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Vanished Civilisation

25 August 2022

Gary sent in the link to https://www.bbc.co.uk/travel/article/20220727-the-iberian-civilisation-that-vanished … which concerns Tartessos in SW Spain. The port of Tartessos has long been known and has been linked to Biblical Tarshish – although other places may also qualify. Tarshish was associated in the Bible with the Phoenicians and so was Tartessos. However, this narrow field of research has since been expanded after finds inland of the port city. The civilisation associated with it existed between the 9th and 5th centuries BC, when Phoenician traders were at their height, with the Greeks close on their heels. The region, or backwaters, possessed rich resources of metals and a vibrant trade based economy. It is best known along the Guadalquivir valley but recently, this has been expanded to include the Guadiana valley, further west and close to the modern day Spanish/Portuguese border. Temples have been unearthed, some of them on top of each other and suggesting rebuilds. Some of them were ritually destroyed by burning, together with sacrifices. Another indication fire was an important part of ancient ritual and religion, or attempts to placate a fiery and angry god. The excavators suggest an earthquake may have prompted the ritual closure but of course, this is open to conjecture.

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