View Full Version : Cádiz "La Santa Cueva could be the sanctuary of Astarte"

20-06-11, 00:59
Cádiz "La Santa Cueva could be the sanctuary of Astarte"

Astarte (Archaeological Museum Cádiz)

(Diario de Cádiz) Archaeologist Inmaculada Pérez suggested that in this place are the oracle of the Phoenician temple citing classical sources.
According to classical texts collected, about a dozen shrines dedicated to deities and Punic-Phoenician later assimilated by the Roman-Hellenistic culture and extended in ancient times along the coast of Cadiz, from the area of ​​Algeciras and Gibraltar to the mouth of the Guadalquivir in Bonanza.

Professor of Archaeology at the UCA Inmaculada López Pérez described the map of these sanctuaries in the Phoenician-Punic series of lectures on archeology Cadiz in development since last December at the Museo de Cádiz.

Based on his research on classical sources and the archaeological remains associated with these places of worship, trade knowledge and appeared so far, Inmaculada Perez continues his study, the subject of his doctoral thesis, a sea voyage in which, from east to West, places the location of eight temples mentioned by these sources.

Particularly striking is the archaeologist on the fact that "in the Bay of Cadiz are the only sanctuaries Roman sources cited as places for consulting oracles of the entire Iberian Peninsula, which definitely has to do with the close relationship these temples with maritime traffic and trade. oracles would most likely indicate a marine expert sailors whether or not the crossing is proposed and the characteristics of the trip. "

Astarte (Archaeological Museum Cádiz)

Reinforces this view the strategic location of the shrines, "which blazed in and out of dangerous places in the sea crossing, so they were also points of shelter, repair of ships, equipment for the watering and gathering information."

In the group of islands in ancient times made up the Bay of Cadiz "natural agents, Inmaculada Pérez-states have come together to not go away entirely the footprint of these sanctuaries and we recognize its traces in our environment."

One of the most interesting contributions to the study of the archaeologist is the hypothesis that the possible location of the oracle of the goddess Astarte in the Holy Cave. Accurate in this regard that "the findings underwater in Punta del Nao, opposite the Castillo de Santa Catalina, have been related by most researchers to the location of the temple of the Phoenician god, assimilated then to the Roman Venus and Juno in that area. These archaeological remains, which extends dating from the seventh century BC to II, is believed to come from a sunken ship near the sanctuary. I suggest that it was a votive ship that is built to an important nautical ceremony related to the cult of Astarte. This ship was loaded with gifts and liturgical objects, fallen off, it was left to navigate and sometimes wrecked. "

He emphasized that "these findings in the Punta del Nao has suggested that the temple was in this rocky platform, but the classic texts indicate that it was a cave with oracle. I understand that in Phoenician times throughout the small island was a territory sacred and the only cave with religious connotations in Cadiz is what we now call the Holy Cave. Recent studies indicate that the place where today stands the oratory was the entrance to the port in ancient times. "

Inmaculada Perez estimates that the situation in the cave at the foot of the promontory of the plot of the comic, and the findings of this deposit, Canovas del Castillo Street and Broad Street, "both the Egyptian god or priest found years ago, as well appeared in the recent excavation "are data supporting this new hypothesis on the location of the oracle of Astarte in the sacred island dedicated to the Phoenician goddess. Archaeologist notes that "the Holy Cave is the only one that has been Christianized, which could respond to a survival of the sacredness of the place, but that's a point that has not yet been able to see."

Next to this small sacred island of Astarte, the bigger and longer island, where in the opinion of Perez and other archaeologists located the Phoenician city itself, two sanctuaries signposted end. In the South, in Sancti Petri, the temple of Melqart, "which is the small island that still rises from the sea and whose location indicated by the classics, he explains Inmaculada Perez has been endorsed by the findings of pieces of Roman and Phoenician. " At the north end, near the sacred island and the city of Balbo, according to written sources, stood the sanctuary of Baal Hammon, Saturn to the Romans. Explains the archaeologist who "is a god that spreads east across the area of ​​Carthage from V century BC. Most researchers place it next to the Castillo de San Sebastian, supported by the archaeological documentation of the capital found proto-aeolic nearby. There is also news of the nineteenth century that speak of a concrete foundation that could be remains of the shrine in Roman times. "

Aim archaeologist: "It is also possible that some of the cylindrical wells can be seen in the castle rock platform wells were rituals of the sanctuary eroded by the sea."

