Discovered an Iberian site in the vineyards of Heredad Segura Viudas

May 8, 2017

Twelve months of archaeological work have discovered an Iberian site in the vineyards of Segura Viudas’ winery, in the location of Torrelavit. There were found hundreds of ceramic pieces from this period, that are dated between the 4th and 3rd centuries before Christ. Some of these pieces are parts of a jar, amphoras and bowls. Throughout the research it was identified material from different historical periods: contemporary, modern, medieval and ancient. Surprisingly, the Archeologists found an exceptional number of ceramic pieces from the Iberian period.

An Iberian rural settlement in the winery

Among the recovered pieces, there are four special ones belonging to a deep bowl, two jars and an amphora. This type of containers allows Archaeologists to admit that the Iberian site was a rural settlement from the Iberian Cosetania period of the 4th and 3rd centuries Before Christ (BF). These three elements are directly related to the cultivation, storage and consumption of cereals and wine in the bank of the river Bitlles, where Heredad Segura Viudas is located. That was also a strategic location for commerce in the Iberian period, as the river acted as a natural path between the urban areas of Sant Pere de Riudebitlles and Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, and very much close to Via Heraclea, where the Romans built Via Augusta.

Pillars of the Iberian society

In the base of the social structure of the Iberians there were found the rural settlements -as the site found in Segura Viudas-, which supplied the entire territory with cereals, meat and wine. These products would then be distributed from distribution centers, such as the site in Font de la Canya in Avinyonet del Penedès, to Banyeres del Penedès or Sitges, the main cities and ports of Catalunya of the time. The Iberian society of Cosetania was based on agriculture and livestock, but also on trade. The different sites discovered in Penedès show that it was a complex and highly stratified society. 

Wine in Penedes 2500 years ago

The discovery of an Iberian amphora is a very relevant finding. It proves the millennial tradition of vine growing and wine consumption in these lands and allows to draw a continuous line between the Iberian Cosetania and the wines and sparkling wines of Segura Viudas. Vine growing and wine consumption were two of the most relevant innovations of the Iron Age. Wine and grapes arrived in the Iberian Peninsula thanks to the Phoenicians, but the local cultivation would be spread a few centuries later, about 2400 years ago, with the Greeks. The rural settlement found in the Heredad would be framed precisely at this second stage. 

The vineyard, as it is a crop of deferred yield (vine needs attention for some years before starting to produce its fruits), requires the population to be settled permanently in a territory. It can be confirmed that it’s around that time in the 4th Century BC, thanks to the agricultural work of the Iberian population, that the landscape of Penedès is delimited and configured as we know it today. At the same time, the consumption of wine meant changes in the social relations. Initially, it was a very precious product, pretty hard to obtain; therefore, it became a symbol of power and would be frequently used as a bargaining chip in commercial transactions. Later in time, wine became popular and being produced locally in rural settlements, it became part of social events and played a key role in religious celebrations and ceremonies, as well as in commercial agreements.

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