Portugal Prehistory

Portugal Prehistory and Archaeology

In recent years, palethnologists and archaeologists have made numerous discoveries and systematic studies of various post-Pliocene formations of marine and continental facies, so that today we have a sure knowledge of Paleolithic industries (for previous knowledge see Lusitani, xxI, p. 677). For Breuil, industries sometimes represent a facies its own somewhat crude “Lusitana”. It is still premature to draw conclusions regarding the distribution of Mousterian deposits and the hypothesis that they are due to a penetration along the Tagus starting from the interior of the peninsula, because they appear not only along the banks of the Tagus, but also in the north of Portugal. The existence of the Upper Paleolithic is now fully confirmed with the appearance of the typical Aurignacian, Solutrean and Magdalenian industries in the Serra de Monsanto and around Lisbon.

There are also Mesolithic industries with instruments of very pure Capsian tradition, with trapezoidal microliths and abundant human bones belonging to various types, including a peculiar dolichocephalic, of short stature, of medium prognathism with negroid characters that Mendes Corrêa calls homo afer taganus, and which recalls characters of human types of the upper Paleolithic, perhaps as neandertaloid survivors.

The problem of the Asturian coastal culture requires comparisons and a detailed study of the formation of maritime beaches; in many places this industry coexists with others of paleolithic morphology, being able to admit a greater antiquity in relation to the post-Brazilian Cantabrian peaks. This industry would have come from Africa or there would have been a Southern pre-Asturian type of paleolithic character.

Knowledge of the Neo-Eneolithic period has also expanded thanks to the works around Palmela, the necropolis of Alapraia and Castro de S. Pedro, and it can be said that in the Portuguese Eneolithic, excluding the culture of Alcalar, two cultures are manifested with distinct characters: in the former, trapezoidal and sometimes semicircular microliths predominate, most with a convex base, some triangular and others with a terminal peduncle; few copper objects, flat axes in general. spears or arrows: in the second culture a few microliths, generally with a concave base, others with curved sides in the shape of a miter; notable varieties of copper and possibly bronze objects; abundance of terracotta plaques. The first culture includes: Palmela, Alapraia, cascais, Carenque, etc., in the second: Vila Nova de S. Pedro, Pragança, Rutura, Chibanes, etc.

The Castro of Vila Nova de S. Pedro, in N. del Tago, near Santarem, in a region rich in Bronze Age finds, has quadrangular dwellings and circular hut bottoms, clearly of Mediterranean derivation, and the inhabited area seems to have persisted for a long time with successive populations, from the full Eneolithic to the advanced period of the Bronze Age. These populations were mainly agricultural and devoted to hunting; their culture shows oriental and African influences, in the points, in the scythes, in the bones, in the zoomorphism of the figures and in the statuettes. For Jalhay, relations exist between the peninsula and Africa starting from the Aurignacian; in the objects he notes similarity between the subtriangular arrowheads, with wings, with a concave base of Vila Nova de S. Pedro and those of Abydos of Egypt; elements of the copper sickles and daggers would resemble some Egyptians. Torre and the inhabited area of ​​Casal do Zambujal belong to this culture with polished axes, copper spears, flint awls and a lot of decorated pottery. For Portugal history, please check areacodesexplorer.com.

Paço, Vantier and Zbyszewski excavated at Lapa di Bugalheira, Torres Novas, collecting among other objects two engraved and painted phalanxes of bovidae, together with numerous large flint knives, trapezoidal microliths, abundant pottery, schist plates with drawings ; a link can therefore be established between the civilization of Almizaraque and those of central Portugal. In the North, along with the schematic paintings of Rapa, Tua, Russell collected bell-shaped pottery and a bone idol, showing relations between this area and the region of Almeria.

Some treasures with bronze objects belong to the end of the Bronze Age and to the beginning of the Celtic migrations; of these the most important are that of Porto do Concelho, excavated from the Jalhay, with 39 objects; that of Moreira, excavated by Russell, with eighteen axes, a posthallstatt fibula, etc. Near Monchique, A. Viana discovered remains of fabric adhering to a flat bronze ax inside an early Bronze Age mound. The golden jewels, such as an Arouca bracelet, the necklaces of S. Pedro do Sul, the treasure of Penha, and Atouguia of Baleia demonstrate the great wealth of this area.

Excavations at Sanfins (Jalhay), Bagunte, Mosinho, Esturãos, Poiares (Russell) bring new documents for civilization from post-Hallstatt times to the late empire. This peculiar culture of the NW corner. of Hispania has its origin in Neo-Eneolithic times and shows a strong Celto-Ligurian influence, with a stratification of bio-cultural elements due to immigrant populations in different eras, and with a general strictly conservative character which is also manifested in the use of motifs traditional decorations of the most remote antiquity. For the study of the last period of this culture, the most important monument is the highly developed village of Bagunte, datable to the 4th century AD. C. We note an affirmation of the concept of family ownership, the layout of the houses becomes more complex with the grouping of various rooms intended for kitchens, courtyards for livestock, warehouses for agricultural products. The number of paved streets or covered with a kind of opus caementicium is accentuated. In the construction, stone was used as well as clay; Russell has brought to light three houses with clay walls, confirming the information that could be deduced from the classical authors. The ceramic material is abundant, albeit of a degenerate technique and in the last period little decorated. There are numerous elements that show a developed metallurgy of iron and bronze. Generally it can be said that the residents were forced by the Romans to abandon the fortified hills and settle in the plains. Often, however, the conquerors left the subjugated populations in their ancient settlements, while demanding the means of transport, public funds, supplies and weapons. Regarding the problems of historical geography, Leite da Vasconcellos and Jalhay have located the civitas di Amaya and Russel placed Talabriga in the buttresses of the Serra de Arga in Labruga, on the edge of the Lima, also highlighting a Roman camp nearby. Excavations, conducted by Russell in the Duero region near Regua, revealed an important rustic villa from the 4th century AD. C., later fortified, decorated with mosaics with fish.

Portugal Prehistory