Treasure from El Carambolo
gold, 550 B.C.
The Tartessian period of Iberian history yielded a wealth of intricate gold jewelry, most of it influenced by Phoenician craftsmanship and symbolism. Of particular importance is the treasure from the village of El Carambolo, not far from Seville, where a clay jar was found to contain 21 pieces of 24-karat gold jewelry, weighing more than 6 pounds. Among the objects in the hoard was this perforated pectoral resembling an ox hide and this necklace with seven golden seals. The exquisite necklace was probably made by a Phoenician craftsman, perhaps in the Phoenician settlement of Gadir (modern Cádiz). Gold was abundant in southern Spain, as was silver, lead and tin, and it was the stories of Iberia’s metallic riches that lured the Phoenicians (and later the Greeks) across the Mediterranean to Spain beginning around 1100 B.C.