Temple of Melkart in Sancti Petri
Presence of Phoenicians in peninsular culture has been important not only in economic fields, because of being the first people using an “international” alphabet, but also because of their industrial and human discoverings: urbanism, alphabet, oriental religion, new crafts in metallurgy and pottery.
Phoenician land was placed in actual Lebanon and was composed by state-cities. The most outstanding were Biblos, Beritos, Sidon and Tyre. Its expansion was due to the search of merchandises to trade with -glass, purple materials, metals and manufactured goods-. Phoenicians settled in Sicily, north of Africa, and Iberian Peninsula.
Scholars set a precolonization from 12th century to 8th b.C. Then Phoenicians lived their higher prosperity.
About year 1.100 b.C., Phoenician city of Tyre founded Gadir -Cadiz- and later, at 814 b.C. Carthage. Therefore Carthaginians come from Phoenician culture and tradition. They took little by little the control of the whole occidental Phoenician area between 6th and 3rd Centuries b.C.
Two areas can be clearly stablished: the western, dependant on Cadiz -“Gadir” means walled city- and the eastern one, with a capital where nowadays Granada and Malaga are set. There they founded Malaca -Malaga-, Sexi -Almunecar- and Abdera -Adra-.
Capitel fenicio de Gadir
Phoenician capital from Gadir

Architectural remains are scarce, since later civilizations set their constructions over Phoenician ones. Actually we do not know very much about the Phoenician Gadir.
  • Remains in Cadiz –Gadir-. Foundation of this Phoenician city are about year 1.100 b. C. -Strabo and Veleius Paterculus-. Nowadays there are not many architectural remains: we just know that they should be under the actual city of Cadiz. Its situation was due to the proximity to gold and silver mines, metals that Phoenicians used in his active trade with Orient.
    Most outstanding remains are burial chambers built with big blocks lately found in shipyards, in wich the best Phoenician sarcophagi were found -15th century b.C.-.
    We should point out to the ruins of Temple of Melkart, placed in the isle of Sancti Petri and the remains of the Phoenician channel.
  • Deposit of Torre de Dona Blanca, in Puerto de Santa Maria, Cadiz. BASIC INFORMATION
  • Deposit of Morro de Mezquitilla, in Algarrobo, Malaga. Phoenician deposit of 8th Century b. C. Researchs discovered a great number of Phoenician featured habitations -adobe walls with red renderings, floors of clay and rectangular plan- in different phases of construction.
  • Deposit of Chorreras, in Algarrobo, Malaga. Close to the Morro de Mezquitilla, it was occupied at the beginning of 8th Century b.C. Its houses show adobe walls with outer red renderings and white or yellow at the inner. They have a rectangular plan and are limited by streets or alleys. Many of them got a furnace probably in order to fuse metals or builting pottery. Its perimeter was walled.
Planta almacén de Toscanos
Warehouse of Toscanos

  • Deposit of Toscanos, in Velez-Malaga, Malaga. It is a Phoenician settlement from 8th Century b.C. It stands on a hill close to river Velez.
    The first step in constructing was placing houses pointed towards a street. Result was a street and many houses in both sides of it. Houses got a rectangular plan, founded on stone, walled with adobe and a vegetable cover painted in red. Village was surrounded by a wall and a ditch. Nowadays many houses, a two-floor warehouse and a section of a port have been explored.
    It was left at 4th Century b.C.
  • Village of Sant Jaume-Mas d’en Serra in Alcanar, Tarragona), placed on the top of a tableland, is fortified. It can be dated between the end of 7th Century and 6th Century b.C. Houses are built with worked middle size stones joined with a stuff of cement, sand and wedges. They got clay renderings and were covered with lime.

Necropolises associated to these cities are also an important architectural sample of Phoenician world. The most outstandings are:
Tumba de Trayamar
Tomb of Trayamar
  • Necropolis of Toscani, in Velez-Malaga, Malaga. It shows many and varied kinds of burial. The most frequent is a ditch with a flat gravestone.
  • Necropolis of Trayamar in Algarrobo, Malaga. At least five tombs of great size were constructed. Only one came to us in a good state. It is formed by a little corridor with an inclined way in –dromos-, and a burial chamber –hypogea– constructed with blocks of stone. This funerary group is probably the most important of Phoenician culture in Mediterranean Occident. It is associated to Morro de Mezquitilla village from about 7th Century b.C. Provincial Archaeological Museum in Malaga keeps a reconstruction of this tomb.
  • Necropolis of Almunecar, in Malaga.- It includes more than 20 circular-plan graves. Most of them shows one or two niches at one side.
We should write a special chapter to deal with Phoenician colonization of Ibiza isle, since some of its deposits in Isla Plana, La caleta and Puig des Molins let us think that the city –Eivissa– already existed before Cartaginian foundation –Ebusus-.
  • Necropolis of Puig des Molins in Ibiza. It was associated to the Phoenician city. It was founded in 6th Century b.C. and was used as a graveyard until 5th Century under Roman domination. It is a great necropolis with more than 3.000 burials in hypogea.

Later colonization of Carthaginians, with a Phoenician origin, can also be seen as a conquest, because -though there were economic and commercial purposes in it- it was taken in a military way. Cities were both military centers and commercial ports for Mediterranean control. In this way they founded Cartagena -Carthago Nova- and colonized old Ibiza -Eivissa-.
An allusion to historical conquest of Sagunto -a city allied with Rome- by Hannibal in 218 b.C must be done. It provoked the Second Punic War. Presence of Carthaginians was a fact between 6th Century b.C., until their defeat in Second Punic War agaisnt Romans in 3rd Century b.C.
We can stand out as archeological remains from this age:
  • City of Qart-Hadasch or Carthago Nova, in Cartagena, Murcia. BASIC INFORMATION
  • Baria, in Villaricos, Almeria. Remains come both from the village and from necropolis. The situation of this population can be probably explained by their proximity to mines and to traditional industry of pickling. There are also prior remains from Phoenicians and later ones from Romans.
    Necropolis shows different ways of burial: inhumation or cremation.
    Inhumations are made in three ways: moulding tombstones, building funeral chambers and, also, in sarcophagi. In order to make cremations, rectangular ditches were excavated: urnes were placed in one side; on the other, their household furnishing.