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Bronze Age oven discovered in Asturias

Archaeological excavations at Linares in northern Spain have brought to light a spectacular oven of the 2nd millennium BC, as confirmed by the carbon dating of the furnace's earliest ash deposits.

Bronze Age oven discovered in Asturias
The Bronze Age oven discovered in Asturias [Credit: Cope]
For the time being, the research group is working on the hypothesis that this is a domestic oven which, due to its size, may have had a communal function. The structure is associated with small-scale fires, while the site itself is characterised by terraced spaces and abundant ceramics, with a chronology ranging from the Early to the Final Bronze Age.

The site, under excavation since 2013, is providing highly relevant information that allows us to document a practically unknown period in the history of Asturias, of which we only have evidence from megalithic burials and some cave sites. The investigation of these structures will provide important information on the period immediately prior to the appearance of the Castro culture, turning the area in which Linares is located into a unique laboratory for understanding the dynamics of settlement areas in prehistoric and more recent times.

This information is complemented by that provided at the nearby deposits in Vigaña: in Las Corvas, several dwellings associated with post holes from the Neolithic period were located, and in El Castru, occupation is documented from the Early Iron Age to the 1st century AD.

All these sites are located in the small valley that is formed by the Zreicéu river, which separates the towns of Vigaña and Castañera (Balmonte de Miranda) and which provide data on the continuity of occupation of the area from the fourth millennium until the Common Era.

The presence of pottery from the Roman and Late Antique eras indicates that the area was also frequented during these periods. From the 10th century AD, a necropolis was located directly over the remains of the Bronze Age site and, after the abandonment of the early medieval necropolis, we have the remains of a medieval village.

The abundance of medieval finds at the site , especially in the 17th century, indicates the existence of periodic gatherings, possibly in celebration of the same festival that is still observed today and which led to the construction of the current chapel dedicated to Santa María de Linares. It is therefore an example of the reuse and reinterpretation of prehistoric structures by Christianity, becoming places of relevance for the religious beliefs of communities.

The projects at the Linares site are part of the archaeological work that the LLABOR research team, directed by Margarita Fernández Mier, professor at the University of Oviedo, have been carrying out in the municipality of Balmonte de Miranda since 2009. In considering the territory of the village of Vigaña as an integral archaeological site, different elements have been examined, both places of habitation and areas of cultivation and livestock use that have provided detailed information of a diachronic nature that allows us to delineate the history of the village in the long term, from the fourth millennium to the present day.

Margarita Fernández Mier affirms that "the important results of the work methodology implemented at the site throughout the eight archaeological campaigns also make it possible to confirm the need for a reflection on the archaeology to be carried out in the rural environment, in which only monumental sites are protected, without there being a rigorous approach to their cataloguing and study, which entails the loss of a volume of information and heritage assets that do not allow the territory to be properly documented".

Source: Cope [July 12, 2018]


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