The University of Chicago is cooperating with Spanish archaeologists to excavate the Iron Age Phoenician colony of Cerro del Villar on the outskirts of the city of Málaga on the south coast of Spain. This eight-hectare (20-acre) archaeological site lies beside the Guadalhorce River, one kilometer from the Mediterranean shore. In ancient times it was an island in the wide mouth of the river, which has since silted up. It was settled by Phoenicians from the Levant no later than the eighth century BCE and then abandoned in the sixth century BCE, with no later town built on top of the Phoenician buildings. Most Iron Age Phoenician towns are buried under modern cities and are largely inaccessible, thus Cerro del Villar provides a rare opportunity to obtain an extensive exposure of the urban layout and to investigate the causes and consequences of the exploration and colonization of the Iberian peninsula three millennia ago by people from the other end of the Mediterranean. Long before the Greeks and Romans, these people — descendants of the Bronze Age Canaanites who lived on the coast of what is today Lebanon and northern Israel and were called “Phoenicians” by the Greeks — established a pan-Mediterranean network of trade and communication that affected the entire course of ancient history. They brought with them the urban culture of the Near East and the alphabetic writing system and religious beliefs, practices, and stories of the ancient Levant.
After two successful seasons of excavation in 2022 and 2023, we plan to return to Cerro del Villar from August 25 to September 21, 2024, to continue the work.
August 25 - September 21, 2024
Friday, March 29, 2024
100 credit units are offered by the University of Chicago. Contact for more details.
Fee includes evening lectures, three weekend field trips, and full room and board for 27 nights at the Holiday Inn Express Málaga - Aeropuerto (two persons per room) with breakfast and dinner in the hotel and lunch at a nearby restaurant.
David Schloen: University of Chicago
Carolina López-Ruiz: University of Chicago