Stela from Solana de Cabañas

Estela de Solana de Cabañas Pulse para ampliar Estela de Solana de Cabañas. Sala 9

The demarcation of the territory

The peoples who inhabited southwest Iberia at the end of the Bronze Age used large stone slabs to mark their territory. They engraved these slabs with the figure of their local chieftain and the objects that symbolically identified him as such, and placed them at strategic points along roads and trade routes so that travellers could see them from a distance and interpret their message.

The stela from Solana de Cabañas (Cáceres) is one of the best specimens in existence. On it, we see a man beside a large shield. A brooch, a mirror, a sword and a spear are depicted above the figure and shield, and below is a four-wheel chariot. These objects had real-life counterparts, though not all of them have been archaeologically documented in the Iberian Peninsula. Some associated their owner with the Mediterranean princes, who vaunted similar objects as symbols of their power, while others related him to the rulers along Europe's Atlantic coast. Both types underscored his involvement in the network of gift exchanges between rulers, and therefore afforded him the prestige that legitimised his authority, at least symbolic, within that territory.