The Prehistoric Itinerary
This itinerary enables you to know some of the most important archaeological remains found in Extremadura, which belonged to people and cultures from the Palaeolithic Period to the Roman time.
The geographic location of the Extremaduran region
has made it an area of constant settlements of people from all
cultures who have lived at different periods in the Iberian Peninsula.
This situation of constant settlements lasted from the Lower Palaeolithic period until the arrival of Roman troops and colonists. As a result of it, nowadays it is possible to see “in situ” many artistic and architectonic examples with an undoubted historic value and heritage; some other examples have been brought to the showcases of the Extremaduran Museums, or other national or international Museums.
Our Prehistoric itinerary goes from south to north and from east to west, we will stop off in those monuments or archaeological sites which must be visited and as we pass by, we will make reference to important finds which can be seen just in the same place where they are preserved and exhibited.
We embark upon our itinerary from the south, in
the town called Jerez de los Caballeros, and in its environs we
find the famous “Dolmen de la Granja de Toriñelo”,
a National Monument, its funeral furnishing is interesting as
well as the paintings that appear in its interior.
Some of the finds discovered in this region are exhibited in the Provincial Museum of Archaeology in Badajoz, “el Vaso de Nertobriga” (The Beaker of Nertobriga) ( Fregenal de la Sierra), 4th century BC, “el Tesoro de Segura de León” (The Treasure from Segura de León) , “el Guerrero de Medina de las Torres” (The Warrior from Medina de las Torres) and “ el Tesoro de Bodonal de la Sierra” (The Treasure from Bodonal de la Sierra).
All these objects have been found in towns from this area belonging to the Extremaduran South Sierra, bordering on the ancient “Tartessos” kingdom and the Andalusian Province of Huelva.
From Jerez de los Caballeros we pass through Zafra,
Villafranca de los Barros and Hornachos, in whose sierras we can
see interesting schematic cave paintings from the Bronze Age.
A few kilometres from the ancient Fornacis, is located the historic Iulipa, Zalamea de la Serena, on whose outskirts we can visit “El Templo de Cancho Roano” (The Temple of Cancho Roano) dating back to the 6th and 8th century BC.
It was built for a clearly religious-commercial use. Its excavation has provided a multitude of pieces belonging to an oriental epoch, with an enormous historic- artistic value. Some of them can be found in the Provincial Museum of Archaeology in Badajoz.
A short distance from here, in some towns of two
neighbouring areas: La Serena and La Siberia Extremeña,
interesting finds have been recovered. All of them have a great
historical interest, like “Las Estelas de Cabeza del Buey”
(The Steles from Cabeza del Buey), from the Bronze Age; the famous
“Sileno de la Capilla” or in La Siberia Extremeña
“el Jarro de la Siruela” (The Jug from Siruela) ,
with an oriental influence. All of them are exhibited in the Provincial
Museum of Archaeology in Badajoz. In the Sierras of Peñalsordo
we can also visit interesting schematic cave paintings.
On our way to the north of Zalamea, we see “El Dolmen de Magacela”, next to this town, from which we have a view of the areas called “La Serena” and “Las Vegas del Guadiana”, thanks to its privileged situation as a natural vantage point.
It is good to remember that one of the most important Idols among all the idols belonging to the same epoch in Extremadura (3rd millennium BC) appeared in the town called Rena and it can be seen together with “Kilyxs” and oriental pottery, from Medellín, dating from the 6th century BC. They are exhibited in the Provincial Museum of Archaeology in Madrid.
On the boundaries between this area and Las Villuercas,
an area belonging to the region of Cáceres, in a town called
Madrigalejo, an interesting hog from the 3rd century BC was discovered.
It is exhibited in the Provincial Museum of Archaeology in Cáceres.
From Magacela, along the N-432, we pass through the towns: Villanueva de la Serena, Don Benito, Guareña which are important commercial and agricultural centres of the region called “Las Vegas Altas del Guadiana”.
In la Sierra de la Calderita, in La Zarza, just
like in the Sierras in Castillo de Alange we can visit some shelters
with numerous and schematic cave paintings from the Bronze Age.
This area, inhabited from the Palaeolithic period, has provided
the Provincial Museum of Archaeology in Badajoz with numerous
and interesting finds, the outstanding exhibit being the famous
“Jarro de La Zarza” (Jug from La Zarza) , oriental
in style, which is exhibited in its showcases.
