Theories about existence of this culture are different and uncertain: maybe a natural evolution of native tribes, maybe an indoeuropean people, maybe a single colonial invasion.
To tell the truth, archaeological remains are important enough to set without mistake the location and development of this culture in Peninsule. It was extended from Huelva area until low Guadalquivir, with inner points in Badajoz and Portugal.
All these remains have been spoiled or, in many cases, used again by later cultures, specially by Turdetanians: the Iberians who lived by the same area.
1º.- Geometric period (1200 to 750 b.C.)
There are few architectural remains. Constructions of villages by their first inhabitants, in the age of Bronze, share features common to other cultures: they are made in elevated and strategic points. Its location is marked by the distance to trade centers. Nevertheless, walls were built later, ca. 8th Century b.C. and they are all formed by two worked stone walls stuffed with debris and sand. Some of them are endowed with watchtowers.
Constructions in villages were single and got no urban design. Houses usually had a circular plan with stone plinths, walls of mortar, stone, adobe and wooden-and-trash covers.
This is also the age of Stellae, burial buldings or boundary stones with information about the land on carved stones. They are rectangular. Engravings usually appear on the top of them and are of varied subjects: shields, swords, carts, wheels, even human figures.
Later, this kind of habitation evolutioned to houses of rectangular plan with Phoenician features with an urbanistic design. Building houses remains the same: stone plinths, walls of adobe and wooden-and-trash covers. Also walls changed and counterforts did appear.
2º.- Oriental period (750-550 b.C.)
Singular buildings were constructed: palaces, temples, trade centers...
First ones were single burials of ashes with household furnishings marked by a tumulus. Necropolis of "Alcantarilla" and "Cruz del Negro" in Carmona can be pointed out.
Later, funeral chambers with a rectangular plan and masonry construction, also covered by a tumulus. Chamber of la "Setecilla" is a good instance.
Lastly, divided tombs and walls of ashlar, as "La Joya", in Huelva.
Tartessians can be identified because of their crafts of pottery and orfebrery, from 750 to 550 b.C., in Iron Age. They evolutioned as they found a new technique based in Phoenician and Greeks ideas. Treasures of the Carambolo and the Aliseda are outstanding.
From an architectural point of view, necropolis were a symbol of social level for lower and upper classes. They showed their difference through the kind of household furnishings kept in each necropolis.
Tartessian epigraphy is probably the first one in Peninsula. Scholars think it was influenced by Phoenician civilization.
Fall of this culture was probably due to a crisis in Phoenician trade. Phoenicans were, since year 550 b.C., their most important customers since they were interested in buying metals. Then Tartessians began to trade with Greeks, but presence and conquests of Carthaginians made navigations through Mediterranean sea difficult and so commerce in it.