La Bastida is an archaeological site from the Bronze Age located in the south east of Spain. Its existence spanned from 2.200 to 1.550 before Christ, and it belonged to the Argaric culture. It was located on a hill, at six kilometres away from Totana, thus taking advantage of its geological situation as defense.
Because of the large number of houses, it is believed that there lived around 1000 people divided into two social classes, and it was the most inhabited settlement* in Europe for about 600 years. Thanks to recent findings, now we know how they lived, its social structure, their customs, how they were buried, etc.
In what concerns to population, these people were not tall, but they were strong and they liked hunting. Their average lives ranged from 40 to 50 years. The society was mainly divided into two classes: the rich and the humble.
The richest citizens, who were located in the upper part of the city, had the best jobs. Humble families tended to live in the lower parts of it. When they died, the rich were buried with gold and silver jewellery or headbands on their forefronts. The humble ones were buried with bronze bracelets or objects of their everyday lives, which were related to crafts and agriculture.
The strong wall around the city and the large towers built in strategic places make us think that it was a fully organized civilization, as well as one of the most important cities in Europe at that time. It was three meters wide and six meters high. There was a second wall and four towers, too. This construction was good for its security, and it was narrow because in case of feeling threatened, they had time to defend themselves and avoid the entrance of enemies.
Food in la Bastida was based on the production of cereals. They did not have machines, but they ground them with stones. They were grown outside the city, since it was dry land, and then they brought them in horse carriages once they were collected. They also ate pulses and products obtained from the cattle too, and sometimes they also hunted to eat. Vegetables were grown in the vicinity of Rambla de Lebor, since they needed farmer attention.
Argaric ceramics usually appear without smooth burnished* or spatulate*. During the culture of Argar new forms and styles appeared, which give these ceramics and their manufactures a personality of their own. One of its characteristics is the burnishing with spatulas of wood and bone.
These techniques, which were carried out in the finish protruding* elements, were both for domestic use and as part of grave goods, sometimes to contain food or perhaps liquid.
The technical uniformity and the quality of the finish of the ceramic forms in the Totanero settlements allow us to speak of specialized potters.
Regarding domestic life, the main concern in their daily routines was working at home, which was also a place for rest. The main work consisted of the elaboration of clothing, the creation of bone tools or polished stone.
Their houses were also endowed with utensils for the preparation of food, and their domestic chores included the burial of the deceased, which was a sign of respect to their ancestors.
Burials could be found in two different forms: the first of them was in urns, and the other in graves in case they were adults or marriages. Dead bodies were introduced in fetal position, with personal ítems and some utensils they used. Different features could be appreciated depending on gender and age.
- Men: they were buried with their belongings, such as daggers, swords and ceramics.
- Women: they were buried with knives, bowls and pots.
- Children: they were buried in urns. The utensils they had were inherited from their parents, such as bracelets and copper earrings.
Undoubtedly, la Bastida is one of the most important archeological sites in Europe. Its study can provide an accurate picture of life in the past.
Besides, it is part and parcel of the cultural heritage of our region. We must contribute to its preservation and promotion so as not to lose it.
In the present report we have attempted, if briefly, to cover aspects of relevance around la Bastida settlement, like population, the defense of the city, food, domestic life or burials.
Do you like history? Do you want to experience a visit to the past?
Come to visit la Bastida!
*Settlement: asientamiento. *Burnished: pulido, bruñido. *Spatulate: espatulado, de acabado amplio y redondeado. *Protruding: saliente.
ELABORATED BY THE STUDENTS OF BAJO GUADALENTIN.