Prehistory ENG

Natural environment and territory in prehistory

The geographical unit that constitutes the southern valley of Medio Vinalopó extends towards northwest and southeast direction, occupying a wide area of ​​the plain, delimited by the Serreta Llarga, the Sierra del Cid and the Sierra de las Águilas. Busy with people and goods since prehistoric times, it became a crossroads, linking the highlands of the plateau with the coast, and with the geographical regions of the interior of Alicante and Murcia.

The Vinalopó River, while flowing through this valley, created several fluvial terraces surrounded by wide flat spaces filled with sediment deposits from the Quaternary Era. These environmental characteristics allowed the development of soils suitable for cultivation, which, irrigated by the river, favoured the occupancy of communities with an agricultural economy from Prehistory to the present day. Wildlife in the area, proves the survival of the Mediterranean forest; deer, roe deer and even aurochs, and suggest a more humid and temperate environment, with extensive pine, holm oak and juniper forests.

The Bronze Age (2,200-1,100 BC, approx.) witnessed a change in the occupancy of the territory, materialised in settlements on hills or topographic elevations and in the generalisation of Stone architecture in order to have better visual control over the geographical area, as well as to achieve a greater degree of territorial stability. During this period, there were changes in the social organisation of the communities, turning into a more extensive hierarchy due to the appearance of ruling classes, enriched by commercial practice. There was an significant demographic growth owing to the increase in agricultural and livestock resources, originating intergroup tensions and conflicts.

Because of its geographical position, the Vinalopó basin will be a space for interaction between the cultural focus of the Argar (Granada, Almeria and Murcia) and the so-called archaeological culture of the Valencian Bronze (north of Alicante, Valencia and Castellón).

In the current territory of Monforte, there are three sites from the Bronze Age: El Azud, La Loma Redonda and La Pedrera or Portichol, with the Loma Redonda being the one that has provided more data.