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Magazine Antiquity has collected in its last issue the recently completed work at Monte Bernorio, the ritual area of Mata del Fraile and the Roman site of Huerta Varona, in Aguilar de Campoo, in Palencia.
The hill fort of Monte Bernorio, located in the surroundings of the town of Villarén, is one of the most important Iron Age sites in the Iberian Peninsula.
Since 2004 archaeological research campaigns have been carried out that are allowing us to understand its defensive structures, its urbanism and the daily life of this site.
A few kilometers from the fortified city it was discovered, in 2000, by Eduardo Peralta, a great Roman military camp belonging to the Cantabrian wars.
“From there the Roman attack was launched that conquered and destroyed the Cantabrian settlement of Monte Bernorio around 25 BC.”, Explain the researchers Jesús Francisco Torres-Martínez, from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) and Manuel Fernández-Götz, from the University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom).
Almost 2000 years later, Bernorio's mountain was once again the scene of armed confrontations during the Spanish Civil War. For this reason, Monte Bernorio constitutes a privileged setting for the investigation of ‘conflict archeology’, one of the branches “most attractive and booming archeology today”, Detail the experts.
During the excavations at Monte Bernorio They have been able to document large quantities of military material, both belonging to the Roman conquest of Emperor Augustus and to the confrontations in the framework of the Northern Front of the Civil War, around 1936/37.
First occupations of the Monte Bernorio fort
Although the site has been known since the end of the 19th century, in the middle of the 20th century there was a pause of around 50 years in archaeological work. It was in 2004 when a team led by the Palencia archaeologist Jesús Francisco Torres-Martínez started the Monte Bernorio project in its surroundings, destined to explore from the Iron Age.
Since then, excavations and surveys have been carried out annually by the IMBEAC (Monte Bernorio Institute for Studies of the Antiquity of the Cantabrian Sea). As of 2015, in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh.
According to the investigations carried out, there are indications of a first occupation in Chalcolithic and Bronze Age times (3,000-2,000 BC approximately), but its occupation is continued from the 8th century BC until the 1st century BC, the time of the Roman conquest.
“Monte Bernorio has enormous historical interest, since it was one of the main centers of the Cantabrians, an important fortified city that came to encompass an area of around 90 hectares. Dominate an intersection of nature trails and occupy a strategic location”Emphasize the researchers.
Thus, it is a deposit with great potential, one of the largest of the First Millennium BC of the entire Iberian Peninsula. It was busy for several centuries, so it can provide new information about the ways of life of the pre-Roman populations and their subsequent conquest by the Roman imperial power.
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