Parque Moret



The Parque Moret belongs in the Necropolis of the Período Orientalizante (‘East-Like Period’) of Huelva. Archaeological research have proved the presence of tumuli at the park. This means that some of the small elevations in the park are artificial – they were made as funeral monuments marking the burials of prominent people of the society of Tartessos (from the 7th to the 6th century BC).

The Relevance of the Park

The condition of the Parque Moret as a cemetery from the period of Tartessos was made known by archaeologist Juan Pedro Garrido Roiz. He was a disciple of famous archaeologist Jorge Bonsor’s who had already dug in the place in the 1920s and had suggested the presence of the Necropolis. Eventually, this Necropolis became the Sector A2 of the Archaeological Area of Huelva.

The Renovation Project

The renovation project of the Parque Moret had the purpose of giving the lot a network of paths and several services for users’ fun to make it one of the main green spaces of the city. Another purpose was researching and adding the archaeological patrimony to the facilities of the park as a way to show the history of Huelva to both locals and visitors. This made the archaeological research part from the renovation project of the park, so the archaeological rests which were already known were analysed. The analysis was carried out between the 3 September 2003 and the 30 September 2004 by the Town Planning Department of the City Council of Huelva together with the main proto-historic research centres, the University of Huelva, the National University of Distance Education, the University of Alcalá de Henares, and the Centro de Estudios Fenicios y Púnicos (‘Centre for Phoenician and Punic Studies’). The Tumuli 1 and 2, which had been previously studied but not enough documented, were reopened to study their state, their value as well as their possibility of offering new, interesting data. The intervention had also the purpose of finding other potential tumuli at the other elevations of the park with a geotechnical analysis as well as the palaeo-environmental reconstruction of the terrain by collecting and analysing different samples, doing a general follow-up of the site. This would control any possible new findings.

The Follow-Up of the Site

Structures D, E, and F were the most interesting findings in the follow-up of the site. This allowed the enlargement of historical periods detected at the site to the Roman Empire (D) and the Almohad Period (F) by studying archaeological rests from agricultural facilities in the surroundings of Huelva. The follow-up allowed the detection of a cylinder-shaped alteration (E) of the sand stratum of the hill. This alteration has a one-metre-long diameter and consists of an orange-coloured sediment with some ceramic fragments. After digging eleven metres into the earth, the ground-water level prevented the reaching the bottom of the structure so its function is unconfirmed. Nevertheless, Structure E did provide some interesting findings from the second half of the 7th century BC – maybe a burial of the type ‘Well Grave’, belonging in the Canaanite and Phoenician cultures, or a backfilled depository from the proto-historic aqueduct of the city. Anyway, these findings belong in the park at the same period when it was used as a necropolis. Today, the undug parts of the structure are located under the artificial lake of the park.

The Tumuli

Tumulus 1

The first tumulus was built with loam bricks forming a series of small walls in circles and with intentional filling in the intermediate spaces. All of them make this tumulus a solid, circular construction with a 25-metre-long diameter and a more than 1.30 metre deep. The original height of the tumulus is unknown, so we must suppose that the high part was worn by erosion. Also, its usage as burial is unclear, as the sepulchral chamber has not been found. The remarkably colourful materials – red, green, and yellowish clay from different origins – together with the high place for building this construction suggest an especially decorative function for this building. The ceramic fragments collected at the cleansing and analysis campaign are small and out of context, as they were discarded at the previous digging campaign. Nevertheless, they are clearly pieces of hand-made pots and red slip plates from 7th century BC – they are very similar to those fragments found at the Cabezo de San Pedro or the Necropolis of La Joya. The bad conditions of the loam bricks made it difficult to leave them out in the open, so the ensemble was covered to avoid their wear and tear.

Tumulus 2

The digging of the second tumulus confirmed the presence of an artificial elevation as it is related to a burial pit done on the natural terrain. Besides, the tumulus consists of several different sediments, very abundant in archaeological materials. We have studied the composition and the layout of these deposits, which are geologically formed by gravel layers from the second bottom itself. These gravel layers are very rich in iron oxide, but they also include several natural elements such as plant and pollen traces or animal bones – cow, deer and goat bones – as well as man-made elements – fragments of hand-made clay objects and others made with a potter’s wheel. All of them belong in the period when the tumulus was built and provide information on that historical period. Using this evidence, we can say that a single burial took place here, and we can estimate that it happened in the second half of the 7th century BC after analysing the ceramic fragments. The construction of the tumulus may have been accompanied by certain funeral rituals, such as funeral feasts and the handling of ashes which seem to have been intentionally spilt on the tumulus. The dead’s belongings, consisting of bronze and iron objects which resemble those collected at the site of La Joya, were extracted in the 1990s by Juan Pedro Garrido.