Tower-shaped tomb. Aristocratic Tomb

Pozo Moro Pulse para ampliar Monumento de Pozo Moro. Sala 12, patio

Protohistory: Iberian peoplesSalto de línea

Iberian cemeteries were highly visible landmarks situated beside roads. The monumentality, richness and location of the tombs were a reflection of an increasingly hierarchical society, although we do not know how a large part of the population was buried. Persons of high social standing were buried in underground chambers, like the burial of the Lady of Baza, in tumulus burial, like the tombs of the necropolis of Galera or in monumental tombs which might take the form of a pillar stella with a protective animal on a capital or a tower with sculptures of guardian animals at its corners, as this of Pozo Moro (Albacete).

This tower-shaped tomb dates from the 6th century BC. is a one-of-a-kind discovery because its decorative reliefs are vital sources of knowledge on how eastern myths influenced the Iberian mind. In them we find an iconographic programme that glorifies the deceased as the founder of a noble bloodline, although not all scholars subscribe to this interpretation. The cycle opens with the Phoenician goddess Astarte, coiffed like the Egyptian goddess Hathor, who is holding two huge lotus blossoms, symbols of fertility and rebirth. It continues with an image of the hero carrying the tree of life, which he has won by defeating the monsters and which guarantees his immortality. This is followed by a banquet scene. A monstrous two-headed creature holds a wild boar’s leg in one hand and a bowl with a human figure—perhaps the dead man—in the other. The creature is about to devour the man, who will thus cross over to the realm of the gods. The programme ends with the figure of a warrior fighting monsters and a sexual scene in which a male character is seen coupling with a goddess. If the man is the deceased, this union suggests that his descendants—in other words, the local aristocracy—are part divine.