Saturday, May 15, 2010

Almería : Andalusia (Spain)

The area has been inhabited since the Upper Paleolithic with remnants of Mousterian activities in Cueva de Zájara. It was part of a greater Mediterrean arc noted for rupestrian art (see : "Arte rupestre del arco mediterráneo en la Península Ibérica").

The name "Almería" stems from Arabic المرية Al-Mariyya: "The Mirror". The city was built not far from the Iberian town known as Urci. The area was indeed submitted to Iberians before Roman occupation. It is now quite plausible that the Iberian language was a distant cousin to the Basque language (see this article in French from 2010 : "Iberian and Basque : researchs and comparisons" ; for instance one cannot help noticing that 'urki' in modern Basque simply means "birch").

  • Sample :
Full scale

  • Brief anthropological analysis :

- Type 1 : Dark complexion, brachymorphic, broad face, round features, thick browridges , short broad nose, wide-spaced sloping eyes
~ Alpino-Mediterranean/Berid

A very classical Iberian type, it is abundantly found throughout the peninsula. Some minority individuals - more or less leptomorphic - do remind us of a very localized type that we identified in neighbouring Granada : high cheekbones, a broad jaw, a long upper lip, wide-set eyes, a "pseudo-mongoloid" eye shape (narrow eyelids), ...

- Type 2 : Intermediate complexion (rather pale skin, from chestnut to dark hair, ...) complexion, leptomorphic, robust features, long and high-rooted straight or rather wavy nose, close-set eyes, angular and somehow strong chin, large jaws
~ Atlanto-Mediterranean

On average, those generic Mediterranean people seem to show more affinities with coastal and northern Iberia (see Murcia) than with western Andalusia (see Huelva). Those affinities may be clearer with larger-faced variants. "Horsy" and very gracile phenotypes found in Portugal and western Andalusia are quite rare.

  • Final morphotypes :


  1. "On average, those generic Mediterranean people seem to show more affinities with coastal and northern Iberia (see Murcia) than with western Andalusia (see Huelva)".

    That's what I was thinking, that overall there are rather few affinities with West Andalusians. That's pretty interesting because makes me wonder about the very origins.

    Archaeologically, there are no real findings in West Andalusia (west of Gibraltar to be precise) before Neolithic. While in Neolithic strictu senso, there's some better sense of unity in Andalusia, in Chalcolithic and Bronze ages, both regions become different, even if connected, with the West being akin to Portugal and Extremadura, the Guadalquivir valley virtually devoid of data (because of being a flood area?), and the highlander East, together with Murcia and to some extent Valencia and La Mancha in the orbit of the Almerian cities (El Argar specially).

    In the Iron Age there's some regaining of cultural unity (Tartessian cultural phases) but the differences persist quite obviously (two different scripts and languages.

    So I'd say that much of these phenotype differences are due to extended Neolithic distinct coalescence, maybe also with Paleolithic basis: the SW was then less populated and the only apparent concentration of people was in Portugal, while the SE (from Gibraltar to Valencia) was rather densely populated.

    By the way, the area south of Valencia city, including most of Alicante province, is the area where most clear demic colonization happened in the early Neolithic (Cardium Pottery). Have you made any post on this area?

  2. Very interesting remarks, thanks. I still haven't made any post on Valencia or Alicante BTW.


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