At the beginning of the first millennium BC, the flotilla Phoenician of large red sails sailed cautiously towards the mouth of the Guadiaro River, in the San Roque (Cádiz)), what was then a leafy green shelter near the Strait of Gibraltar. In this place (today clogged and located several kilometers inland), the Phoenicians came into contact with the native populations, whose main settlement was the current Los CShipyards of Alcorrín (Manilva, Málaga).
There lived a community of late Bronze Age who was willing to enter into relationships with those newcomers who carried a valuable secret: the forge of iron. The ties between both groups -which lasted almost half a century- allowed the creation of the first iron metallurgy of the Iberian Peninsula. Between the objects that elaborated with the new technology were small ceremonial knives, predecessors of what, several centuries later would be the famous falcatas íberas that caused the terror between the Roman troops. The specialists of German Archaeological Institute (IAA) They have now found - in the impressive site of Alcorrin, a fortified city of 11.3 hectares - the dross left by that initial metallurgy.
The Castillejos de Alcorrín was discovered at the end of the eighties of the last century by the archaeologist Fernando Villaseca. In 2004, José Suárez Padilla, professor of Prehistory of the Malaga University, it carried out new excavations that allowed to begin to unravel the past of a population that with the passage of time came to build two defensive walls (an exterior and another interior surrounded by a moat) of up to five meters wide.
Between 2006 and 2019, the IAA, the Center of Phoenician and Punic Studies, the Junta de Andalucía and a team of geophysicists, surveyors, architects, restorers, chemists and draughtsmen made two research projects that allow us to affirm that the settlement stood out for its enormous dimensions compared to the other Phoenician contemporaries of the Mediterranean and the coasts of Morocco and Portugal.
Dirce Marzoli, director of the IAA and coordinator of the excavations, explains that the interventions "attest to the potential of the site to study social, political, economic and technological dynamics of the first Phoenician presence in the south of the peninsula". "The fortification," he says, "is unparalleled in its surroundings," while recalling that the settlement has been studied "by means of a systematic excavation, which does not happen in most of the time." This fact allows to acquire more data, more precise and in less time.
The prehistorian José Suárez Padilla adds, for example, that the two pieces of iron scoria found "evidence" the extraction and reduction of ferrous material torn from nearby mountains and their subsequent forging, which was a real technological revolution for people of late of the Bronze Age. In addition, a tiny two-millimeter blue bill has been discovered that makes clear that commercial connections reached Egypt.
The arrival of the Phoenicians also modified the local urbanism, result of which was the assumption of new architectural traditions following the models brought from the Near East: rectangular houses and paved with shells around them. "They were placed to protect themselves from evil. Its apotropaic value [de defensa del mal] It is very clear in certain buildings of great value found in the high zone or acropolis, "says Suarez.
The IAA is also proud of the "successful cooperation with the Junta de la Andalucía", which has allowed us to "analyze a case of contact between indigenous populations and the first generation of Western Phoenicians in the Strait of Gibraltar". And that only has been excavated 1% of a deposit that merged two towns and allowed the change of Era: from Bronze to Iron. And a dagger.