Celtiberian tribes of mixed Iberian and Celtic origin inhabited an area in the central-northeastern Iberian Peninsula during the final centuries B.C.
In the last decade, archaeologists have made many interesting finds that provide a more comprehensive picture of the Celtiberians. However, there is still much to be learned about the world of these ancient people.
The Ancient Celtiberian City Was Camouflaged By An Adjacent Quarry
Scientists from the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) report they have discovered a previously unknown 2,000-year-old Celtiberian city. The find was made when the research team took a closer look at a limestone quarry in the Soria town of Deza.
Image credit: UPM
According to researchers, it is possible the site could be the lost city of Titiakos which served as a stronghold during the Sertorian War.
The limestone quarry was exploited “quickly and in one go for constructing a large military camp to improve the defense of the nearby and important Celtiberian city of Titiakos during the Sertorian War, the scientists explain in their study published in the journal Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences.
“Despite its relevance, this site has never been studied and has remained ignored. To date, no systematic study has been carried out that has tried to discover its historical importance”, says Vicente Alejandre, mayor of Deza and member of the Centro de Estudios Bilbilitanos, who is also a member of the research team.
The main reason why the ancient ruins have been left unexplored is because an adjacent quarry hid them.
“The exploitation has gone completely unnoticed because the place and the rock have been so naturalized after more than 2,000 years that the quarry fronts were considered natural accidents on the ground. Therefore, it was not known, nor was there an oral tradition about it. However, some sections of a road dug into the rock and with ruts have been preserved for the passage of carts that accessed the quarry from the upstream part.
Celtiberian biglobular daggers. Credit: Carlos Bartolomé – CC BY-SA 4.0
They are easily identifiable sections that end in a 40 m precipice where there is a large 2.5 t stone block visible from the town. This road was surrounded by mystery since it was not understood why it had been built, and it fed local legends and stories,” Eugenio Sanz Pérez, Professor of Geology at the ETSI Roads, Canals and Ports of the UPM, who led this research explained.
Why Was There A Roman Camp Next To The Celtiberian City of Titiakos? Did They Want To Conquer It?
“No, quite the contrary, Celtiberia and the rest of Hispania were already conquered at that time (82-76 BC). Surely the Celtiberians (Titos) of Titiakos were allies of Sertorio, and they wanted to defend themselves against the supporters of Pompey, who was the one who finally won the civil war in Rome (Sertorian Wars).
Although Deza stands on a hillock rising 50 m above the Henar river valley, in the event of war, it was vulnerable to catapult attack from the plateau 100 m above to the northeast. A military camp was necessary to give protection to the Celtiberian-Roman city on this most vulnerable side. The choice of the location of the campsite was carefully studied,” Professor Antonio Arcos at the ETSI Roads, Canals and Ports of the UPM says in a press statement.
The science team says that this is a very well-done Roman military engineering project. On the one hand, the geological site was exploited selectively, differentiating between the extraction areas of large and small stone blocks according to the needs of the work.
The stone material was transported by means of small carts along a carefully studied path of about 600 m in length and of clear Roman affiliation. Some 12,000 m3 of limestone were extracted from this quarry, corresponding to the volume and type of rock of the remains of the walls that are still preserved in situ and of the reused stone boundaries of the surrounding farms.