Pre-roman Cordova

Relieve de Córdoba y variación del paleocauce del Guadalquivir (Convenio GMU-UCO)
Relief of Cordoba and variation of the channel of the Guadalquivir (GMU-UCO Agreement)

As a poblational settlement, Corduba was born five thousand years ago, on a plateau known today as Colina de los Quemados, current Parque Cruz Conde. This is a natural terrace that has pronounced slopes towards North, East and South, that descend to the Guadalquivir river, ensuring an easy defense as well as a perfect control of the water course (on its surrounding area there were two seasonal fords that allowed to traverse it), of the lands of the valley and the countryside, of the hydrological resources and metals from the mountains. The exit to the Mediterranean of these latter was ensured through the riverbed, which was navigable to its very gates.

Its name, which some philologists interprete as “city of Turdetans” or “River City” and which persisted over the centuries, despite the many cultures that have lived on it, continues today.

Recreación esquemática del poblado calcolítico (AST)
Schematic recreation of Chalcolithic village (AST)

Several archaeological studies have demonstrated a slow but gradual occupation of the settlement during the Chalcolithic or Copper Age (III-II millennium BC); possibly organized in small groups of circular or oval huts, and an essentially agricultural economy and mining which lasted during the Intermediate Bronze Age (II millennium BC). During the early centuries of the first millennium BC the population would concentrate at the eastern end of the hill, facing the two fords of the Guadalquivir, in an area near the current San Rafael Bridge.

Recreación del río y el oppidum turdetano sobre la colina (AST)
Recreation of the river and the Turdetan oppidum on the hill (AST)

Its consolidation as an urban center will take place during the Late Bronze Age (9th-8th centuries) thanks to its location, related to the privileged route of communication defined by the river, and also thanks to the wealthy metals from the mountains, particularly copper, silver and gold. These were highly demanded by other peoples of the Mediterranean, including Phoenicians and Greeks. Since the 8th century, they arrived at Corduba and print major changes on its urban design, introducing new angular domestic models, fitted with a stone base and elevation of adobe or mud.

Ubicación de las dos ciudades: turdetana (azul) y republicana (rosa) (Convenio GMU-UCO)
Location of the two cities: turdetana (blue) and republican (pink) (GMU-UCO Agreement)

During the so-called orientalizing period (7th-6th centuries BC), Corduba became a well organized and possibly walled urban entity. A little later, between the end of the 6th century and the last years of the 5th BC, scarce archaeological works, and the analysis of its economic and political territory, indicate that the city already had great urban dynamism. De facto, it had become the governing center of the Guadalquivir valley. During the 5th and 4th centuries BC Corduba, situated on the Turdetan cultural sphere, heir of the legendary Tartessos, was fully integrated into the cultural, political, economic and commercial circuits of the moment, ready to receive in a relatively natural way the new Roman invaders. They immediately understood its high strategic value, choosing it as a bridgehead, wintering place for troops and headquarters of the praetor.

Cordubenses and Italics coexisted peacefully for a long time. However, the foundation of the new Roman city in the mid 2nd century BC brought together the new settlers from the Italian peninsula with a large group of “select indigenous”, as Strabo calls them. This would cause the progressive decline of the indigenous nucleus, which was definitely abandoned in the early decades of the 1st century BC.

So far, we do not have any information on the funerary practices of Prehistoric and Turdetan Cordova. Researchers do not seem to agree if that lack is due to a peculiar archaeological casuistry or to the use some kind of ritual that leaves no archaeological trace.


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