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Bertan > Bertan 20 Burdin aroko herri harresituak Gipuzkoan > Ingeles bertsioa: Materials: stone, pottery and metal

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Materials: stone, pottery and metal

94. Saddle quern from Intxur and milled wheat flour.© Aranzadi Zientzia Elkarteko Gordailu Zentroa, Lamia
94. Saddle quern from Intxur and milled wheat flour.© Aranzadi Zientzia Elkarteko Gordailu Zentroa, Lamia
95. Stone planes from Intxur.© Aranzadi Zientzia Elkarteko Gordailu Zentroa
95. Stone planes from Intxur.© Aranzadi Zientzia Elkarteko Gordailu Zentroa
98. Hammer stone from Basagain.© Lamia
98. Hammer stone from Basagain.© Lamia
97. Fragment of saddle quern from Basagain.© Aranzadi Zientzia Elkarteko Gordailu Zentroa
97. Fragment of saddle quern from Basagain.© Aranzadi Zientzia Elkarteko Gordailu Zentroa
96. Types of hand-thrown and wheel-turned pottery from settlements in Gipuzkoa.© Xabi Otero
96. Types of hand-thrown and wheel-turned pottery from settlements in Gipuzkoa.© Xabi Otero

Successive technological advances and the development of new activities gradually changed lifestyles over the millennium. Many of these changes were reflected in the materials employed (some new), which were manufactured using different systems. Some items were imported or imitated, although the process was not uniform. Local differences are not always immediately obvious, and we are sometimes left with the erroneous impression of a homogeneous culture.

99. Crafted flint found at the Basagain and Munoaundi settlements.© Edurne Koch, Lamia
99. Crafted flint found at the Basagain and Munoaundi settlements.© Edurne Koch, Lamia

Most of the - relatively simple - personal possessions were associated with farming; some have been found in or near houses, making it much easier to identify the way these areas were structured.

101. Decorated vessels found at Intxur.© Aranzadi Zientzia Elkarteko Gordailu Zentroa
101. Decorated vessels found at Intxur.© Aranzadi Zientzia Elkarteko Gordailu Zentroa

Saddle and rotary querns would have been used to grind cereals, acorns and other items, including non-foodstuffs, in or near the dwellings. Round pebbles of varying sizes would have been employed as hammers or reamers, or heated in the fire and then used to heat liquids in wooden vessels. Compared to previous eras, flint output was relatively limited.


102. Hand-thrown pottery beaker with flat base and straight sides from Intxur.© Aranzadi Zientzia Elkarteko Gordailu Zentroa
102. Hand-thrown pottery beaker with flat base and straight sides from Intxur.© Aranzadi Zientzia Elkarteko Gordailu Zentroa

Two saddle querns have been brought to light in Intxur and Basagain and a rotary one has been found in Basagain. There are also many smoothened pebbles which were probably used for crushing or milling; other surface marks suggest that they were used as hammers. Examples have been found in Buruntza, Basagain, Intxur and Munoaundi, all of which have been excavated or are under excavation.

Many pieces of pottery have been found from the period, mostly in the form of broken vessels. A range of pieces was handmade at home or locally. These were sometimes decorated with cords, finger marks, hoof marks and incisions. Some of these generally flat-bottomed vessels, are small or medium-sized and were probably used as kitchenware, while other larger ones were used to hold liquids and food (water, grain, fruit, etc.). Although they vary considerably, gentle S-shapes are common and there are some examples of truncated cones, generally with open or tapered necks. Given the poor condition of most of the pottery remains, it is difficult to be sure how the surface was treated. However, in most cases they appear to have been simply smoothed down or on rare occasions burnished.

