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Discovered in La Bastida a fortification of 4,200 years ago, only in continental Europe (27/09/2012)

The Minister of Culture and Tourism has involved finding "a reinforcement for the projection assets of the Region"

Archeological excavations this year at the archaeological site of La Bastida (Totana) have unearthed a massive fortification system unique in its time.

The finding confirms, along with the other discoveries made in recent years, the city was the most developed European settlement in political and military terms during the Bronze Age (4200 years ago, 2200 BC) matched only Minoan civilization Crete.

The finding was presented today by the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Pedro Alberto Cruz, and Professor of Prehistory at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and director of the excavation, Vicente Lull.

He also attended the manager of Research and Head of the University Strategic Projects, Iván Martínez Flores, and the Mayor of Totana, Maria Isabel Sanchez

The Minister stressed the importance of this finding that "is unique in continental Europe, with unprecedented in the Bronze Age."

The fortification, with walls three meters wide and towers reaching seven meters and four meters are preserved, "makes us understand the importance of the find, it would be comparable to the Minoan civilization of Crete, which gives the dimension "said Cruz.

He noted that this finding is "a boost for the region's equity projection, a place for culture, study and knowledge."

The fortification consisted of a wall of 2-3 feet thick, built of large stones with mortar locked and reinforced by massive towers distributed truncated pyramidal little apart and about 4 feet square.

The original height of the defense complex would be about 6 or 7 meters.

So far we have discovered six towers along a stretch of 70 meters, although the perimeter of the fort would have reached the 300 meters.

The entrance to the site was via a corridor flanked by thick walls, with gates that would be closed wedged between thick wooden posts.

One of the most important architectural elements that have been discovered is a pointed arch that crowns a postern, or side door, next to the entrance.

The arch has been preserved and is completely unprecedented in European prehistory.

His record is found in the second city of Troy (Turkey) and in the urban world of the Middle East (Palestine, Israel and Jordan), influenced by the civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt.

This would indicate the participation of people from the East in its construction, arrival in La Bastida after the crisis that ravaged their region 4,300 years ago.

It was only between 400 and 800 years for civilizations such as Hittite and Mycenaean or large Mediterranean city-states as Ugarit adopt this innovation in military architecture.

A work designed by and for combat

"Fortification of La Bastida impresses by its size, by the knowledge of architecture and engineering exhibits, for its age and because it helps to know a past so remote in time as recognizable in the present," said the adviser.

It also involves an innovation in the art of attack and defense fortifications, military specifically.

It was a work "designed exclusively by and for combat, by persons in a lides bregadas hitherto unknown in the West," he added.

The towers and wall canvases reveal very advanced knowledge in architecture and engineering, saving rises of up to 40 percent.

Used mortars provided an enormous strength to work, locking hard stones, making waterproof walls and denying any grasp on the assailants.

The postern as hidden and covered require access for engagement in the wall prior planning of the whole defense and engineering knowledge appropriate to do so.

The first city in continental Europe in the Bronze Age

The latest excavations and the result of several carbon-14 datings indicate La Bastida was probably the most powerful city in continental Europe during the Bronze Age and a fortified since its inception, to the 2200 BC, with a defensive system unusual in Europe at the time.

The fortification has not been the only finding.

Between 2008 and 2011, excavations had unearthed large residences of more than 70 square meters that were distributed by the 4 hectares of the city.

These large houses, homes and public buildings alternated with other smaller buildings separated by hits, runners and squares.

A large raft equipped with a dam 20 m in length capable of storing nearly 400,000 liters of water also expresses some complexity and needs of the population at that time unparalleled.

The findings reveal a break La Bastida military, political and social: the establishment of a violent power and class, which lasted for seven centuries and that affected the development of communities in the rest of the peninsula.

Overall, rethinking what is known about the origin of the economic and political inequalities in Europe, the formation of the military and the role of violence in shaping identity traditions.

Towards a unique archaeological park in Spain

Excavations at La Bastida are led by the research team Arqueoecología Group Social and Mediterranean (Hover) the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), formed by teachers Vicente Lull, Rafael Mico, Cristina and Roberto Risch Rihuete.

They are supported and sponsored by the Ministry of Culture of the Region of Murcia, UAB, Totana City Council, the Ministries of Industry, Trade and Tourism and the Economy and Competitiveness have also supported the project.

La Bastida be excavated systematically seeks to offer the public a unique archaeological park in Spain, bringing together a monographic museum, a research and documentation center, and a site suitable for your visit.

Source: CARM

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