Inmaculada Pérez suggests another possible location for this sanctuary in the space of two cathedrals Cadiz. In his opinion "the findings of Phoenician dependencies and other debris at the site are indicative of a possible survival in the place of those religions since ancient times."

It also notes the existence of a cult hero in the ratio of Cadiz sanctuaries: "This kind of cult dedicated to a hero has been described so far in Cadiz, but the classical sources do speak of the oracular shrine of Menestheus dedicated to a hero Greek, which would be located in Puerto de Santa Maria, perhaps in Doña Blanca ".

At the entrance to the Gulf Tartesso, very near where today stands the lighthouse and the port of Bonanza, another shrine to Astarte, La Algaida, and whose remains have been excavated-hosted the sailors on the road access to trade in agricultural resources of the Guadalquivir valley and minerals in Sierra Morena.

And on the eastern coast of Cadiz, three temples marked out routes. In the prehistoric site of Gorham's Cave in Gibraltar, have appeared over the Paleolithic levels, remains of a Phoenician Punic sanctuary VII-III centuries BC, with pottery, scarabs, amulets and other parts worship. There are also old news of findings on the Isle of Hera, the sanctuary that stood traditional written sources in Tarifa and whose research is necessary to deepen. Along with the headlights of Trafalgar are documented also blocks debris that could correspond to Promontory Juno referring to these texts and the study of which must also be developed.

Sancti Petri. (Cádiz)

23-06-11, 22:59

Reconstruction of the appearance of the bay of Cadiz at the time of the founding of the city from the survey data preserved, they are all following the Roman Republic.

Melkart statuette found in Sancti Petri - Archaeological Museum of Cádiz.