103. Tapering vessel with decorated edge from Buruntza.© Aranzadi Zientzia Elkarteko Gordailu Zentroa
103. Tapering vessel with decorated edge from Buruntza.© Aranzadi Zientzia Elkarteko Gordailu Zentroa
104. Wheel-moulded edge of a large vessel from Munoaundi.© Aranzadi Zientzia Elkarteko Gordailu Zentroa
104. Wheel-moulded edge of a large vessel from Munoaundi.© Aranzadi Zientzia Elkarteko Gordailu Zentroa
106. Small fine-walled bowl made on a wheel, with umbilicate base and tapering edge.© Lamia
106. Small fine-walled bowl made on a wheel, with umbilicate base and tapering edge.© Lamia
105. Hand-thrown vessels decorated using cords pressed into the clay by hand.© Aranzadi Zientzia Elkarteko Gordailu Zentroa
105. Hand-thrown vessels decorated using cords pressed into the clay by hand.© Aranzadi Zientzia Elkarteko Gordailu Zentroa
107. Iron nails found at Intxur.© Aranzadi Zientzia Elkarteko Gordailu Zentroa
107. Iron nails found at Intxur.© Aranzadi Zientzia Elkarteko Gordailu Zentroa

This type of vessel was made using a type of slip which has suffered an intense post-depositional process; the calcite degreasing agents which helped solidify the slip have completely dissolved, leading to a significant deterioration in the consistency and conservation of the pots. The clay was carefully selected from sites between one and eight kilometres from the settlements. These pieces may have been fired at temperatures of between 600 and 750º C, in pits dug in the earth, since very irregular reduction firing predominated, and in some cases flame marks are still visible. Nonetheless, there are some cooking pots with an oxidised finish which may have been fired in primitive kilns. (C. Olaetxea, 2000).

108. Iron knife found at Basagain.© Lamia
108. Iron knife found at Basagain.© Lamia

Thousand of shards of handmade vessels have been recovered, mostly from the digs at Buruntza, Basagain, Intxur and Munoaundi. Among the most important finds in this area are the large vessels, decorated with cords pressed into the clay, from Buruntza and Intxur and small and medium-sized pieces, many of which are similarly decorated.

Better quality wheel-turned pottery dating from the second half of the millennium has also been unearthed at some sites (Basagain, Moru and Munoaundi). This is generally known as Celtiberian pottery and is red-orange in colour. It was used to make a range of vessels, from small thin-walled pieces just a few millimetres thick to relatively large storage jars. At all the sites, however, handmade pottery predominates. Particularly interesting are some shards of small very thin-walled bowls, with tapering edges and umbilicate bases, found at the Basagain settlement. Some fragments from large vessels, with thickened edges and mouldings, have also been excavated in Basagain and Munoaundi.

109. Iron nails and rivet found at Basagain.© Lamia
109. Iron nails and rivet found at Basagain.© Lamia
110. Iron staple found at Intxur.©
110. Iron staple found at Intxur.
112. Iron elements found at Basagain.© Lamia
112. Iron elements found at Basagain.© Lamia
111. Bronze clasp found at Munoaundi.© Edurne Koch
111. Bronze clasp found at Munoaundi.© Edurne Koch
113. Piece of iron found at Munoaundi.© Edurne Koch
113. Piece of iron found at Munoaundi.© Edurne Koch

Metal items were already being made in the area before this period. Bronze continued to be used for several items, but the second half of the first millennium BCE saw one of the great developments of the period: the beginning of iron working. Iron was to be used to make tools for farming and building houses and other structures, and also for weapons. From this period on, sickles, ploughshares, knives, spear tips, staples and nails were all made of iron, with only jewellery - such as pendants, bracelets and clasps - still made in bronze.

114. Iron knife found at Munoaundi.© Edurne Koch
114. Iron knife found at Munoaundi.© Edurne Koch

The discovery of slag heaps suggests that some of these items were made inside the settlements themselves, though in other cases they probably came from trade with other groups.


