Cabezo del Plomo

Late 4th Millennium - Mid-Third Millenium B.C.

Archaeological sites

The Cabezo del Plomo is one of the main settlements of the Neolithic – late Calcolithic age in the peninsula.


It is a fortified town located on a plateau at the foothills of the Sierra de Moreras. In the hill’s higher section the walls and circular cabins can be seen, while in the lower area the remains of a tholos tomb can be found, as an evidence of the megaliths in the area. Archaeological excavations have been performed by the University of Murcia Archaeology Department, directed by Ms. Ana María Muñoz Amilibia during different campaigns, from 1979 to
1985. The site has been declared a Site of Cultural Interest.

The town’s age can be identified between the end of the 4th millennium to the mid-third millennium B.C. The inhabited part of a 3,200 m2 extension is surrounded by a wall in the town’s most vulnerable areas, in the west and south.

The wall has been constructed using a technique which involves raising two stone courses filled with smaller rocks. To reinforce the line of defense, the wall was staked by attached defensive beams. The housing is found inside the premises, as circular-shaped homes with rock bases; the roofing would have been made with plant material.

Among the materials located in the archaeological excavations, the rock elements for farm work and grain processing have important significance; remains of animal domestication and arrow points for hunting have also been found. This all seems to indicate that the population’s lives were modeled after farming and animal raising, although they also must have practiced hunting and harvesting from nearby areas, including the coast.

The Cabezo del Plomo tholos is a funerary monument located outside the walls, at the foot of the populated area, and is the only lasting part of what would have been the necropolis. Built around the mid-4th millennium B.C., it is a trapezoidal chamber, delimited by ortostatos (vertical stones used in its construction) and surrounded by a circular structure. The entire outer part adopts a burial mound shape. It has no entrance corridor and the covering would have consisted of a false dome made of planked stones. The monument was created as an imitation of the circular homes or huts, an aspect which converts these monuments into some sort of “second home”. Some authors consider an eastern Influence in the great similarity between these and the tholoi on the other end of the Mediterranean, near the Aegean Sea. They represent a system of collective burials which were successively built inside the funeral chamber. In the ritual, the cadavers were joined with their objects, deposited next to the deceased with the intention of them accompanying their soul to the next life. Some of the objects were functional, which the deceased would have used daily, while others served a more magical purpose.

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