Archaeologists Uncover the Ancient Gods of a Lost Civilization

Photo: SAMUEL SANCHEZ (Fair Use)

The Tartessos civilization, which thrived in southern Spain some 3,000 years ago and has been linked to the mythical city of Atlantis, has had its first known sculptures of human figures revealed by archaeologists.

The five reliefs of human faces, discovered at the ancient Tartessian site of Casas del Turuñuelo, are believed to be depictions of gods and warriors, Vice news reported.

This Bronze Age society, which disappeared around 2,500 years ago, was known for producing stunning artifacts, but the reliefs are the first human representations found at the site, providing unexpected insights into this enigmatic culture.

On Tuesday, Erika López, a spokesperson for the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), revealed that the recent discovery of five reliefs of human faces at the ancient Tartessian site of Casas del Turuñuelo represents a major shift in the understanding of the Tartessos people, a lost civilization that thrived in southern Spain 3,000 years ago and has been linked to the myth of Atlantis.

Traditionally considered an aniconic culture that represented divinity through animal or plant motifs, or through betilos, the Tartessian peoples have now been found to have created human representations, likely depicting gods and warriors.

The reliefs, dated back to the 5th century BCE, include two of well-preserved women who might have been goddesses, a third of a Tartessian warrior, and two more poorly preserved figures that may also be deities, as reported by Vice news.

The human reliefs were discovered in an ancient adobe temple that also contained animal bones from a mass sacrifice and was burned down as part of a ritual, consistent with other Tartessian sites.

The artifacts discovered in the ruins of these structures provide a window into the ancient civilization’s way of life.

Renowned for their exceptional metalwork and distinct written language, the Tartessos people were thought to have descended from both Paleo-Hispanic and Phoenician communities in the Western Mediterranean.

Their intricate artwork was fashioned from locally-mined metals, including gold, silver, bronze, copper, and tin, and was highly coveted throughout the region.

Written by staff