Continuity and rupture after El Argar: The Late Bronze Age in the Southeast and East of the Iberian Peninsula
In the 1970s, the works of researchers such as F. Molina and O. Arteaga allowed to characterize the end of Prehistory in the Southeast of the Iberian peninsula. Their studies served as reference for later works of M. Gil-Mascarell to characterize the final stages of the Bronze Age in the eastern area of the Iberian Peninsula. In 1976, F. Molina identified a third phase in the development of El Argar culture, which he referred to “Argar Tardío (Late Argar)” or “Argar C”, based on data from sites such as Cerro de la Encina (Monachil, Granada) and Cabezo Redondo (Villena, Alicante), among others. Later, excavations in the Cuesta del Negro (Purullena, Granada) would provide exceptional information for the characterization of this period, so the name “Late Bronze” soon became widespread. This one had already been used by J.Mª Soler when he published the Treasure of Villena in 1965, which he linked with the Cabezo Redondo settlement, which he had identified as an Argaric site of advanced moments in the Bronze Age, previous to the pre-Iberian Period. The cultural features of this Late Bronze were established to from these syntheses, while its chronology was fixed between 1300 and 1000 a.C., which is now between 1550/1500 and 1300/1250 cal. ANE and is identified as the Villena Horizon.
In recent decades, the volume of available information has increased considerably, thanks to the review of archaeological materials deposited in museums and private collections; to the publication of the results of old excavations, especially those of J.M. Soler in Cabezo Redondo, which had been used repeatedly for the definition of the Late Bronze Age; to the resumption of archaeological works in some sites of Almería, such as Fuente Álamo and Gatas, and in the same Cabezo Redondo -from 1987 up today-; and obtaining a wide series of radiocarbon dating, many of them from short-term samples from well-defined contexts. The analysis of all this extensive documentation allows us to review this stage of our Prehistory, forty years after being initially proposed.