Saltar apartados
  • UA
  • University News
  • University of Alicante researchers, Guar..ter finding one which was well preserved

University of Alicante researchers, Guardamar Archaeological Museum and University of Murcia manage to recreate the use of a Phoenician metallurgy workshop after finding one which was well preserved

It has been recently known in detail that the workshop was intended for silver metallurgy.

The discovery has made it possible to identify the Phoenician commercial circuit of the Hispanic south-east mainly aimed at trading silver



Images provided by Fernando Prados Martínez


Alicante, 24 January 2018

University of Alicante researchers, University of Murcia and Guardamar del Segura Archaeological Museum (Alicante) have just made public an unusual finding. A Phoenician metallurgical workshop was discovered during archaeological excavations carried out between 2015 and 2017 at Cabezo Pequeño del Estaño (CPE) in Guardamar del Segura (Alicante). The excavation works are part of the Modular Project Iberian Penisula’s Mediterranean Coast: Phoenician-Punic Architecture carried out by UA research group in Archaeology and Historical Heritage. According to Fernando Prados Martínez, UA researcher and member of the UA University Institute for Archaeology and Heritage Research (INAPH), the real breakthrough lies in the fact that never before has a complete workshop been excavated.

Although the silver work carried out by the Phoenicians is known, never before had a complete workshop been excavated. This workshop preserves its original architecture, a building with a circular floor plan, and all the furniture, which is made up by a furnace, a workbench, forging and foundry tools, and the remains of a mineral-silver-bearing galena from which the silver was extracted Both the furniture and objects found in the archaeological excavation have enabled researchers to restore its main functionality, that is, the metallurgy of silver. The identification of this activity reveals the reputation of both the building itself and the artisans who used it throughout the seventh century BC.

The findings of the study have just been reported in a scientific article on the Phoenician Metallurgy in the Southeast Iberia: El Cabezo Pequeño del Estaño workshop in Guardarmar del Segura (Alicante), published in late December 2018 in the Complutense University of Madrid journal Complutum. The authors are UA researcher Fernando Prados Martínez (as first author); Antonio García Menárguez, cultural heritage curator and director of the Guardamar Archaeological Museum (MAG); and Helena Jiménez Vialás, from the UMU Department of Prehistory, Archaeology, Ancient History, Medieval History and Historiographical Techniques and Sciences, and from the Near East and Late Antiquity Studies Centre.

The study is the result of the research project developed since 2014 in El Cabezo Pequeño del Estaño archaeological site. The recent archaeological studies made on El Cabezo Pequeño del Estaño (CPE) in Guardamar del Segura have allowed researchers to rescue this site to further research into Phoenicians. Despite its partial preservation, due to the destruction of an illegal quarry for extracting aggregate minerals suffered in 1988, it is still a settlement that can offer information of significant relevance on the first Phoenician impact in the peninsular east that, according to data, could have taken place since the first decades of the 8th century BC.

As suggested by the data retrieved, Fernando Prados states that the workshop was in use approximately between 700 and 650 B.C., a period that corresponds to the second phase of the Phoenician settlement founded around 780 B.C. and partially destroyed by an earthquake around 730. Dates have been retrieved through the Carbon-14 (C14) technique made on seeds, and the studies of metals have been carried out at the UA Research Technical Services (SSTTI). The archaeologist explained in detail the origin of the minerals, specifying that they arrived by boat from the mountains of Almeria and Murcia. Ingots were produced at El Cabezo Pequeño del Estaño site that were afterwards exported from here throughout the Mediterranean to the Near East. Thanks to this discovery, we can identify and the Phoenician commercial circuit of the Hispanic Southeast, used mainly for silver trading and enhance the relevance of this unique site.

The discovery has been recently presented at international conference, the 10th International Conference on Phoenician and Punic Studies, held in Mérida (Badajoz) in October 2018.

A monographic exhibition devoted to this archaeological site is planned for spring 2019 at the Guardamar Archaeological Museum. Later in the summer, taken over from INAPH and sponsored by Guardamar Town Council, Fernando Prados Martínez and Antonio García Menargues, directors of the excavation, will carry on with the exhibition. Students and academic staff members from both UMU and UA participate in the work.



Prados Martínez, F.; García Menárguez, A.; Jiménez Vialás, H. (2018): Metalurgia fenicia en el sureste ibérico: el taller del Cabezo Pequeño del Estaño (Guardamar, Alicante) Complutum, 29(1): pp- 79-94.







University News

Universidad de Alicante
Carretera de San Vicente del Raspeig s/n
03690 San Vicente del Raspeig
Alicante (Spain)

Tel: (+34) 96 590 3400

Fax: (+34) 96 590 3464

For further information:, and for enquiries on this web server:

Carretera San Vicente del Raspeig s/n - 03690 San Vicente del Raspeig - Alicante - Tel. 96 590 3400 - Fax 96 590 3464