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Iberian settlements

Urbanism, villages and construction systems of Iberian culture

At the Iron Age in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula there was a solid structure of settlements of several dimensions scattered throughout the territory. First order nuclei were monumental fortified villages, covering an area of 8 to 15 ha. From these main nuclei, and interconnected through trade routes, there were settlements of second order, smaller villages of around 2 to 4 ha. Finally, the third order ones constituted smaller structures, with an area of 0.5 to 1 ha which would be citadels, farms or small rural villages and forts to control the territory, ie, specialized centers.


The structure of the villages was adapted to the area characteristics and influenced the layout of streets. Typology varied according to the villages placed on top of the hills, on the slopes or on the plain. The common plain was a perimeter wall with houses adjoining the wall and separated by party walls, grouped in blocks divided by streets. From the 6th century BC we can find more complex orthogonal drawns.

The houses were built directly on the rock, and their foundations and base of walls were made of stone. The top part of the thicker walls, and all general walls were made of adobe (a mixture of clay, sand, water and straw). Rammed earth was also used (mixture of clay, sand and stones) whiten with lime to waterproof them. Sometimes the walls were decorated. The houses could be one floor or two floors tall. The roofs were made of wooden beams, branches and reeds covered with clay, although mortar was also used to waterproof roofs, which could be flat or inclined with one or two slopes to facilitate the evacuation of rain. The Iberians had sophisticated systems to collect groundwater and surface water, a good example can be seen in the village of Molí de l'Espígol (Urgell). In the oldest villages, 7th century BC, the houses had one only room where all functions were developed. Later on we find houses with several rooms with different functions: kitchen, lounge area, storage area, work areas.


Tribes and main archeological sites

Greek and Latin sources speak of an Iberian ethnic composed of different tribal structures. On the southeast and east of the peninsula they describe power elite that controlled the production and trade of various fortified villages. On the other hand, on the northeast, villages were governed by the Senate, by councils of elders or by leading members of groups of the village.



List of Iberian populations of Catalonia

The main coastal Iberian tribes from north to south, were:

The main Iberian tribes of the interior were:

Sedetaniis another mentioned tribe in various sources, located at the middle of the Ebre basin, from the mouth of the river Jalón until the river of Aguas Vivas, their main archeological site is the fortified village of Cabezo de Alcalá, Azaila, Teruel (4th-1st centuries BC);Suesetani, located between Sedetani and Ilergetes, were found until the Pyrenean region where Airenosi, Andosini and Cerretani were found, in the current valleys of Vall d'Aran, Andorra and Cerdanya, respectively. There is also a tribe called Castellani situated in the area of La Garrotxa.

As for the southern Iberians, we know the Bastetani, Oretani, Turduli and Turdetani.

The Iberian route has been coordinated by the Archaeological Museum of Catalonia (MAC, as per the acronym in Catalan). It includes 17 archaeological sites structured in 7 itineraries. Information can be found in:

Ruta dels Ibers


Click on the images of the maps to open or save them. If you do not have Google Earth, click to download it for free. If you don't want to install the software, you can see a simplified version of the maps here.

Map Iberian Archeological Sites

Map According to the Classics

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Latest version: November 2014


Map Archeological Sites Legend

  1. In red: visible archeological sites (for Google Earth resolution).
  2. In white: non visible archeological sites, but perhaps visible at ground level.
  3. In yellow: other type of archeological sites.

More info + info about maps.


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