Iron Age Cultures Route


ITINERARY: Tejada la Vieja - Riotinto - Pozuelo - Trigueros - Huelva - Saltés.

Towards 800 BC a remarkable culture existed in western Andalusia. Connected by trade with the Phoenicians, Tartessus developed; the mythical king Argantonio - king of silver - reigned over the kingdom.

Many communities were devoted to the iron industry, trade and farming. However, the province of Huelva is rich in ore and silver and copper mining has left a deep mark of social, economic and lanscape transformation, right from the Bronze Age in Tartessus, under the Romans, during the Msolem domination, up to the presence of English mining companies in the 19th century.

The village of Tejada (Escacena del Campo) is the only place that can give us a complete idea thanks to the town walls and layout existing from the 7th to the 4th century BC. Riotinto is at the centre of these mining activities throughout.

Victorian architecture and gigantic open air mines exist side by side with ancient Tartessian and Roman pits and slag heeps. The Mining Museum depicts this part of the area's evolution. Further on, after Zalamea la Real, the dolmens at El Pozuelo are part of a series of group burials of the first metal cultures from the Bronze Age (4th and 3rd centuries BC); the Soto dolmen at Trigueros is outstanding.

The museum at Huelva has splendid items that once belonged to the Tartessian chieftains, bronzes of oriental inspiration and Phoenician and Greek ornaments, in sharp contrast wwith the mineral loading wharf built by the English in the port. A Moslem mining town from the 11th and 12th centuries is being excavated on Saltés island. Tartessian objects - pottery, stelae, the fabolous golden treasures found at El Carambolo, E bora and Mairena, and a small statuette of the Phoenician goddess Astarté.

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