History - Prehistory

Prehistory in Andalucia - Up to 3rd century BC

Andalucia, with its extensive coast and proximity to another continent - Africa, just across the Strats of Gibraltar - was often one of the first areas to be explored and settled by new tribes. For this reason, the region is rich with archaeological remains going back millennia, some better preserved and explained than others. Many towns - even small ones - have their own museums displaying the artefacts which were uncovered in the vicinity, whether from tombs, caves, dolmens or other structures or dwelling places.

Historians disagree, by many millennia, on dates for ancient civilizations in Spain, especially in the melting-pot, multi-cultural first century BC, but this is broadly the early history of the region. Pre-history is defined as before the existence of writing systems to record events.

50,000-25,000 BC

Neanderthal man lived in caves on the Rock of Gibraltar.

23,000 BC

Neolithic (Stone Age) permanent settlements. From this era, you can see paintings in caves of Pileta and Nerja; settlements in Guadix caves.

8,000-4,000 BC

North African tribes arrive, later known as Iberians.

By the end of the Neolithic Period, dwellings are circular huts rather than caves, which are now used as burial chambers

3000 BC

Chalcolithic (Copper Age) dolmens of Valencina de la Concepcion near Sevilla - elaborate jewellery and carved ornaments.

2700 BC

Copper Age settlement in Los Millares, Almeria.

2,500 BC

Evidence of habitation in the Cueva de la Mena near Antequera; also the Cuevas de Viera and Menga. The Menga has a vast chamber carved with symbols and human figures, while the Viera is smaller.

1,100 BC

Late Bronze Age - Cadiz founded by Phoenicians (from Lebanon). You can see many artefacts dating from this period at the Archaeology Museums of - links to Malaga, Cadiz and Huelva.

1000-500 BC

Legendary kingdom of Tartessus, in Guadalquivir basin. You can see the Egyptian-influenced Tesoro de Carambolo, intricately-detailed gold jewellery found near Seville dating from 600BC, in the city's Archaeology Museum. Square buildings now used.

800 BC

Celtic tribes move down to Spain from northern Europe, merging with the Iberian culture.

700 BC

Phoenicia becomes part of the Persian Empire; Greeks sail across Mediterranean to southern Spain, influencing Celto-Iberians.

600-500 BC

Carthaginians (from North Africa) arrive in southern Spain, monopolizing western Mediterranean trading routes; they destroy Tartessus.


The Carthaginian Empire establishes a base in Spain


Next: Romain in Andalucia