115. Many vessels were made of wood. Stones that had been heated on the fire would be placed inside them to heat liquids. This specimen was found at Intxur.© Edurne Koch, Xabi Otero
115. Many vessels were made of wood. Stones that had been heated on the fire would be placed inside them to heat liquids. This specimen was found at Intxur.© Edurne Koch, Xabi Otero

Among the most significant bronze materials unearthed to date in Gipuzkoa are a weight and a clasp, both from the dig at Munoaundi. Iron utensils include a complete sickle found in one of the dwellings in Intxur, the ploughshare from Basagain and a series of knives, nails and staples found in most of the sites excavated.

116. Necklace bead made of glass paste, found at Intxur and Basagain. On the right, a bead to real scale from Basagain.© Aranzadi Zientzia Elkarteko Gordailu Zentroa, Lamia, Xabi Otero
116. Necklace bead made of glass paste, found at Intxur and Basagain. On the right, a bead to real scale from Basagain.© Aranzadi Zientzia Elkarteko Gordailu Zentroa, Lamia, Xabi Otero

Timber was in abundant supply and was used to build homes and defensive fences as well as acting as a source of light and heat. Since the dawn of prehistory it had also been employed to make a range of objects; few examples remain, however, because of the poor conservation properties of wood. Nonetheless numerous remains are still extant, some of which show how boards of a certain thicknesses were used for construction. Two specimens from Intxur still contain a nail and a wedge. Several fragments of finely carved wooden tumblers have been found at the site on the La Cruz highland, Navarra, which faithfully imitate common pottery shapes. Charred remains have also been found of a wide-mouthed vessel with holes around the edge, which J. Maluquer de Motes has associated with the "wooden tumblers used to curdle milk in the Basque Pyrenees". (J. Maluquer de Motes, 1954). The discovery in some digs of a series of instruments such as braces, files and adzes confirms the idea that woodworking was common during this period.

117. Necklace bead made of glass paste from Basagain.© Lamia
117. Necklace bead made of glass paste from Basagain.© Lamia
118. Many of the world's great cultures were developing at the same time as the settlements in Gipuzkoa.© Xabi Otero
118. Many of the world's great cultures were developing at the same time as the settlements in Gipuzkoa.© Xabi Otero
119. Boxes with carved decorations from the settlement at La Hoya (Basque Country), from the Celtiberian period (second half of the first millennium BCE).© Armando Llanos
119. Boxes with carved decorations from the settlement at La Hoya (Basque Country), from the Celtiberian period (second half of the first millennium BCE).© Armando Llanos
120. Bronze caryatid with coral incrustations, from the barrow grave at Eberdingen-Hochdorf, dating from the second half of the sixth century BCE.©
120. Bronze caryatid with coral incrustations, from the barrow grave at Eberdingen-Hochdorf, dating from the second half of the sixth century BCE.

The few pieces of glass paste found were probably not manufactured locally. Although glass was already used in previous eras, it was now employed more widely for beads for necklaces and bracelets - mostly blue in colour - some of which were richly decorated (Intxur and Basagain). The raw material was silica, lime and alkaline oxides, to which were added small proportions of other minerals and the mixture was smelted at over 1200º C. The range of colours was obtained by adding components such as colloidal metals, metal oxides and salts.

121. Terracotta figure from the tomb of Qin Shihuangdi, in Xi'an (China), 210 BCE.©
121. Terracotta figure from the tomb of Qin Shihuangdi, in Xi'an (China), 210 BCE.
122. Relief from the citadel at Persepolis (Iran) built between 515 and 330 BCE.© Xabier Peñalver
122. Relief from the citadel at Persepolis (Iran) built between 515 and 330 BCE.© Xabier Peñalver
124. Porcelain ushebti from the Late Dynastic Period, found in the necropolis at Saqqara (4th century BCE).©
124. Porcelain ushebti from the Late Dynastic Period, found in the necropolis at Saqqara (4th century BCE).
125. A
125. A "tenon head" from Chavín de Huantar (Peru), pertaining to the Chavin civilization, which developed between 1000 and 300 BCE.
123. Parthenon in Athens (Greece), inaugurated between 438 and 437 BCE.©
123. Parthenon in Athens (Greece), inaugurated between 438 and 437 BCE.
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