The Mega-Site of Valencina de la Concepción (Seville, Spain): Debating Settlement Form, Monumentality and Aggregation in Southern Iberian Copper Age Societies

Abstract

Study of the Iberian Copper Age has experienced a remarkable upheaval in the last two decades. The discovery in central and southwestern Iberia of a significant number of ditched enclosures, a site type almost unknown in this region until the mid 1990s, has opened up new lines of research. Particularly interesting is the existence of some exceptionally large sites. Largest of all is Valencina de la Concepción (Seville, Spain), covering an area of 450 ha and featuring several outstanding megalithic monuments, thousands of pits and material assemblages revealing middle and long distance contacts. In this paper we discuss the implications of the Valencina mega-site for the study of settlement variability, monumentality and population aggregation as key phenomena in the rise in social complexity in Copper Age Iberia.

Resumen

El estudio de Edad del Cobre ibérica ha experimentado una notable convulsión en las dos últimas décadas. El descubrimiento, fundamentalmente en Iberia central y suroccidental, de un número importante de recintos de fosos, una categoría de sitio que hasta mediados de los años 1990 era casi desconocida, ha abierto nuevas vías de investigación. De particular interés es la existencia de algunos sitios de tamaño excepcionalmente grande. Tal es el caso de Valencina de la Concepción (Sevilla), con 450 ha de extension, varios monumentos megalíticos de gran porte, miles de estructuras negativas y una cultura material que revela contactos a media y larga distancia. En este artículo se debaten las implicaciones de los descubrimientos recientemente realizados en el mega-sitio de Valencina para el estudio de la variabilidad en la forma de los asentamientos, la monumentalidad y la agregación de población como fenómenos clave de la expansion de la complejidad social que se da en la Edad del Cobre ibérica.

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Fig. 1

Map: Manuel Eleazar Costa Caramé

Fig. 2

Map: David W. Wheatley

Fig. 3

Map: Leonardo García Sanjuán and Manuel Eleazar Costa Caramé

Fig. 4

Photographs: Antonio Acedo

Fig. 5

Map: Leonardo García Sanjuán and Manuel Eleazar Costa Caramé

Fig. 6
Fig. 7

Photographs: Miguel Ángel Blanco de la Rubia

Fig. 8

Diagram: Chris Scarre

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Correspondence to Leonardo García Sanjuán.

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García Sanjuán, L., Scarre, C. & Wheatley, D.W. The Mega-Site of Valencina de la Concepción (Seville, Spain): Debating Settlement Form, Monumentality and Aggregation in Southern Iberian Copper Age Societies. J World Prehist 30, 239–257 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10963-017-9107-6

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Keywords

  • Iberia
  • Copper Age
  • Mega-sites
  • Ditched enclosures
  • Megalithic monuments
  • Population aggregation
  • Early urbanism
  • Social complexity

Keywords

  • Iberia
  • Edad del Cobre
  • Mega-Sitios
  • Recintos de Fosos
  • Monumentos Megalíticos
  • Agregación de Población
  • Urbanismo Primitivo
  • Complejidad Social