning. Probably they were not wrong in that, if you take the story of Atlantis as valid for Tartessos as for Tharsis. Because the lack of proof for this thesis they agreed to the assumption of a divine admired king (similar to the Pharao of Egypt) as you find it in many nations of the Bronze Age.
As most famous ruler of Tartessos is regarded the nearly historical vouched Arganthonios to whom Herodot awards a long life of 120 years and a period of rule of 80 years. As ruler over a rich and peaceful country with a gigantic wealth of metals he represented for the Greek a kind of Kroesus of the West.
The citizen of Samos Kolaios came to him in the 7th. century
B.C. cause of a terrible thunderstorm and was received benevolent as a Greek.
The king donated the means for the construction of the town wall of Phokaia in form of an immense amount of silver. Phokaia was founding town of Massalia
and Mainake and with that representative of the Greek
extension to the western
But the good relations to the Greek were soon
interrupted. In the sea-battle of Alalia at
By the meanwhile advanced digging up at the Tell de la Dona Blanca, the results of which will be reported at the bottom, is proved that the Romans conquered in course of the second Punic war the town and destroyed it partly. Probably they demanded the complete destruction and flattening of the town by the population to make impossible a repeat of settlement. This was an usual proceeding of the Romans to act with defeated towns. It prevented a regaining of forces of defence of the beaten country.
Because the Romans were not able to control the destruction for they had further jobs, the driven out inhabitants filled only the area of the town inside the town wall with earth and hid also the wall with an earth bank. With that the demand of the Romans was fulfilled and the town could be dug up again when the intruders had returned to their country. But the Romans were contrary to this expectations for 400 years ruler of the country.
A not to high to judge present to modern archaeology. Probably it appreciates this gift in the right way, as you can see from the following leaflet of Puerto.
Leaflet to the archaeological place of finds, "Castillo de Dona Blanca" in the area of
Yacimiento Arqueológico Castillo de Dona Blanca
Situation geografica y relieve
El Castillo de Dona Blanca está
situado a los pies de la pequena Sierra de
El punto elegido
para crear la ciudad era muy favorable: Esta abierto al mar y muy cerca de los
estuarios de los rios Guadalete
El aspecto que presenta actualmente
el yacimiento es de colina amesetada de forma casi rectangular y de unas 6,5 hectáreas de extensión y elevándose 31 metros sobre el nivel
La secuencia cronologica
Los primeros asentamientos humanos conocidos en el yacimiento son de
una fase tardia de Edad de Cobre, al final del III milenio a.C. Este
periodo está documentado con fondos o huellas de cabanas dispersas y adaptadas a la topografia
El yacimiento es habitado de forma ininterumpida hasta la llegada de los romanos en el transcurso
de la segunda guerra punica (206 a.C.). Durante estos seiscientos anos de poblamiento fenicio se edificaron otros dos recintos fortificados (en los siglos VI y III a.C.) y se realizaron varias remodelaciones urbanisticas.
Desde la conquista romana, Dona Blanca queda abandonada hasta la Edad Media: Hay restos de poblacion islámica entre los siglos
IX y XII
Finalmente, en el siglo XV se costruye la torre o ermita de planta de cruz griega, donde la leyenda sitúa la prisión hasta su asesinato en 1361 de Dona Blanca de Borbón, esposa de Don Pedro el Cruel.
de Dona Blanca radica en varios
En primer lugar su antigüedad: La Bahia de Cadiz es escenario
Los restos de viviendas
Se conoce tambien, aunque parcialmente, aspectos
La necropolis de
la Sierra de
En la falda de la Sierra de San Cristobal se extiende la necropolis con casi cien hectareas de extension y con una distribución en núcleos o cementerios de distintas epocas que van desde el Bronce medio hast epoca turdetana. Lo tipos de tumbas y los ritos de enterramientos que nos encontramos son variados, desde las tumbas excavadas en la roca o hipogeos de inhumación hasta los de estructura en cerros artificiales o túmulos que cubren tumbas de incineración.
Place of Castillo de Dona Blanca
The Geographical Situation and the Nature of Terrain
The fortified place of Dona Blanca is situated at the foot of the little Sierra de
The place that was chosen for the foundation of the town was situated very convenient. It was open to the sea and lied very near to the courses of the rivers Guadalete and
The sight which gives currently the settlement is that of a table formed hill of nearly rectangular form and 6,5 ha size, that raises 31 m over the sea level. This appearance is the result of its history. It is an artificial created relief which came into being in the course of time by different layers of settlement, one over the other, and reaches at some places a thickness of nine meters over the initial ground.
The Chronological Development
The first human settlements at this place are coming from the late phase of the Copper Age at the end of the third millenium. This time is documented by foundations and prints of huts which lied isolated and adapted to the natural form of terrain.
In the following time there is a period of non-settlement of the place, which lasted until the first half of the 8th century B.C., the time in which was formed the first Phoenician setting up. A little bit later was built the first town wall. This settlement was inhabited in incessant following until the arrival of the Romans in the course of the second Punic war (206 B.C.). During these 600 years of Phoenician settlement were created two new fortifications ( in the 6th. and 3rd century) and carried out several structural alterations in the town area.
After the conquest by the Romans the area of Dona Blanca staid unsettled until the Middle Ages. Than it gives rests of islamic settlement between the 9th and 12th century A.C. Finally was constructed in the 15th century the tower or eremitage in form of a Greek cross in which settles the legend the captivity of Dona Blanca of Bourbon, wife of Peter the Cruel of Sevilla, until her murder.
The Town Area
The archaeological importance of the town has several aspects. In first sight it is its age. The
In second sight we have here a town which was settled in constant succession for 600 years. Therefore it is an intact town in archaeological sight.
Finally you find here the rests of a Phoenician settlement of biggest extension and best conservation in the old Phoenician style of urbanisation in the whole area of the central and western
The rests of the buildings of living of the 8th century B.C. are situated outside of the first town wall, near to the harbour of commerce of the town. The houses are following each other side by side forming an artificial system of terraces. The houses have 3 or 4 rooms with pedestal of strong walls and superstructure of air dried bricks from clay, which were whitewashed. The soil is made from red stamped clay, which covers also the roof from vegetarian material. Most of them have their own oven for bread. You find fire places, benches at the walls and other elements of living. In principle this kind of furnishing is found in the rests of livings of the late epoch (3rd and 4th century B.C.) From this time were found also interesting details like a winepress, pillars and a perfectly marked street.
Principles of the construction of fortifications are also known. Already since the beginning this Phoenician town is fortified with a strong town wall with bastions. Over a platform of clay is a pedestal of strong stonework over that builds up the wall, formed by irregular stones of rock joined by clay. There are conserved rests till 4,8 m of height. Over this wall is constructed another more modern, but both are not everywhere corresponding in their location. In front of the wall is a V-formed archaic ditch, which is with a width of 8,5 m at its upper side worked out into the rock.
The Necropolis of
At the mountain slope of the Sierra de
Read to this, (for the moment only available in German language) :
GESCHICHTE VON ATLANTIS, der vergessene Ursprung unserer Kultur
by Karl Juergen Hepke
TRIGA - DER VERLAG, D 63584 Gruendau-Rothenbergen, Germany, 2nd Edition, Hardcover, 268 Pages, EUR 22,00, ISBN 978-3-89774-539-1 ,