The Madrid regional Archaeological and Paleontological Museum in Alcalá de Henares has opened a major exhibition on the lost Iberian civilisation of Tartessus.
The exhibition comes a week after joint team from the Institute of Archaeology and the Junta de Extremadura, announced the unearthing of a major find at the Tartessian site of Casas del Turuñuelo in Guareña, Badajoz, including two complete female figures adorned with outstanding earrings that represent typical pieces of the Tartessian goldsmithing dating to between the fifth and fourth centuries BC.
Casas del Turuñuelo discovery has aroused much interest in what must have been a vibrant culture.
The Tartessus peoples are believed to have been a mix of Phoenicians and Iberians whose civilisation flourished in southern Spain some 3,000 years ago but then vanished from history.
It was the first western civilization mentioned in written sources and some believe linked to the myth of Atlantis and the labours of Hercules.
The Greek historian Herodotus (5th century BC) describes the cordial trading relations between the Greek city states and Tartessus and in particular to the generosity of their king, Arganthonius who, apparently, lived for 120 years (and ruled for 80)!
It´s epicentre, is believed to be around the marshlands of the Doñana national park which was then underwater as part of the Bay of Tartesus and it is feasible there were trading ports there.
Madrid´s Minister of Culture, Marta Rivera de la Cruz, said at the inauguration of the exhibition that the “museum continues to demonstrate that it is a national reference in scientific terms and for the dissemination of our past”.
Sebastián Celestino Pérez and Esther Rodríguez González, curator and scientific coordinator of the exhibition are also the Casas del Turuñuelo site said the exhibition brings together 230 pieces from nine Archaeological Museums across Spain and Portugal and for the first time gives visitors “a comprehensive look at Tartesus.
Visitors will also be able to enter the 1:1 scale reconstruction of the courtyard of the Casas del Turuñuelo site and depictions of the human reliefs which were found in an ancient adobe temple, filled with the bones of animals that were killed, eaten, and deposited in a pit during a mass sacrifice.
The exhibition is free of charge and runs until September 24.
The exhibition can be visited during regular Museum hours and with guided tours on weekends and holidays at various times (Saturdays at 12:00, 13:00, 16:00 and 17:00 p.m.; Sundays and holidays at 12:00 p.m)