Point 1. The Cerretanian defensive system at Castellot

Point 1. The Cerretanian defensive system at Castellot

The defensive system of the settlement was laid out at the time when the Cerretanian oppidum was built, in the first half of the 4th century BC. The fortification used different structures including the wall, ditch and scarp wall, but also the abrupt relief that exists on three sides of the site. All these defensive features, also present in most Iberian oppida, served not only for defence and to mark the boundaries of the settlement, but also played a certain symbolic role, displaying its prestige in relation to other communities and settlements of lesser size and importance. This symbolism also involved the presence of some ritual or ornamental features placed outside the walls, as shown by the footing of a column sited a few metres from the tower.

The wall, slightly arched at the ends, was made of large blocks of stone at the base and other smaller ones above, all held together with mud. Between 1.5 and 1.7 metres thick, nearly 100 metres long and at least 4-5 metres high, it closed off the southern end of the settlement, the most easily accessible. This wall was complemented by a square tower located at the eastern end, protecting the entrance to the settlement. There was probably a walkway at the top of the wall to allow rapid access to the whole of it.

The ditch, between 8 and 10 metres wide and at least 2 metres deep, had straight sides in a V shape, and was located just in front of the wall, crossing the flat area at right angles. The inner side was covered by the scarp, a retaining wall that would make the difference in height look bigger. This structure might be up to a metre high. At the southern side, with gentler, more even slopes, there was very probably a movable bridge over the ditch to provide a way into the settlement, alongside the wall.

Except for the major alterations to the middle part of the wall in the mid 2nd century BC, this defensive system remained unchanged until the settlement was abandoned, in the third quarter of the 1st century BC, after which the constructions were demolished, filling in the ditch on the outside.

Images: Ground plan of the Cerretanian site. Flat area in the east marked in red

Illustration in full colour: Axonometric view of the different defensive features of the site in Cerretanian times