|Los Silillos is a Bronze Age settlement encompassing an area of 180,000 square metres. The site was discovered in 2007 during excavation work in constructing the A-45 Motorway on Spain's Iberian Peninsula. (EFE, 2007) The ancient village is approximately nine kilomters north of the town of Antequera. Los Silillos includes architectural elements of 52 subterranean structures, which are only a portion of the circular dwellings built by prehistoric peoples here. Farming tools and copper tools found at Los Silillos have been dated to 2500 BC by researchers at Malaga University. It is thought that some of the tools found at Los Silillos may have been employed in constructing ancient works at nearby Cueva de la Menga and Cueva de Romeral.
Manuel Romero, the Antequera municipal archaeologist, indicated that only about two percent of the total Los Silillos site has been excavated as of October, 2007. Romero further stated that ongoing research is occurring for the site, including more precise radiocarbon dating in Switzerland. Animal relics retrieved on the site include fossilised ram horns and deer antlers. The Los Silillos site is situated at an elevation of approximately 435 metres is in an agricultural valley between Antequera and Cordoba, .
REGIONAL PREHISTORY. There is extensive prehistoric settlement in this region of southern Spain, no doubt linked to the mild climate, rich mineral resources of the Iberian Pyrite Belt (Leistel, 1997) and proximity of the Mediterranean Sea. In addition to Neanderthal presence and the Magdelanian paleolithic era cave painters, other Iberian settlements of the approximate age of Los Silillos in this region include the Chalcolithic settlement of Los Millares and Neolithic finds at Cabrera.
Somewhat to the east of Los Silillos, scientists have recently conducted core drilling to reconstruct the natural history of 1900 BC Argaric settlements. They found that rich deciduous forests once covered much of the region; moreover, the thriving Bronze Age Argaric peoples stripped the trees to such an extent that the ecology was transformed to an agriculturally unproductive, arid Mediterranean scrub. While climate change may have played a subordinate role, the Argaric civilization itself appears to have caused its own demise by unwise resource management. The resulting degradation of soils and appears to have "caused the collapse of agriculture and pastoralism, the foundation of the Argaric economy", and hence a "massive depopulation". (BBC, 2007)
* EFE News as reported by Spain News: Costa del Sol (2007) ''Prehistoric settlement unearthed near Antequera''. Oct 9, 2007
* J. M. Leistel, E. Marcoux, D. Thiéblemont, C. Quesada, A. Sánchez, G. R. Almodóvar, E. Pascual and R. Sáez (December, 1997) ''The volcanic-hosted massive sulphide deposits of the Iberian Pyrite Belt Review and preface to the Thematic Issue'', Journal Mineralium Deposita, Publisher:Springer Berlin / Heidelberg, ISSN 0026-4598 (Print) 1432-1866 (Online); Volume 33, Numbers 1-2
* BBC News (Nov. 15, 2007) ''Eco-ruin 'felled early society'''
Posted by C Michael Hogan
20th December 2007ce