They had been buried 2,400 years and have been found a few weeks apart. Since the summer, two teams of archaeologists They have found in La Bastida de Moixent, Valencia, and in Montemayor, Córdoba, deposits located 450 kilometers away, five wheels Iberian and the remains of the cars to which they were connected. The findings are doubly exceptional because there are hardly any similar pieces documented and none is in such good condition. The signs indicate that the vehicles were not used to make war or to transport goods, but were placed next to the tombs of high-ranking characters to travel with them to the afterlife. The Iberians gave the cars that symbolic meaning and, on occasion, represented them pulled by winged horses.
The discoveries have opened investigations that will be devoted years. The working hypotheses are that the wheels and the rest of the elements were buried in tombs or in funerary deposits of Iberian leaders, at the moment it is not clear whether men or women. The wheel of Moixent, of the middle of the V century before Christ, it is made of iron, it measures 90 centimeters in diameter and it has appeared stacked in three identical segments. Next, explains Jaime Vives-Ferrándiz, project director and curator of the Museum of Prehistory of Valencia, have also been found, so far, a horse bite, pottery remains and an extraordinary gold earring.
The four imposing wheels of Montemayor, six-spoke, were also made in iron. The two largest of 120 centimeters, for which one could almost say that time has not passed, were found in what looks like an Iberian cemetery on which the Romans built centuries later a military camp for the siege of Ulia. Classical texts relate that the ancient city was the scene of fierce battles in the civil war that pitted Julius Caesar against Pompey and his sons.
The team of Fernando Quesada, from the Autonomous University of Madrid, under the field management of Javier Moralejo, was following in the footsteps of that war when they came across an Iberian discovery that is unparalleled in the peninsula due to the complexity of the whole and their state of conservation, they say. Everything indicates that the car is from the fourth century, although it must still be confirmed by the carbon 14 test.
The wheels of both reservoirs are very different. The one found in the old oppidum surrounded by vineyards of Valencia, an idyllic hill from which its rulers controlled the ancient road that the Romans later called Via Augusta, which connected the north of the peninsula with the Guadalquivir valley, and also the pass from the plateau to the Mediterranean, has forced to advance a few decades the chronology of the site of La Bastida de les Alcusses, located in the municipality of Moixent.
The discovery has revealed that before the construction of the town, surrounded by high walls, where about 800 people lived, there was a previous construction that does not seem residential. Maybe it was the tomb of a hero or a place of worship. In any case, the place where the wheel was deposited was razed to erect the new city. "The project can contribute to give answers to urbanization processes in this area of the Mediterranean in the first millennium BC," says Vives-Ferrándiz. "An urbanization that responds to political processes, in which we see that people establish cities on top of something they had previously. Sometimes they incorporate the previous to the new place, as ancestors, and other times that memory is destroyed with violence, "he adds.
The Iberian culture faded before the Roman push towards the first century after Christ, as a result of the violence of the invaders and cultural assimilation. The details about the destruction of La Bastida de Moixent, which shone for a century and then fell into oblivion that lasted two millennia, remain an enigma. "What is clear is that it was not the Romans. It was violence between neighbors. If they were closer or further away we do not know, and we may never know, "says the archaeologist.