One of the most prestigious temples of antiquity was Heracleion of Gadir (now Cádiz), where he officiated the worship of Heracles, the Phoenician Melqart. Some even said that there were the ashes of the Greek demigod, beyond the columns are named. Historians of the time it equated in importance to the temple of Tyre, devoted to himself, or of Aphrodite in Paphos, Cyprus Erice, Sicily. In support of his fame is the supposed visit Hannibal himself before he gave his campaign against Rome.
The archaeological remains found help us to locate the location of this sacred place in the present island of Sancti Petri, which in antiquity was the eastern end of an island larger western end of which was the city of Gadir.
García y Bellido has reconstructed the look of the bay of Cadiz at the time of the founding of the city from the survey data preserved, they are all following the Roman Republic. Gadir was based on a narrow island parallel to the mainland, as explained Mela, whose testimony is very credible as he was from the area: "near the coast ... are many islands, little known and even without a name, but including , which should not be overlooked is that of Gades, which borders the strait and is separated from the mainland by a thin arm of the sea, like a river. On the side of the mainland is almost straight, the side facing the sea rises and is in the middle of the shore, a curve completed by two headlands, one of which is a flourishing city of the same name as the island and in the other, an Egyptian temple of Hercules. "
This description is consistent with the testimony of Thucydides, who explains that the Phoenicians used to locate their cities on islands and headlands and the statements of Strabo on the Semitic tradition in the orientation of Heracleion "lifted up the shrine in the eastern part of the island, and the city in the West "(Strabo, 3.5.3.)
Indeed, the rapid process of grounding occurred at the mouth of Guadalete in the center of the Bay of Cadiz has caused landslides cause an advance of about twenty km coastline from Matagorda Cartuja de Jerez up, leaving a large landfill within the bay that is surrounded by Roman piers. On the other hand, sea erosion has been very intense in front of the islands Cadiz, so that the sea could move several hundred feet above what was the site of the first population, separating the island of Sancti Petri now know the city of Cadiz.
The Phoenician temple
The Phoenicians spread the cult Melqart throughout the Mediterranean. We found in Greece (Eritrias and Delphi), Thasos, Cyprus and Malta. In its advance toward the west brought him to the mainland, where they decided to build a great temple in her honor. Of the historical evidence shows that it must have been a single building with an altar probably located in the open style of the prophets of Ba'al. It is characteristic of buildings and campus settings Phoenicians discovered. The Gadir should resemble Kition oldest temple in Cyprus dated around 800 BC A rectangular building, measuring 35 meters from east to west and 22 meters from north to south. The adyton stood west, one meter high above the level corresponding to the temple floor. The facade has a pair of pillars. Although we know little of the Phoenician religion, yes we have received coins from which we can know the characteristics of the Phoenician temples. Beside the altar, there was often a source for ablutions and a sacred grove, which would have resulted in their abstraction into a single tree, probably an olive tree, widespread in the area. Inside the building there were two pillars of brass. The capital appeared in Cadiz proto-aeolic probably belonged to one of them.
Sources insist that the deity worshiped in Heracleion Gadir was purely Semitic, but not give name. To avoid confusion they added the epithet "Egyptian". Martin Almagro has been hypothesized that Egypt must understand the god Reseph, originally was an Egyptian deity, although he was highly revered among the Phoenicians. The archaeological remains of three deities found in Sancti Petri, today visited the Archaeological Museum of Cádiz, consistent with this hypothesis.
In Herodotus, Polybius and the bilingual inscriptions found assimilation Melqart Heracles. Melqart is a solar god and marine, in Greco-Roman religion, completely lacks these attributes, however, clearly retains the divinity worshiped in Cadiz until time of Hadrian. The assimilation of Melqart Heracles made by the Greeks reveals his true nature is the son of the Great God (Zeus). It is possible that Heracleion also suffered a transformation, which would give the magnificence that describe the sources. Surely the altar to the Greek Heracles and the Twelve Labours doors dating from the time of the Punic Hellenized world. Despite the architectural change, the cult that officiated there remained Semitic, as attested by Dio Cassius, Arrian, Diodorus and Appian.
The cult
The Punic religion is profoundly conservative. Women were forbidden to step into the temple, and in all likelihood, human sacrifices were made. Cicero gives of the prohibition of such rites in Gadir by Caesar. Other aspects of the cult, known to Silius Italico, who visited the city, no doubt respond to its Semitic character: priestly garments of linen, incense offerings and perpetual sacred fire. The Latin writer adds that the priests had shaven heads and bare feet. Porfirio says it was customary to sprinkle the altar with blood daily, like in the Jewish religion with the worship of Heracles who has many similarities.
The end of Heracleion
The amount of wealth accumulated in the temple made him the target of looting. In 38 BCE Bogud king of Mauritania, attacked him to take his treasures. After the battle of Munda, Caesar did the same and Varro also plundered of its wealth. Surely worship in the Heracleion ceased in the fourth century AD by the provision of Theodosius in the banning pagan cults, but it seems that despite the ban, the memory was still very deeply rooted among the people of Cadiz , forcing the church to make an effort for the Christianization of the place. It is no coincidence that the apostle more impetuous, the most strength, the rock upon which Christ built His church, whatever it has been named today to the island where hundreds of years ago was revered demigod.

28-06-11, 23:08
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, sorry but nobody is interested in this.

spain prehistory is poor and vulgar... no comparison with greece, italy and specially peru or mexico.

28-06-11, 23:14

You're wrong, look at the visits this fantastic thread, read and silent before such a spectacular story.

17-07-11, 17:32
anthropomorphous phoenician sarcofagi of cadiz.


The anthropoid sarcofagi of Cadiz are the model only ones found up to the date in Spain, and in the whole Europe only some of them exist, in addition to these, in Sicily. The majority of the investigators think that the pieces from Cadiz are imports of the Oriental Mediterranean or of the south of Italy, which confirm the out-standing role of Gadir in the Phoenician world. Nevertheless, also there has defended itself the presence of a local workshop. In any case, it is clear that the persons that they were buried in this type of sarcofagi belonged to the leading class, although the trousseaus that they were possessing were very scarce. The proper container of the body was for yes only an element of prestige within reach of very few.



