First-Ever Human Depiction of the Enigmatic Tartessos Civilization Discovered

Kane Khanh | Archeaology
August 8, 2023

The anceint Tartessians have long been shrouded in mystery, with their culture and origins often linked to the legendary lost city of Atlantis. This latest find offers a glimpse into their world, providing valuable insights into their way of life and connection to the wider ancient world.

A groundbreaking discovery of the first-ever Tartessian figured reliefs at the Turunuelo Houses site in Badajoz, Spain, has led to a significant reinterpretation of the ancient civilization of Tartessos.

First-Ever Human Depiction of the Enigmatic Tartessos CivilizationFirst-Ever Tartessian Figured Reliefs Uncovered

The V excavation campaign at the Turunuelo Houses, a Tartessian site in Guareña, Badajoz, has unearthed the first figured reliefs belonging tocivilziation of Tartessos (8th-4th centuries BC). This 5th-century BC find represents a significant shift in understanding Tartessian culture, which was previously thought to be aniconic and depicted divinity through animal or plant motifs or sacred stones called betilos.

Tartessos Civilization: Institute of Archaeology Team Reveals Findings

Esther Rodríguez González and Sebastián Celestino Pérez, archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology – a joint venture between the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and the Junta de Extremadura – announced at a press conference on Tuesday that two of the recovered reliefs are nearly complete. These reliefs depict female figures wearing prominent earrings, representing a characteristic of goldsmithing during the time of the Tartessos civilization.

Gold Pieces Connect to Other Tartessian Treasures

Until this discovery, such gold pieces were only known through finds at sites like Cancho Roano or the Aliseda treasure, a Tartessian funerary collection discovered in Cáceres. The exceptional craftsmanship and artistic detail suggest these may represent two female divinities of the Tartessian pantheon. However, researchers have not ruled out the possibility that they are prominent Tartessian society figures.

Additional Figured Reliefs Found at Site

Alongside the two female figures, archaeologists have recovered fragments from at least three other individuals, including a warrior identifiable by a partial helmet. This discovery further underscores the significance of the Turunuelo Houses site and the importance of Tartessian culture in the Guadiana valley during its final stages.