A Fire Destroyed A Prehistoric Building In Spain 2,200 Years Ago, But The Waste Actually Helped Preserve Many Iron Age Archaeological Remains

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A prehistoric building was destroyed by a fire that occurred 2,200 years ago. The building is located at Tossal de Baltarga, a hillfort complex from the Iron Age that sits in the eastern Pyrenees mountains of Spain.

The fire laid waste to the building and the surrounding area, but it also helped to preserve many archaeological remains, allowing researchers to see the details of a specific moment in time that took place thousands of years ago. The preserved remains reveal the lives of the inhabitants of the hillfort during the Iron Age.

The building, referred to as Building G, consisted of two floors and contained the remains of animals, seeds, and charcoal. It was used for multiple purposes.

On the lower floor, there were remnants of a stable, where the remains of a goat, a horse, and four sheep were preserved. A metal horse bit indicated that the horse was ridden by the occupants of the building.

The upper floor was separated into spaces for cooking and textile production. The researchers found several tools for spinning and weaving wool. In addition, some grains like oats and barley were detected, as well as cooking vessels with milk and pork stew residues.

Furthermore, an iron pickaxe and a gold earring were uncovered on this floor, indicating that the inhabitants were skilled in metallurgy.

Interestingly enough, the gold ring was hidden in a small pot, suggesting that danger might’ve been on the horizon, and the people living in the settlement were afraid of being attacked.

At the time of the fire, the animals had been penned up in their enclosures, which supports the idea that they lived in fear of conflict. They may have kept the animals in the stable to protect them in case conflict ever broke out.

“This could just be an unexpected local fire. But the presence of a hidden gold earring indicates the anticipation by the local people of some kind of threat, likely the arrival of an enemy. Also, the keeping of such a high number of animals in a little stall suggests the anticipation of danger,” Oriol Olesti Vila, a researcher at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, said.

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