Antas, birthplace of El Argar
Antas - Almería

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Almost 5,000 years have passed since the first tribes abandoned the nomad way of life and settled in safe areas, near a fertile meadow where they developed one of the most innovative cultures for human progress.

The Culture of El Algar flourished around the river’s water sources, nurtured by the notion of safety linked to the emergence of permanent settlements. This led to the accumulation of knowledge that enabled the hegemony of the Argaric society. Some three thousand years after the first population centres, between 2000 BC and 1800 BC this new societal model appeared and ended up expanding to a large proportion of the provinces in Granada, Jaen, Alicante, and to the whole of Almería and Murcia. In Antas, the civilization commenced with the Gárcel settlement and concluded with Qurénima, south of Cabezo María, 1,300 years later.

Approximately 15 settlements have been found in the plain of river Antas, although unfortunately not all have been catalogued and researched widely. Most notable are El Argar, Gárcel, La Pernera, Qurérima, Lugarico Viejo, Fuente Bermeja and Las Cuevas del Serrón. All share a complex urban design, where houses feature several rooms used for different purposes and are generally located on hillsides.
Funerary customs changed as collective burials outside villages were abandoned in favour of individual sepulchres located under the actual residences. The material culture was also quite advanced, particularly in terms of ceramics and metallurgy, and this, by extension, brought about the advent of trade.

Although many archaeologists have taken an interest in this highly developed society, Luis Siret’s initial research has had the most international impact. Pedro Flores, born in Antas, accompanied him on all his excavations, becoming his right-hand man and foreman.

Up to one thousand sepulchres, mostly containing large jars, have been documented. Buried alongside them were grave goods including silver and gold objects, bracelets, swords, diadems, the signature “bell-beakers,” and occasionally food. This may indicate a deep religiousness and a belief in the after life, as well as a strong social distinction between classes.

The appearance of bronze metallurgy is also noteworthy. The formula may only have been known by settlers from certain communities, allowing their leaders to exercise power over neighbouring villages and impose servitude.