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date: 18 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The data retrieved in the past two decades in the Portuguese territory have confirmed the early arrival of Phoenician communities on the western coasts of the Iberian Peninsula. Groups of western Phoenicians, probably originating in the areas of Cádiz and Málaga, settled during the eighth century bce first in the estuary of the Tagus River and afterwards in Mondego, Sado, Guadiana, and Gilão. In some spaces, such as the Tagus, the density of sites is significant, and every indication suggests they functioned as a coordinated network, the success of which required negotiation between the indigenous society and the newcomers. It seems that the exogenous model prevailed, which resulted in profound economic, social, political, and cultural changes. A new network also reached the inner areas at least since the late seventh century bce, namely through the inner Alentejo, where at an early date (eighth century bce) an apparently failed attempt of Orientalization had already taken place. If the specific motivations for the “conquest” of the far west were certainly multiple, including among others its metal sources (mainly tin, but also copper and even gold), the permanence of these communities seems undeniable, even if they took the form of genetically and culturally hybrid realities.

Keywords: Iron Age; mineral resource, Phoenician language, Orientalization, Tagus estuary, settlement, necropolis, sanctuary

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