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Julio Martínez Santa-Olalla

The excavations of the Seminar of the Early History of Men (precedent of the Prehistory Department at the Universidad Complutense of Madrid) took place during the 40’s. The campaigns during the summers of 1944 and 1945 were led by Julio Martinez Santa-Olalla and supported, among others, by Eduardo Del Val Caturla, Carlos and José Antonio Mon Posac Sopranis Salto. On the other hand, the directors of the campaign of 1948 were Vicente Ruiz Argilés and Carlos Posac Mon. Finally, Francisco Jordá and John D. Evans excavated during 1950


Vista de los departamentos I, III, IV en 1944 (Martínez Santa Olalla, 1947)View of departments I, II, IV in 1944 (Martínez Santa Olalla, 1947).
Vista de la misma área tras su limpieza en 2009View of departments I, II, IV in 2009.


The excavations of 1944 and 1945 provided the greatest volume of information. The fieldwork was focused on an area of circa 1788 m2 at the base of the southeastern side of the hill. There were uncovered the remains of 21 "departments" of trapezoidal-rectangular or apsidal perimeter, whose preservation was very heterogeneous. Furthermore, 102 graves were found, mostly in ceramic containers and other in cists or pits.


The department XI-XX stands out among the architectural remains. This one was a foundry where it was recovered mineral washing basins, ash-filled pits with traces of cupper adhered to crucibles and a fragment of a mould to cast axes. Both Inchaurrandieta and Martínez Santa-Olalla found slags with a lead content between 6-8%, which corresponds to the fusion of galena ore. This composition was confirmed by Hans-Gert Bachman, following the analysis of a slag collected on the surface in 1991. New tests performed at the C2RMF in Paris and at the University of Tübingen question, whether such slags are prehistoric.



Portada de Excavaciones del seminario de historia primitiva del hombre
Detalle de la excavación de 1944. Losa circular de la tumba 1 en el momento de ser descubierta (Martínez Santa-Olalla 1947)Excavation  in 1944. Circular slab of grave number 1 at the moment that it was discovered (Martinez Santa-Olalla, 1947).


In his study published in 1983, Vicente Lull concluded that the department XI-XXI contained a great number of tools and graves with outstanding grave goods. One of them, the 58, belonged to a child buried with valuable ornaments: a copper earring on the chest, another attached to the skull and a copper bracelet on his left arm. This indicates that some individuals began to enjoy the privileges of birth, typical of hereditary structures.


Photo Gallery

La Bastida in 1944 (Martínez Santa-Olalla, 1947).

La Bastida in 1944 (Martínez Santa-Olalla, 1947).

Map of the excavations of 1944 and 1945 (Martínez Santa-Olalla, 1947).

Map of the excavations of 1944 and 1945 (Martínez Santa-Olalla, 1947).



  • La Bastida in 1944 (Martínez Santa-Olalla, 1947).
  • Map of the excavations of 1944 and 1945 (Martínez Santa-Olalla, 1947).
  • Slag.

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