The “Carro de Mérida” (The Chart from Mérida), dating back to the 6th or 7th century BC, is exhibited in the Saint German Museum from Laye, in France. From Mérida we can visit the “Dolmen de Lácara” (Lacara Dolmen), which is supposed to be one of the best examples of gallery tombs in Extremadura.
We will then take the road which links Aljucén with La Nava to arrive to the area known as the “Prado of Lácara”, where the dolmen is situated.
We will then return back to Mérida and on
its outskirts we will visit the Sierra de Arroyo de San Serván,
where we will complete our knowledge about schematic cave paintings
from the region of Badajoz.
Badajoz owns, in its Provincial Museum of Archaeology some excellent collections of archaeological pieces dating back to the same epoch used to design this itinerary. They are the result of numerous excavation works carried out throughout decades in the region of Badajoz (La Pijotilla, Alange, Cancho Roano, etc.)
Tools, steles, furnishings, idols, treasures from the Prehistoric period and Pre-roman time, wonderfully classified and exhibited, await us to complete our route through the Prehistoric period and the Proto-History in Extremadura.
To the north of Badajoz and along the local road
which links the capital city with Alburquerque, we will arrive
in this town where some steles from the Bronze Age can be seen.
From here we will continue our journey to the north until we reach
the neighbouring towns of San Vicente de Alcantara and Valencia
de Alcantara, where we can admire the largest concentration of
dolmens in Extremadura.
All of the recommended itineraries are perfectly aimed and designed and the starting point for them being Valencia de Alcantara, where we will discover and admire some of the dolmens of great size, many of them being perfectly preserved.
The Portuguese areas bordering on these Extremaduran areas are also places with a large accumulation of these funeral monuments from the Megalithic period. Our next destination is the capital of Cáceres, to arrive there we will take the N-521 and we will pass near Brozas, where some Steles from the Bronze Age were found (7th and 8th centuries BC), and through Aliseda on whose outskirts the famous “Tesoro de Aliseda” (Aliseda Treasure) was found , with beautiful embossed pieces, the filigree and the embossing dates back to the 7th century BC. It is exhibited in the National Museum of Archaeology in Madrid, together with some finds from the Neolithic Period found in Los Barruecos, a natural monument located near Malpartida de Cáceres.
Cáceres, declared Mankind Heritage by UNESCO, owns an excellent Provincial Museum of Archaeology, situated in the monumental area of the city. On its ground floor we find a complete collection of archaeological pieces from the province of Cáceres .
Its excellent chronological arrangement enables
the visitor to know about the Prehistory and Proto-history of
this northern area of Extremadura, which are efficiently explained
in an instructive way.
On the periphery of the city is located “La Cueva de Maltravieso)” (the Cave of Maltravieso), with cave paintings from the Upper Palaeolithic period, dating from 30,000 to 10,000 years BC. To the North of Extremadura, around the river terraces of the rivers Alagón and Jerte, there are settlements from the Palaeolithic period; some of the finds from this period and later, are exhibited in the Cathedral Museum in Plasencia, in a room adjoining this important Museum of religious objects and sacred art.
A visit to Monfragüe and its Nature Park is
a “must”, where besides enjoying its magnificent environment,
we can also see and visit one of the most numerous series of schematic
cave paintings in Spain, as recent finds have proved it to be,
outstanding paintings are located in the “Cueva del Castillo”,
the “Cuevas del Peine” and the “Cueva de los
This area bordering on the Nature Park of Monfragüe is rich in Prehistoric sites and finds, as it has been proved by the “Estelas de Torrejón el Rúbio” (Steles from Torrejón el Rúbio), from the Bronze Age and the “Tesoro de Serradilla” (Treasure from Serradilla), made of wrought gold and with Phoenician influence. Nowadays it is exhibited in the Archaeological Museum in Cáceres.
Once in the region of Trujillo it is worth mentioning the finds located in Berzocana, with its Treasure and, above all, the “Castro de la Coraja”, situated between the two towns of Torrecillas de la Tiesa and Aldeacentenera. In this last town, we can visit an attractive reproduction of what was an ancient Celtiberian town. An interesting collection of objects from this “castro” (An Iberian-Roman fortified town) and its necropolis can be seen in the Provincial Archaeological Museum in Cáceres.
Trujillo and several towns situated to the south
of it, like it also happens in numerous towns in Extremadura,
were inhabited areas since the Pre-roman period, as is proved
by the interesting finds discovered in the “Castro de Villasviejas
del Tamuja” in Botija or the impressive steles in Ibahernando
and the above-mentioned hogs from Madrigalejo.
Jerez de los Caballeros
Zalamea de La Serena
Valencia de Alcántara