La presencia de ámbar en los yacimientos prehistóricos (del Paleolítico superior a la Edad del Bronce) de la Cornisa Cantábrica y sus fuentes de aprovisionamiento

  1. Esteban Álvarez Fernández
  2. Enrique Peñalver Mollá
  3. Xavier Delclòs Martínez
Zephyrus: Revista de prehistoria y arqueología

ISSN: 0514-7336

Year of publication: 2005

Issue: 58

Pages: 159-182

Type: Article

More publications in: Zephyrus: Revista de prehistoria y arqueología


Cited by

  • Dialnet Metrics Cited by: 6 (25-09-2023)


  • Social Sciences: A
  • Human Sciences: A+


Thirteen prehistoric sites in the Cantabrian Spain with records of amber, of ages ranging from the Upper Paleolithic to the Bronze Age, have been exposed. The geographic origin of these ambers has been studied to improve our the knowledge of the cultural and commercial aspects of the prehistoric societies. We have investigated if the origin of the amber could be local, from the natural Cretaceous amber sources of the Cantabrian Spain, or if it was allochthonous, from the Baltic region in the North of Europe. A comparison of the geographic location of the archaeological sites and the paleontological sources, and a comparison of the IRTF spectra of the ambers from the two kinds of localities, has been accomplished. The Spanish Cretaceous amber has gemological characteristics, as a consequence this amber was a potential material appropriate for the elaboration of ornamental objects using rudimentary instruments. We concluded that the prehistoric archaeological amber of the Cantabrian Spain had in general a local origin, and that it was probably obtained in the surrounding natural sources of the Prehistoric sites. The IRTF spectra of the archaeological ambers analyzed (El Pendo, Cueva Morín, Cueva de La Garma A and Trikuaizti I sites) show that they are Cretaceous. Four areas, with close spatial relationship between the archaeological and the palaeontological sites of amber, are proposed as hypothetical source areas where the humans used Cretaceous amber during the Prehistory of the Cantabrian Spain. In contrast, only, the amber from the Larrarte site (Megalithic) corresponds to succinite from the Tertiary of the Baltic region. These data indicate that during the Megalithic, at least in a small area of the Guipúzcoa Province (Trikuaizti I and Larrarte sites), the human used local and allochthonous amber.