The Aliseda Hoard. Orientaliszing jeweller

Tesoro de Aliseda Pulse para ampliar Tesoro de Aliseda. Sala 10, vitrina 10.11


Tartessus is mentioned in the Bible as a land rich in silver at the far western end of the Mediterranean Sea. Archaeological data confirms that this civilisation existed in southwest Iberia between the eighth and sixth centuries BC. However, the origins of Tartessian culture date back to the previous century, when aristocrats in the southern Iberian Peninsula came into contact with the Phoenicians and adopted certain aspects of eastern culture. This cultural “Orientalisation” reinforced the power of the local nobility, who controlled the trade and distribution of luxury objects for their own benefit. They hoarded and exhibited these items as visible symbols of their power and were eventually buried with them, as we can tell from the rich grave goods found in their tombs. The Aliseda Hoard (Cáceres), from 7th century BC, is one of the most extraordinary examples. It was discovered in a mound where, at least, a man and a woman, members of the aristocracy, were buried. It comprises a total of 285 gold objects, some of which are set with stones, a bronze mirror and a libation set consisting of a silver brazier and cup and a small glass jug with an Egyptian inscription. The decorative motifs are of eastern origin, but the pieces were made at a local workshop by craftsmen who had mastered the Phoenician techniques of granulation, soldering and filigree which reach high levels of perfection in the diadem of triangular ends, one of the Tartesic symbols par excellence, and the belt of articulated plates decorated with figures of the Phoenician hero-god Melkart fighting against a lion, between a frieze of griffins and palmettes on a granulated background.