NEOLITHIC
 
Neolithic, (4.000-1.000 b.C.), is the age of agriculture and livestock, basic activities for evolution. We can date the beginning of Age of Bronze -so called because of use and knowledge of metals- at the end of this time: between years 2000 to 800 b.C. This name -Age of Bronze- could seem inadequate for Iberian Peninsula, since deposits did offer archaeological remains with copper, tin or silver rather than bronze.
 
So, life became sedentary. People lived in communities, sharing all kind of human experiences. They lived in stone, wooden and straw huts even in palafitos on lakes. Now they left life in caves and enjoyed life in the open air. It is the beginning of true architecture.
 
Almost none of these houses has endured until today in acceptable conditions but we do preseve funeral buildings called megalithic constructions (mega, 'big' lithos, 'stone'). They took these forms in Spain:
    Dolmen
  • Dolmen. These are the most simple structures, based on setting big stones on lateral ones as if these were pillars. Sometimes these burial constructions were covered with earth as a tumulus. These are the typical constructions of Peninsular northern land, from Cantabria to Catalan Pyrenees. They can even be 2 ms. long and 1,5m. high.

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    Dolmen en el Valle de Hecho
    Dolmen in Hecho Valley (Huesca)
    Dolmen de Torrent
    Dolmen of Torrent (Tarragona) at 1919.

 
Sistema de abovedado por aproximación
False dome (approximation of stones).
 
 
Dolmen de corredor
  • Dolmen of corridor. Burial chamber, with a circular or rectangular plan. It is preceded by a corridor. The cover for this structure can be made by a false dome (approximation of stones) or by big stones used like a lintel. They are the product of a lower culture specially developped in the south-west area of the Peninsula. It would move later to the north until river Duero banks. The village of Antequera, in the province of Malaga, shows the most important archaeological instances.
     

     
  • Dolmen of gallery. It consists of a corridor that gets wider until the burial chamber.
     
    Dolmen de galería

     
  • Menhires: a big long stone vertically set on the land.
     
    Menhir La Matorra II
    Menhir La Matorra II in Casasola, Cantabria.
    It is 1,80 m. high.
    Menhir de Las Nieves
    Menhir of Las Nieves in Guriezo, Cantabria.

     
  • Talayots. are towers with a square or circular plan and pyramidal elevation. They are made of stone with megalithic elements. They are common in Baleares Isles and so typical that they even conditioned the chronological name of these ages in these islands: Bronze Pretalayotic (1.100 to 800 b.C.) or Ancient Bronze (1.700 to 1.200 b.C.), and Talayotic Bronze (1.100 to 800 b.C.) until the Iron Age (800 to 407 b.C.).

     
  • Taula. Constructions with a shape of "T", only in Menorca Isle (Baleares Isles). It consists of two stones disposed in a concret way: on a vertical one there is another in an horizontal position. The latter surpasses the former as if it were an umbrella .

     
  • Las Navetas. Burial enclosures offering a rectangular plan like an upside down boat -their name means so-. The visitor can penetrate through a narrow corridor often finished by three naves. It looks as if the influence for these constructions were the same as that for peninsular "culture of the Millares" because of its clear similarities. They are also common to Baleares Isles.

    We should also point out to the appearence of other ways of burial -not megalithic buildings- made at the same age:
    • The Tholoi are funeral constructions with not megalithic architectural elements: walls and chambers are built from the union of small or middle stones. False dome covers are composed by stone plates in files that approach to each other -approximation-. Deposit of Los Millares in Santa Fe de Mondujar (Almeria) stands out.
       
      • Los Millares (Santa Fe de Mondujar, Almeria): Deposit of Los millares, (2.700 - 1.800 b.C.) is something like a militar village on a hill of 270 ms. high surrounded by two rivers: Andarax and Huechar. It consists of a town composed by circular huts with plinths of anchorage and subjection of stone, fortified with four walls and towers for defence.
         
        Los Millares
        Tholoi of Los Millares.
        Los Millares
        Remains of housings in Los Millares

         
        Necropolis was formed by more than 100 "Tholoi" burials, that usually presented a circular shape, though we can also find rectangular plans. Their value gave name to their area of influence -culture of los Millares- that includes the south-west coast of the Peninsula.
         
    • El Argar (Almeria) is probably an evolution of Los Millares culture developped at the beginning of 2nd. Millenium b.C. in the same land. It implies a new way of building: villages are heavily walled up and housings are conceived with a rectangular plan often divided in spaces. Collective burials fade out -and therefore their architectural expressions- since burials are made under one's own house.

     
    At the end of the Bronze Age, Culture of Tumbler with shape of bell comes, not only in Baleares Isles, but also in Los Millares or El Argar.