Life and death of the Bronze Age 

Tossal de Mortórum stands on a large flat coastline that covers Ribera de Cabanes, Torreblanca and Oropesa.

The site has two main points of interest: The village occupied between 1950 and 550 BC. and the funerary tomb dated between 1740 and 1140 BC.

The visit to this site, whose access requires a short and beautiful climb up a path to the hill, will make us better understand its strategic location, placing us in the life of a small, well-preserved village, in which we can visit a number of spaces and contemplate the funerary mound, unique in the whole area for its construction.

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Archaeological documentation

The site of Tossal de Mortórum consists of two locations, the site and the funerary mound. The village was occupied since the Bronze Age, at which time the inhabitants built and used the funerary mound. Although today we visit the remains of the Iron Age period, there are still vestiges of occupation structures from the Bronze Age.

The village

After ascending the road that gives access to the top of the hill, the first thing that we find is a small village. The excavations have allowed us to know that the place was already inhabited 4000 years ago and has had several phases of occupation that ended in the middle of the 6th century BC.

The location of the village has a natural defense system because of the steepness of the land on which it sits. From this location, it is possible to accede visually to a wide strip of territory. Finally, its natural environment, scarcely 5 kilometers from the coast, and the strip of the coastal mountain range to which it belongs, suggests that they had resources enough for survival.

The Bronze Age

The site was occupied for the first time in the Bronze Age, only during a short period. Only some vestiges of constructions of this period have been excavated. This phase of occupation ended with the abandonment of the settlement, probably due to a fire.

In the late Bronze Age the place was again inhabited. This time the village was configured by building on terraces that took advantage of the irregularities of the terrain. Next to its buildings and in the less steep side was erected a defensive wall seated on the rock and constructed of great blocks of unpolished limestone locked in dry. From this stage have been recovered handmade ceramics, some medium-sized, and service vessels with incised or cord decorations. Together with the analysis of coal scrap, these findings have allowed a more accurate dating of this phase.

The Iron Age

The last phase of occupation in the Iron Age configures the village with a clearer structure. We can detect three streets around which are distributed thirteen buildings of rectangular form grouped in four blocks. The construction technique is simple, with flat but unworked stone blocks and a characteristic yellow mortar. Larger stone blocks were used for the construction of hearths and ovens as well as for the construction of ceilings. Its inhabitants differentiated storage areas from housing areas. The village was defended by a wall and apparently by a tower. It is assumed that mining was one main activities of the village.

Concerning their way of life, we know about their agricultural and livestock activities and about the working tools manufacture. Ceramics of tableware and storage have also been found. These ceramics are mainly handmade but, in keeping with the times, there are relevant pieces made using a potter’s wheel, as well as Phoenician imported ceramics.

The site has also provided several iron and bronze objects from this period, as well as some small iron knives and various bronze ornaments.

Through these findings it can be deduced that the settlement had a relatively short period of operation, between 50 and 100 years, an aspect that is consistent with the observed construction and use characteristics. No structural remodeling that could be interpreted as space reorganization or repair by deterioration has been detected.

This last phase of occupation ended with the abandonment of the village due to a fire, as it happened in the late bronze period.


The tumulus

This funerary tomb was used to bury the inhabitants of Mortórum during the Bronze Age, ie throughout the second millennium BC.

Discovered in 2006, it is a large funerary structure, formed by a central space or sepulchral chamber, delimited by large slabs in vertical, and supported by a more or less quadrangular structure built with large blocks of stone.

Although the tomb had long been plundered, the excavations have enabled us to recover archaeological remains of 5 individuals, although they could be enough more.

The tomb of Mortórum is particularly interesting because it represents a type of burial typical of other peninsular areas of megalithic tradition. At that time in Castellón and its bordering area the individual burial was more customary, generally in small caves. We can also find burials under houses or in graves.

This would consist of a simple chamber burial that did not belong to any tomb complex and was probably be reused over time during the Bronze Age settlement. The tumulus is located about only 250 meters from the village, which is very rare.

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