May 18, 2022 10:07 pm

They find the severed head of an Iberian warrior from 2,300 years ago

Barcelona

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He lost his mind, yes, but he escaped the flames. A rarity for a culture that erased a good part of its traces by practicing cremation rituals and that now allows adding a new piece to the scarce human remains that are preserved from that time. It is, specifically, the frontal part of the skull of a male, probably a warrior, between 18 and 25 years old from approximately the 3rd century BC, a valuable piece that was located during the interventions carried out at the end of 2021 in the Olèrdola site (Alt Penedès).

Apparently, the man passed away some 2,300 years, around the Second Punic War, and his decapitated head was displayed as a trophy next to a defensive tower.

A custom that seemed to be reserved for the indigenous and Layetan tribes, but which, thanks to this discovery, also extends to the costanus. The fact that the skull retains some dental piece, the researchers emphasize, will allow genetic studies to be carried out, essential to know the origins of the human groups that lived in the Iberian Peninsula between the 4th and 1st centuries BC.

The head of Olèrdola, which was presented this Thursday in Barcelona and can be seen until Sunday at the Museum of Archeology of Catalonia within the exhibition ‘The Iberian Enigma’, is especially unique not only because the practice of separating the head from the trunk outside the territories of the indigetes and layetanos, but also because it is the severed head found further south in Catalonia. “Surely they had it displayed at the entrance of the walled enclosure, so that everyone could see it, it was a symbol of power,” explained Núria Molist, curator of the Museum of Archeology of Catalonia.

The remains, five fragments of the frontal part of the skull, emerged almost by surprise, when archaeologists worked on tower 2 of the Roman wall to document the transition between Iberians and Romans and among the rubble, ceramics, amphoras and also the different parts appeared. of the skull. The researchers’ hypothesis is that the structure suffered a fire and collapsed, thus sealing the space and keeping the remains of the severed head safely away.

Researchers have yet to get to the bedrock so far, leading them to believe that the excavation may still offer new surprises. Among the materials that appeared in the tower, the tip of a pilum, Typical spear used by Roman troops during the Second Punic War.

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