iberian-peninsula

Linguistics map of the Iberian Peninsula 1000-2000 AD

When language isolates are discussed, people often assume they are some weird, unique language that just sprung out of nowhere. It’s much more likely that these languages (like Basque) were parts of must larger families that died out. In this gif, you can see how Castilian overwhelms Iberia, which had been primarily speaking Arabic - Mozarabic. Even at that time, Basque was already a fairly small language. So what did the language landscape look like before Arabic - Mozarabic was the dominant language family?

I don’t know, but language has been around a lot longer than we have historical accounts, and it’s reasonable to think that Basque’s language family was once spoken in a much wider area. Who knows, maybe it originates from a language family that dominated Europe before Germanic and Romance languages existed. In any case, we no longer can trace it back to connect it to the languages in Europe today.

Celtic Belt Clasp

Made in the Iberian peninsula (Spain), 2nd century B.C.

Leaded bronze, inlaid silver, iron rivets

This bronze and silver buckle is unusual in that both its top and bottom plaque are preserved, along with remains of the iron rivets used to attach it to a leather belt. Small figurines show warriors wearing similar clasps, suggesting this was designed for use by a soldier. It is typical of a type of buckle produced in the central plain region of the Iberian Peninsula, where silver is found in the Sierra Morena mountains. In design it is closely related to engraved examples of artwork in Andalusia in the southwest of Spain, a province that strongly influenced the artistic development of the rest of Iberia. Opposing spirals were a popular motif in Celtic art and were often combined with concentric circles on buckles such as this one. The design was created by carving out a pattern on a bronze panel, and then hammering a thin sheet of silver into the indentations.

From the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Berberomeloe majalis

…is a largish species of blister beetle (Meloidae) that occurs in Spain and much of the Iberian Peninsula. Like other blister beetles B. majalis typically inhabits open areas and will feed on a variaty of plant material. True to its family name B. majalis is capable of exuding a hemolymph from its body which can cause blistering if it comes in contact with skin.

Classification

Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Coleoptera-Meloidae-Meloinae-Lyttini-Berberomeloe-B. majalis

Image: Isabel Lopez and Carlos Bodas

Bronze age palace and grave goods discovered at the archaeological site of La Almoloya

Archaeologists from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) have discovered a palatial construction with an audience hall which makes up the first specifically political precincts built in continental Europe. A prince’s tomb in the subsoil contains the largest amount of grave goods from the Bronze Age existing in the Iberian Peninsula. Some of the most outstanding items include a silver diadem of great scientific and patrimonial value, the only one conserved from that era in Spain, as well as four golden and silver ear dilators.

Excavations conducted in August by the researchers of the UAB’s Department of Prehistory Vicente Lull, Cristina Huete, Rafael Micó y Roberto Risch have made evident the unique archaeological wealth of La Almoloya site, located in Pliego, Murcia. The site was the cradle of the “El Argar” civilisation which lived in the south-eastern part of the Iberian Peninsula during the Bronze Age. Read more.