It has a curious and unusual situation because it sits on a flat area, is close to the municipality of Laguardia which is part and protected by the mountains that make up the natural wall of Sierra Cantabria. The settlement of La Hoya is an important archaeological site that reveals a large settlement ranging from the end of the Bronze Age, XII century B.C., to the II century B.C., end of the Iron Age. Discovered by chance in 1934 by a resident of Laguardia, it was in later decades when the excavation work was carried out and extended, providing sufficient information to know the urban, economic and cultural evolution that the settlement had throughout its thousand years of history. In the first centuries of its existence is when it suffers the greatest population growth while assimilating and adopting for itself influences from outside, as from Central Europe came people who contacted this megalithic tribe of shepherds and brought new knowledge. The houses were built close to the fence that served as a wall. Houses and fences were entirely made of wood, and the domestic art found shows how their utensils and tools were simple and rudimentary.
It was in the 5th century B.C. when La Hoya culminated its growth with the occupation of the village by Celtiberians from the plateau, who provided a superior culture and development, changed the way of life and consolidated a social and technical growth, therefore also economic, becoming one of the most important population centers of the Celtiberian Berones. The wall was consolidated and reinforced, the houses were separated from the wall towards the centre and they were built adjoining each other forming blocks, streets and squares. Homes that used to be in the centre of the room are now built close to the walls. With the cultural and commercial development there are also other buildings dedicated to places of worship or social gatherings, shops... The town of La Hoya was with all this an outstanding commercial center and of organization of the territory. The inhabitants of La Hoya left the village and moved to other places close to the third century BC, and although the causes are not known it does seem to coincide with the beginnings of the Romanization of the area.
Walking through the excavated areas of the site and contemplating the remains of the village in which the houses, the streets and its sidewalks, the squares as well as part of the wall that defended it, leads the visitor to imagine these people in their daily hustle and bustle and almost wait for the wind to make their voices resound. At the entrance of the site, in the same enclosure, is the Interpretation Centre of La Hoya where some panels with graphic information, display cabinets where there are all kinds of utensils and domestic art, as well as an audiovisual projection, give a clear vision of the history of these people and their important settlement. In the centre of the museum, on a natural scale, you can admire a replica of one of the houses from the Celtiberian period.
It is said that around the second half of the fourth century B.C., on a vibrant day of fair and market where the inhabitants of La Hoya offered their products, the town was attacked and set on fire, part of its people dying. In the excavations of the site have been recovered, fossilized, objects of daily life as well as a corpse with signs of violence.
In the site have also been found remains of livestock that was raised in the village, goats, sheep, cows and pigs are the most frequent but have also been located horses and dogs. As a curious fact to say that the rooster is documented in this site in the Second Iron Age.
Due to the presence in adornments and details in the belongings of the inhabitants of La Hoya, of zoolatric type, horse, deer, bovines and above all snakes, it has been possible to know the beliefs and rituals that were part of their culture. At the base of the wall and as an aid in its defense, magic ritual or cunning? placed the antlers of these animals.
You can get to the Alava town of Laguardia from Logroño by following the A-124 that connects both towns. This same road links Laguardia with the neighbouring towns of Samaniego, Ábalos and Labastida, as well as with Briñas and the N-124 between Haro and Miranda de Ebro. Also in the section of A-124 between Laguardia and Samaniego, in the municipality of Leza, we find the junction with the A-2124 that reaches this place from Vitoria through the port of Herrera. Other ways of getting to Laguardia are in the towns of Fuenmayor and Cenicero in the middle of the N-232, from where there are two roads that lead to Laguardia, passing through Lapuebla and Elciego respectively. Finally, Laguardia is also reached by the A-3228, which connects the town with Elvillar and Cripan, among other towns.
The access that leads to the village of La Hoya can be found as soon as you take the detour along the road that connects Laguardia with Elvillar. This crossroads is located in the middle of the A-124 road at its exit from Laguardia in the direction of Samaniego. Once we have taken the asphalted track that leads to the village, all that remains is to follow its course, ignoring all the paths that leave our path and following the indications that indicate the direction to follow. At our arrival we will find a parking area where we can leave our vehicle.
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