Today I am going to talk about a local historical culture called the Argaric Culture. It is so named due to the excavation site near El Argar, which is close to the town of Antas.
The Argaric Culture was active between about 2000 – 1500 B.C. and was the most important settlement of the early Bronze Age in the southeast of the peninsula. However, there have been finds all along the south of Spain, even reaching as far as the Algarve in Portugal. They had a sophisticated lifestyle, in comparison to earlier communities, including knowledge of ceramic and pottery, and they traded with other Mediterranean tribes.
In 1877 the Belgian brothers Luis and Enrique Siret arrived in the southeast of Spain searching for mining opportunities . Starting in Murcia they began to find artefacts that lead to their systematic methodical excavation of ten Argaric sites. However, it was when they reached El Argar they found the greatest number of agricultural tools, precious metals and an abundance of tombs, showing how the people had made many technological, economic and social developments.
So it was, on a beautiful summer’s evening on 5th August we drove into Antas town, parked our car and joined the group of people waiting for the next historical recreation of the Argaric people and how they lived.
Boarding the tourist train, that my husband John insists on calling a “Wally Trolley”, we proceeded through the town and up towards El Argar, the hills that face the east of the town. Passing between the football ground and the remote controlled car site, we were amazed to see the latter absolutely packed with people. Apparently, it was the Almería and Murcia open championship. The 5th of August was a very important date for Antas!
Arriving at where the reconstruction started, we left the tourist train and proceeded to the first enactment. There were people dressed in costume “making” shoes and baskets from esparto grass. However, to our right was an person digging in the earth who suddenly shouted and drew our attention. It was an archaeologist making a discovery in El Argar.
We carried on viewing reconstructions of pottery and ceramic making, the houses they lived in, their trading, resolving conflicts and how they buried their dead. Everything was so very well done, and although all in Spanish we easily understood what was happening, due to the enactment by those taking part.
Returning to the train, we found this was not the end and we travelled back into the centre of the town where we were treated to a talk by “ Luis Siret “ outside the new Antas museum. The museum is not open yet but, I am looking forward to seeing it as apparently, there are three floors. The ground floor being a video information area, the middle floor an exhibition space and the top floor is a viewing area to El Argar.
The final part of the enactment was “a funeral banquet “, in reality there was a bar with tapas available! The whole evening was thoroughly enjoyable and I was able to further understand the significance of El Argar, another aspect of my lovely town I am proud of.