Motilla del Azuer, unique and incomparable wonder

The motillas were the early settlements of La Mancha (Spain) belonging to the Middle Bronze Age, and connected to the Bronze of Levante culture. These were human-made hills atop of which are placed fortified settlements. Their height is usually between four and five meters and the motillas are separated from each other by a distance of four to five kilometers. Their construction started c. 2200 BCE and they were used for about 1000 years.

The Motilla del Azuer is the only one that can be visited. It is in Daimiel and is a complex construction with several walls, tortuous corridors, and a large courtyard where a recently discovered and excavated well is located. Possibly it was a structure of refuge and defense, not prepared to be used as housing for long periods. The photo shows the well from the central tower.

Motilla del Azuer
Ángel M. Felicísimo 

Their use started at the time of the 4.2 kiloyear event. They were needed as a consequence of severe aridification that affected this wide geographical area. They were also used as a control center of agricultural resources. They were no longer used after the end of the Argarian civilization.

Recently, archaeologists have suggested that these structures are mainly connected with water management, and agricultural production:

“Motilla del Azuer contains the oldest well known from the Iberian Peninsula and the archaeologists suspect that the walled enclosures were therefore used to protect and manage the livelihood of the people living in the settlement: To secure the well’s water, to store and process cereals on a large scale, to occasionally keep the livestock, and to produce pottery and other domestic artefacts.”