The find of the anthropoid masculine sarcofagus took place in a chance way, as consequence of the deforestations realized in the so-called place " Top of the Cow " of the city of Cadiz, in 1887. On March 10 there appeared the first two hipogeos of a series of twelve. One was containing a man's skeleton together with rests of weapon of iron and bones of carved animals, and other a woman's skeleton and some golden jewelry. On May 30 the third hipogeo appeared, the most important of all for containing the sarcofagus.


This one is composed of two marble pieces, box and lid. The lid represents a bearded man, dressed in tunic under whose rim they put the feet out, that supports in one of his hands a grenade worked in the lid, and in other one a garland of sheets or flowers, painted, which today does not survive already. Inside one was finding a skeleton, some fragments of wood and five nails of bronze, remains of the interior box.
The work of the stone indicates the work of a Greek or Phoenician artist much helenizado, good connoisseur of the skills of the big teachers of the classic art of the Vth century B.C..

Considering the circumstances of the find, and the absence of papers, it is impossible to reconstruct with detail the structure that was sheltering the sarcofagus.

The finds of graves in the place extended until August, 1892, but without producing any other result of the importance of the sarcofagus.



On Friday, the 26th of September of 1980 Ruiz de Alda communicated to himself to the Museum of Cadiz the find of a grave in a lot of the street, where a building was constructed. Considering the advanced of the hour and the proximity of the weekend, it was indicated that should cover with sand to proceed to his excavation from Saturday.

On Monday, the 29th, the personnel of the Museum met the surprise of which it was a question of an anthropoid sarcofagus, this time with a feminine figure worked in his lid.

The sarcofagus was protected by a case of vertical ashlars about the lid, which they had been worked internally following the anthropoid form, and was remaining covered by stones blocks of big size, hollowed to protect the covering. An excavator had collided with the grave, displacing the covering and cutting the lid at a height of the ankles.

In the lid of the sarcofagus there were indicated the physical features of a feminine figure. The head, in altorrelieve, corresponds to the features of a young woman brushed with three lines of ringlets in the shape of balls. The face has a serene and quiet expression. The eyes are big and of thick eyelids, the straight nose and the small mouth.

The neck remains indicated by a small depression that seems to imitate the top rim of the tunic. The garment is smooth, without creases or belt, the sleeves are not marked and it must be thought that all the decorative complements would be indicated by means of painting, which is not already observed. The only policromía that remains is that of the hair, of reddish color. The right hand is extended and opened, whereas the left side folds on an elongated alabaster.

In the excavation another object or constructive structure was not detected related to the sarcofagus. Touches did not exist of if a trench was opened with ramps to lower it, but the absence of any paramento for the containment of the sand was inviting to think that a wide space was opened up to approximately two meters deep under the natural level and that the sarcofagus was placed in the fund, they proceeding later to his revetment with the already prepared ashlars.

The decomposition of the human remains and of the covering with those who had prepared herself they formed a homogeneous layer of blackened ground, possibly for the penetration of some roots, which had approximately seven centimeters deep and in which the bones and some objects were controlling themselves. Only there were staying over this filling the top part of the skull and the external edge of the shinbones.

The disposition of the bones was indicating that the corpse had been placed by the stuck-up arms and the hands gathered on the pelvis, the left side on the right hand, and that it had bandaged him to him strongly so that the spinal column was sensitively double and that the patellae were staying in contact.

To the sides of the skull there were a few eyelashes of bronze that indicate the existence of a funeral mask; this mask would be a part of the case which form emptied at the bottom of the box. Four nails of bronze found along with the feet must correspond to another similar case that would cover this part. The rest of the corpse could be covered with pasteboards estucados and painted in the style of the Egyptian late sarcofagi.

The rests of textiles, from which to simple sight they were observed up to eight superposed layers, were inviting to think about a partial mummification by means of very tight bandages, better than in the only shroud.

The only objects of trousseau were pieces of very personal use, without material value. One treats as an escarabeo of calcedonia green and five small pendants of faience in the shape of ureus.