The Cultural Context

Our project focused on the Copper through Early Bronze Age of the Iberian Peninsula (3500-1500 BCE). What is interesting about this time span is that people and their communities underwent big changes in the ways they organized themselves, interacted, and buried their dead. For example, during the Copper Age (3500-2200 BCE), people began to live in large communities that were involved in important long-distance trade, including with peoples in North Africa, and in the manufacture of highly crafted pottery, metal objects, and stone tools. They buried their dead in collective graves housed in large stone monuments (megaliths) as well as in caves and rockshelters. During the Early Bronze Age (2200-1500 BCE), many of these communities were abandoned, and new ones emerged as important centers. While some earlier tombs of the Copper Age were used, people during the Early Bronze Age generally turned to burying their dead in individual graves, sometimes underneath their homes. Many archaeologists have dedicated their lives to understanding this period of history.