We know little about the sites settled by the Bronze Age inhabitants of the territory of Gipuzkoa. Although they were most likely small in size, they were the birthplace of changes in arable farming, livestock farming and metalworking.
However, the full significance of these transformations would not be seen until the beginning of the first millennium BCE. This was a rural society which had seen major developments in agricultural practices. As the millennium progressed, technological advances also led to significant innovations.
It was during this period that a number of nuclei of varying size first appeared, which show evidence of a high level of organisation and development. Although the sites excavated so far are no more than proto-urban concentrations, they already contained some features which might categorise them as more than simple population groupings. They consisted of fortified enclosures, erected at strategic locations, which must have required considerable work to build. These well-designed defence systems, enclosed areas of between one and eighteen hectares, depending on the needs of each group. Once the site had been chosen, it required considerable sophistication to coordinate the work involved in that raising constructions of this kind. However, it is in the interior of these enclosures that we can really appreciate the full scale of this development.
As we gradually unearth structures at different sites, and see their distribution and the materials used to build them, we can build a clearer picture of the lifestyles of these people, often depicted as being our last link with prehistory but who might more fairly be considered to represent the first stage of known history.
Homes, compartmentalised into different enclosures, large earthenware pots for storing a range of products, the many other types of vessels for other uses, tools and farm utensils - increasingly made of iron as the millennium progressed - bronze and glass ornaments, and many other discoveries bring us in contact with these groups. They inhabited the whole of Gipuzkoa from the Atlantic shoreline to the mountains that mark the Atlantic/Mediterranean watershed, living in small fortified nuclei or villages, which probably coexisted alongside outlying settlements and seasonal mountain camps.