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Montejo de Tiermes (Municipality, Castilla y León, Spain)

Last modified: 2018-03-18 by ivan sache
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Flag of Montejo de Tiermes - Image by Image by the Spanish Vexillological Society, 10 March 2018


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Presentation of Montejo de Tiermes

The municipality of Montejo de Tiermes (172 inhabitants in 2016; 16,727 ha) is located 100 km south-west of Soria, on the borders with the Provinces of Segovia and Guadalajara (Castilla-La Mancha). The municipality is made of the villages of Montejo de Tiermes (32 inh.), Carrascosa de Arriba (15 inh.), Cuevas de Ayllón (28 inh.), Hoz de Abajo (6 inh.), Hoz de Arriba (4 inh.), Ligos (16 inh.), Noviales (27 inh.), Pedro (13 inh.), Rebollosa de Pedro (2 inh.), Sotillo de Caracena (deserted since 1969), Torresuso (6 inh.) and Valderromán (13 inh.).

The Tiermes archeological site, known as "the Spanish Pompeii", was declared of Cultural Interest in 1994 by the Government of Castilla y León. Several antique historians (Ptolemy, Apianus, Diodorus of Sicily, Posidonius, Titus Livy, Tacitus, Pliny) described Tiermes as a powerful town, and a stronghold of the resistance of Arevaci to the Roman conquest of Iberia. According to Apianus, the town was seized in 98 BC by Consul Titus Didius, who expelled its inhabitants down to the plain. Incorporated to the Clunia district, the place was renamed to Termes and granted the status of a Roman town. Ruins of public buildings (forum, market, aqueduct, thermae...) indicate that Termes was a wealthy town. In the 3rd century, the town decreased in size and was surrounded by walls; remains of a necropolis and a sanctuary provide evidence that the town was settled by the Visigoths in the 6th-7th centuries.
From the Muslim invasion to the Christian reconquest (12th century), the area, very unsafe because of its border location, was sparsely populated.
After the Christian reconquest, Tiermes was rebuilt, but only as a small village depending on the neighboring town of Caracena. The village was abandoned in the early 16th century, its parish church being transformed into a chapel, where two pilgrimages are still held on May and October.

The ruins of Tiermes were used as a stone quarry by the inhabitants of the neighboring villages until the first description of the place by the local historian Nicolás Rabal; in 1887, he provided a detailed study of the site, identifying the Celtiberian and the Roman settlements. Count Romanones (1909), Narciso Sentenach (1910-1911) and Ignacio Calvo (1913) conducted the first archeological excavations of the site. They were succeeded by Blas Taracena, director of the Numantine Museum (Soria), who organized systematic, scientific investigations for the next decades. Teógenes Ortego resumed his work in the 1960s, publishing the first guide to the archeological site.
Scholars led by José Luis Argente Oliver applied in the 1970s modern archeological methods, completely renewing the interpretation of the site, with a strong emphasis on publication of the results of the excavations and communication to the general public. This resulted in the building in 1986 of the Tiermes Monographic Museum and the recognition of Tiermes as a main Spanish archeological site. Tiermes attracted several specialists, such as Carlos de la Casa, who excavated the medieval chapel, Manuela Doménech, who investigated the necropolis, and Elias Terés, today director of the Numantine Museum.
[Santiago Martín Caballero & Arturo Ignacio Aldecoa Ruiz. Short guide to Tiermes 2009. A Celtiberian-Roman city carved out of the rock. Notes on the site and its history]

Ivan Sache, 10 March 2018


Symbols of Montejo de Tiermes

The flag and arms of Montejo de Tiermes are prescribed by an Agreement adopted on 31 March 2017 by the Municipal Council, signed on 23 June 2017 by the Mayor and published on 30 June 2017 in the official gazette of Castilla y León, No. 124, p. 26,468 (text).
The symbols, which were validated by the Chronicler of Arms of Castilla y León, are described as follows.

Flag: Panel in proportions 2:3, length on width, vertically tierced; at hoist, gules (red), in the center, or, at fly, vert (green). In the center of the flag, the municipal coat of arms, which is [same description as below, details of the crown omitted]. The width of the shield shall be 2/3 of the flag's hoist. (Panel proportions according to Article 13 of Decree 105/1991 adopted on 9 May by the Government of Castilla y León).
Coat of arms: Spanish shield, quadrangular with a rounded-off base. Per pale, 1. On a field gules (red) a defensive Muslim atalaya or, 2. On a field vert (green), a Celtiberian pectoral jewel or. The shield surmounted by a Royal crown closed, which consists in [lengthy description skipped] (Shape of the shield and crown according to Articles 11 and 12 of Decree 105/1991 adopted on 9 May by the Government of Castilla y León).

The symbols were designed by Jorge Hurtado, Arturo Aldecoa and Juanjo González, members of the Spanish Vexillological Society.
The 1st quarter represents the medieval past of Montejo, highlighted by the Muslim atalaya still standing in the center of the village. Red and yellow are the colors of Castile, but also those of the Trugillo lineage, from Soria, the most significant feudal family at the time, who bore "Gules a bowl or supported by two lions rampant affronty of the same".
The 2nd quarter represents the Tiermes archeological site and the Celtiberians who lived there. Green alludes to the name of Montejo (from Latin, monticulum, "a small hill", while yellow represents the color of the bronze pectoral jewel.
[Spanish Vexillological Society, 14 September 2017]

Several pectoral jewels were found in the Carratiermes protoceltiberian necropolis, a 35,000 sq. m area located 900 m north-east of the Romanesque chapel. Some jewels, labelled "spiraliform", were made of spiral and helix-shaped elements, while other, including the one represented on the arms of Montejo de Tiermes, were designed from a rectangular bronze sheet. The jewel found in tomb 235 has a row of 12 small bells appended to the base of the rectangular sheet and another three disks appended to its top.
[Jose Luis Argente Oliver, Adelia Díaz Díaz, Alberto Bescos Corral & Antonio Alonso Lubias. Los conjuntos protoceltibéricos de la Meseta Oriental: ejemplos de la necrópolis de Carratiermes (Montejo de Tiermes, Soria). Trabajos de Prehistoria 49, 295-325 (1992); Pectorales Celtibericos, 6 September 2012]

Ivan Sache, 10 March 2018