The end of the Bronze Age and the beginnings of Iron Age in the Southeast of Iberia
The Southeastern territory of the Iberian peninsula during the Late Bronze Age and the Ancient Iron Age is analyzed. The study emphasizing on the analysis of the interaction between the indigenous populations and the Phoenicians, mainly from the study of two archaeological sites: the Final Bronze Age and Orientalizing settlement of Peña Negra (Crevillent, Alicante) and the Phoenician colony of La Fonteta (Guardamar del Segura, Alicante).
During the most advanced stage of the Final Bronze Age, from IXth century Cal BC, the foundation of new settlements in the area, clearly linked to the Southern peninsular area, is detected. The most outstanding of them is Peña Negra, located in the foothills of the Crevillent Mountain range, from where is possible to visually control much of the coast of Alicante.The importance of this settlement is crearly atested by the presence of numerous imports from different origins; by the existence of a metallurgical workshop for the manufacture of arms, ornaments and tools of Atlantic type destined for export; and by the appearance of a wide necropolis of incineration close of the site. This elements, among others, give an idea of the entity of this settlement already from its initial stage, moment for which it is possible to propound its protourban character.
From the middle of the VIIIth century BC, during the Early Iron Age -or Orientalizing stage- major and trascendental changes are observed, linked with the foundation of the Phoenician settlement of La Fonteta, at the mouth of the Segura River. The impact of its presence would be felt in the main indigenous settlements, specially in Peña Negra, now transformed into an urban nucleus, probably identified with the city of Herna mentioned by Avieno.