Archaeologists have uncovered the ancient gods of a lost civilization in a stunning find at the ancient Tartessian site of Casas del Turuñuelo, with the discovery of five reliefs of human faces.
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Archaeologists have unveiled the first known sculptures of human figures made by the Tartessos peoples, a lost civilization that flourished in southern Spain some 3,000 years ago that has been linked to the myth of Atlantis. According to researchers, they are likely depictions of gods and warriors.
The discovery of five reliefs of human faces at the ancient Tartessian site of Casas del Turuñuelo has revealed unexpected details about this Bronze Age society that mysteriously vanished around 2,500 years ago. Though these peoples produced an abundance of gorgeous artifacts, these reliefs are the first human representations excavated at the site, adding a surprising new layer to our understanding of this vibrant culture.
“The unusual thing about the new finding is that the representations correspond to human faces,” according to Erika López, a spokesperson for the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), in a statement released on Tuesday.
“This extraordinary finding represents a profound paradigm shift in the interpretation of the Tartessos people, who are traditionally considered an aniconic culture for representing divinity through animal or plant motifs, or through betilos (sacred stones),” López noted.
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The human faces date back to the 5th century BCE, at the tail end of this centuries-long civilization that has enchanted both ancient and modern scholars. Two of the most well-preserved reliefs appear to depict women who might have been goddesses in the Tartessian pantheon, according to a team led by Esther Rodríguez González and Sebastián Celestino Pérez of CSIC’s Institute of Archaeology.
Camille Colonna, an anthropologist at France’s National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP), announced at a press conference that an ancient necropolis from 2,000 years ago has been unearthed next to a Paris train station.