Spain - Los Millares


fig. 1 : Reconstruction of the citadel of Los Millares

Los Millares is one of the wonders of Neolithic Western Europe. To see it all would require a whole day, if not two. I would suggest doing over two days and not necessarily in the middle of summer - this is desert country! The main site is that of a Neolithic walled Citadel and passage tomb cemetery (see fig. 1), but there are 12 orbital forts and at least two other necropleis on adjoining hilltops.

As a visitor centre this is exemplary. There is a small building with great displays of reconstructed pottery, models of the tombs and information boards. The staff are very friendly and knowledgable ... and it's free! There are very good information boards around the main site and at the forts and, to cap it all, there is a full-size reconstruction of several tombs and a section of the outer defensive wall.


fig. 2 : Life-size reconstruction of the citadel wall

After taking the time to look around the displays it is time to wonder down to the site proper. When you enter the huge compound a road leads down to the citadel itself. You can drive down this and park nearer to the walls, but I recommend walking as you can then go off the beaten track to the seemingly zillions of tombs that litter the plateau. However, before you head for the old site take the time to follow the small footpath that goes off to the left just inside the gate. This leads you to the reconstruction of the citadel walls (see fig. 2) and two tombs (see fig. 3).


fig. 3 : Life-size reconstruction of two tombs

The wall reconstruction includes several towers that bulge out from the wall and have arrow slots. There is a walk-way around it and the towers have upper floors as well as the inner chambers. These last features are speculation as the remains are no more than 1m high, but the towers and arrow slots are ebased on the archaeological evidence. To the rear of the wall there are also some reconstructed huts.


fig. 4 : Inside one of the reconstructed tombs

The reconstructed tombs are fantastic. In one of them a passage leads through two perforated slate slabs into round, corbelled chamber that is walled with upright slate slabs. There are two sub-chambers off the passage, which also have the perforated slate slab to mark its entrance (see fig. 4). In side the chamber and the sub-chambers they have placed bones and pots to show how the contents were found. This really is how an archaeological complex should be presented to the public!

From the reconstruction section you can walk across to the main citadel. This takes you past many ruined tombs. I think we counted over 30.

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