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The right behaviour in time of crisis.
Learning from the Tartessos of Cancho Roano
In times of economic crisis it should be better to carry out less commerce and more agriculture. This lesson can be learnt from the Tartessos, who lived in Extremadura thousands of years ago. They have given to posterity an entire town and significant insights into the right behaviour in times of crisis.
Cancho Roana owes its existence to a serious economic crisis that occurred 2,500 years ago in the Mediterranean. The empire of the Tartessos spread out in the south of the Iberian Peninsula from roughly 1000 BC. According to the Greek historian Heredotus, the capital of the empire by the Guadalquivir must have been immensely beautiful and majestic. Arganthonius, the famous king of the clan, was in want of nothing in order to reign for over 100 years. The legendary king was so immensely wealthy that he, so runs the legend, used to make donations for the construction of town fortifications for allied clans.

The Tartessos owed their wealth to commerce with people of the Mediterranean. The merchants came by ship from Egypt, from the island Cyprus, from Carthage and Sicily to Guadalquivir. The Tartessos sold ore in great quantities from the mines of the Iberian Peninsula, whose southern part was governed by them. One day a crisis shook the ore trade. No-one knows the reasons still today, except that the Tartessos moved from the south to the north within a few decades. From then on, they focussed their economic activities on agriculture. They built a new city as an administrative centre in the middle of their new empire.

Cancho Roano is located in the vicinity of the small town Zalamea de la Serena, which can easily be reached from Zafra. It takes only about one hour from Zafra to the excavation sites. Cancho Roano used to serve not only as a control centre for surrounding agricultural enterprises, but also as a sacrificial altar. Researchers believe that a nobleman must have ruled Cancho Roano as a high priest because of the basic religious commodities that have been found there. Archaeologists have found out that the Tartessos also suffered crises there. This could be recognised because the town was rebuilt several times. Cancho Roana actually consists of three different cities. The second city was built upon the first one, and the third upon the second one.

The archaeological excavation works have been going on since 1978. Thanks to the findings it has gradually become possible to trace back to the origins of Cancho Roano’s history and development. The discovering of amphorae for the conservation of wine, honey and cereals is evidence that the Tartessos used to live mainly from the production of agricultural products. Furthermore, amber and ivory were also found, which leads us to assume that commerce was still going on. An information centre has recently been providing information about the fascinating culture of the Tartessos. Visitors there also get to know how the archaeologists are able to deduce crisis periods and prosperous times from the architectural structures of a town. The information is presented so it can be easily understood even without background knowledge. The findings of jewellery, kitchen utensils and effigies scarified in glass panels represent the core of the excavation. The best known object from Cancho Roano is kept in the archaeological museum in Badajoz: it is a 22 centimetre brazen horse that is so beautifully depicted that you will forget how old it is.
Things to do before you travel to Spain
Extremadura’s Highlights| Art, Culture and popular Feats | Need a little bit Nature' | Extremadura’s Past | Extremadura, a country of savourers
A gift from the Gods The ancient Roman world in Extremadura | DThe vultures of Salto del Gitano. Natural and National Parks in Extremadura | Slowing down one’s Life The Felicity of Pilgrimage on the Silver Way through Extremadura | Guadiana’s good Wines Extremadura’s Wines and Gastronomy | What happens in Merida and Caceres, stays in Merida and Caceres Feasts and Festivals in Extremadura | Speaking like an Extremenian Spanish Courses in Extremadura | Putting near an Oak Tree Golf Courses and Wellness Offers in Extremadura | Over Hill and Dale. Hiking and Cycling in Extremadura | Flying through the air Ornithology in Extremadura | On the Fishing Path Angling in Extremadura | Canoeing in the town Rivers, Extremadura’s living arms | Palaces and pilgrim hostels Accommodation facilities in Extremadura | Farmers and Saints Religious tradition in Extremadura | Pork deluxe. The Iberian Pork of Extremadura | Do you know a better place to visit' Caceres has applied to be Europe’s Capital of Culture. | More than a word Sustainability and sustainable policy in Extremadura | The same sun is shining over all of us The odd fate of the small village Granadilla | They just call it “the line” Historical facts about the borderland between Spain and Portugal | Wandering through the Passage of Life The last Way of Emperor Charles V | The true life of the sword bearers Orders of knights in Extremadura | Jewish heritage must be preserved: Spanish Inquisition and its impact in Extremadura | The right behaviour in time of crisis. Learning from the Tartessos of Cancho Roano | Blossomy Treasures. Orchids in Extremadura. | The Wonder of Almendralejo Travelling Extremadura along the “wine trail” | Still moving Cheese and Sheep from Extremadura | Facing the enemies Castle complexes in Extremadura | The Holy Place of GuadalupeThe Monastery of Guadalupe and the Miraculous Image of the Virgin Mary | The short Trial between Jesus and Pilate Museums in Extremadura | Straightforward across the steppe Motorbiking in Extremadura | Exhibition instead of Defence Extremadura’s Congress Centres in Badajoz and Merida Exploring Extremadura, Spain
Website by Extremadura’s tourist board (Junta de Extremadura)