The Fortified Village
Until 1991, the only archaeological news from the municipality of Berbinzana consisted of the discovery nearby of a milestone from the time of Constantine, abundant remains of Roman ceramics and a handful of Roman coins. That same year, however, at the request of Berbinzana Local Council and funded by the Government of Navarre, surveys were conducted on a plot of council land to see what kind of archaeological impact the construction of a municipal sports facility could have there. While the test pits were being dug, an Early Iron Age village emerged which was structurally and stratigraphically substantial enough to warrant horizontal excavation. This next stage got under way the next year when a systematic intervention was carried out and the size, scientific interest and good general state of conservation of the discovery was confirmed. Its great heritage value led the Directorate General of Culture "Institución Príncipe de Viana", the body in charge of looking after cultural heritage in Navarre, to reject the construction of the municipal sports centre at the site and oblige Berbinzana council to delist the archaeological area of Las Eretas as developable land in the Municipal Urban Zoning Plan, requalifying it as a protected area of cultural interest.
Between 1993 and 1996, several systematic archaeological excavation campaigns at the site partially unearthed the urban fabric of a fortified village from the Early Iron Age, the most significant structural remains of which included the wall and towers that defended it, and several dwellings built around a street and public square which facilitated pedestrian traffic inside the fortress. To all the architectural information obtained about the fortification and urban layout of this protohistoric village with its houses huddled together, dating from the 6th to the 4th centuries BC, should be added everything discovered about the internal structure of the dwellings and their furniture, and the remains of the household and cultural objects recovered at the site, typical of the Urnfield culture. As required, these objects were deposited in the Government of Navarre’s archaeological store.