Votive well or refuse tip? Chronicle of an abandonment: taphonomic study of the faunal remains of an iron age well-cistern
MetadataShow full item record
The well-cistern of the Iberian Fortress of Vilars (Catalonia, Spain) is a monumental feature dating to the late fth century BCE (Vilars, phases III-IV). Management of water resources is key to interpreting the nature of the fortress, as water was essential not only for human and livestock consumption, but for irrigation, construction, and crafts. Moreover, water was integral to the site in both times of peace and war, as the structures that guaranteed provision and management coincide with facets of military architecture (moat). Yet, why was the well-cistern back lled with animal remains and other archaeological material only a few years after its construction? To answer this and other questions, this study follows two main lines of research. Firstly, analyses were carried out on the archaeozoological remains collected inside the feature so as to interpret and characterise the nature of the assemblage. Secondly, taphonomic analyses (macro- and microscopic) were undertaken so as to reconstruct the dynamics of accumulation and the premature abandonment of the well-cistern's primary function: supplying potable water. The results suggest that the abandonment of the well-cistern might be due in part to a drop of the groundwater level during a period of drought.