The central Portugal late Bronze Age: contribution to a study on regional ethnogenesis

  • João Carlos Senna-Martinez
Keywords: Lusitanian Ethnogenesis, Central Portugal, Late Bronze Age


We discuss the ethnogenesis of the Central Portugal Late Bronze Age populations arguing that theycorrelate well with the later descriptions of the Lusitanians.The economic result of the local agricultural produce, pastoralism and wild fruits collecting was notenough by itself to support an economic growth of these societies that was capable to allow more than asmall amount of wealth concentration. Accordingly, we think that social elite's genesis and developmentin the local Late Bronze Age Groups is based on a «wealth finance» system for which the control ofmetal's production and circulation provides the means.Also matrimonial exchanges could well be behind a network of elite alliances thus accounting for thequick diffusion of metallurgical technologies and models and their local reproduction.Peripheral to the expansion of the Mediterranean network of commerce in the LX/VIII centuries BC, theinterior areas of this system are very vulnerable to any change in the metal commerce networks. Thiswill determine their demise during the VI century BC as a result of the temporary collapse of theMediterranean-Atlantic commerce network. The exception is the Atlantic Estremadura where the morediversified economy and the cosmopolitanism of its incipient urbes will allow a steady developmentduring the Iron Age.So both the characterisation of the local Late Bronze Age Groups and their subsequent evolutioncorrespond well with the description by the classic authors of the Lusitanians and the «two Lusitanias»allowing us to argue that their ethnogenesis goes back at least to the Late Bronze Age.


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How to Cite
Senna-Martinez, J. C. (1999). The central Portugal late Bronze Age: contribution to a study on regional ethnogenesis. Estudos Do Quaternário / Quaternary Studies, (2), 41-50.