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Bertan > Bertan 20 Burdin aroko herri harresituak Gipuzkoan > Ingeles bertsioa: The world of the dead

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The world of the dead

181. Kausoko Lepoa Cromlech. Oiartzun.© Luis Millán
181. Kausoko Lepoa Cromlech. Oiartzun.© Luis Millán

A range of different burial monuments have been found in the Basque Country. Despite the differences, however, they were all used to house the ashes of the dead. Unlike earlier times, the dead were cremated rather than buried and some or all of the remains were deposited in these funerary sites. To date, we have not identified the location or features of the necropolises of the sites excavated in Gipuzkoa. Nonetheless, information is available from fortified settlements in neighbouring regions. Here the remains were placed in cist-type structures (La Hoya in Biasteri) or urnfields (La Torraza in Balterra and La Atalaya in Kortes, among others).

182. Megalithic complex at Mulisko Gaina (Hernani-Urnieta).© Lamia
182. Megalithic complex at Mulisko Gaina (Hernani-Urnieta).© Lamia

We are currently trying to locate the sites that served the settlements identified to date, which are probably located nearby.

"Pyrenean cromlechs", which are contemporary with these fortified settlements do not provide the answer. There are over a thousand of these circles, known locally as "baratzak" or "mairubaratzak". They were not sited near the settlements, but extend throughout the Pyrenees in a well-defined geographical area. The people who built them probably lived in the area between the river Leizaran and Andorra, not only in the higher mountain areas where they erected these stone circles but also in the foothills, where living conditions were better.

183. Plan of Cromlech No. 1 at Mulisko Gaina.© Xabi Otero
183. Plan of Cromlech No. 1 at Mulisko Gaina.© Xabi Otero
184. Tximistako Egia Cromlech at the Onyi-Mandoegi site. © Luis Millán
184. Tximistako Egia Cromlech at the Onyi-Mandoegi site. © Luis Millán
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