Banco de datos de lenguas paleohispánicas

Zone F



Access to the zone F database

Zone F in the MLH III includes the sites located between the Rivers Ebro and Mínguez (a tributary of the Júcar), a territory which roughly corresponds to the current Spanish provinces of Castellón and Valencia and which the classical authors attribute to the Edetani and Ilercavones, the former in the south and the latter in the north. Zone G is located south of the River Mínguez and is characterised by its inscriptions in the Greco-Iberian alphabet and southern Iberian script.

Sites and their Epigraphy

In total, Iberian inscriptions have been discovered at sixty-seven sites. The most numerous collections are those from Sagunto (V.04, more than sixty inscriptions) and Líria (more than a hundred inscriptions), which are both exceptional - the former because it includes the most extensive series of Iberian inscriptions on stone, and the latter for tituli picti on pottery. There are also several very notable groups of inscriptions on lead, the most noteworthy of which is the collection from Orleyl (CS.21) with around ten lead sheets, followed by other smaller collections from Los Villares (V.07), El Pico de los Ajos (V.13), La Carencia (V.14) and La Balaguera de Pobla Tornesa (CS.13). Several examples have also been found in Sagunto and El Tossal de San Miquel, with other isolated finds at Pujol de Gasset (CS.14.01), El Solaig in Bechí (CS.18.01), Casinos (V.02.02), Castellet de Bernabé (V.06.001), Meca (V.15.02), Enguera (V.16.01) and Tos Pelat in Moncada (V.21.01).

The sites with most inscriptions are acknowledged to be cities because of their size, some of them identified with those mentioned in the classical sources and/or with mints: The castle of Sagunto is identified with Saguntum, identified with the mint of arse (Mon.33), in the Palancia Valley; Sant Miquel de Lliria with Edeta, in the Turia Valley; it has been suggested that La Carencia de Turís in the Magro Valley corresponds to the mint of kili (Mon.34); and Los Villares, located at the beginning of the River Magro, which is identified with the mint of kelin (Mon.94); and to the south of the Júcar is Játiva, named Saetabis in the Latin sources and the mint of saitabi (Mon.35). In the Maestrazgo area, Lessera is located and identified with Moleta dels Frares, Forcall (CS.23). At the mouth of the Turia the Latin colony of Valentia (V.12), which minted coins with Latin legends and where Latin, Greek and Iberian inscriptions have been discovered.

The most important collection of inscriptions on stone comes from Sagunto (V.04), which includes steles, blocks and plaques; in the nearby Montaña Frontera sanctuary a group of small pedestals for statuettes has been recovered. The rest of the inscriptions on stone are steles from the Maestrazgo area: Canet lo Roig (CS.01), San Mateu (CS.04), Benasal (CS.05), Cuevas de Vinromá (CS.07), Alcalá de Chivert (CS.08), Bell-lloc (CS.10) and Cabanes (CS.11). Finally, there is a group of rock engravings at Tarragón (V.24), in the Andilla mountain range, and another at Abrigo Brugal (V.10).

The inscriptions painted on ceramics, especially lebes and kalathoi, are characteristic of Sant Miquel de Llíria, a site at which one of the most significant collections of painted Iberian pottery decorated with figures has been discovered. At the surrounding sites, isolated finds are recorded at: Casinos (V.02.01), Los Villaricos (V.05.01), Castellet de Bernabé (V.06.002), La Monravana (V.06.005) and also at Los Villares (V.07.06-07).

The longest Iberian texts are engraved on lead sheets. A significant number come from casual discoveries, such as the Pujol de Gasset lead (CS.14.01) and most of those in Orleyl, but three of those which come from this municipality appeared, however, in the excavation of a tomb in the necropolis of La Punta (CS.21.05-07). Three leads, with writing on both sides and on several of which several texts are superimposed on one another in palimpsest style (V.13.3), were discovered simultaneously in Pico de los Ajos. Some examples are also known which are not typical sheets and could have served in some cases as labels, such as a perforated circular piece from Los Villares (V.07.04).

The scarcity of graffiti on ceramics is surprising, if compared to other regions such as B, C and E, where they are the most common type of epigraphy. The most numerous groups come from Sant Miquel de Llíria (V.06), Sagunto (V.04) and Valencia (V.12). Only two pottery stamps are documented, both on loom weights from Sagunto (V.04.19-20).

Finally, there are a number of exceptional inscriptions, such as the bronze plaque from San Antonio de Bechíí (CS.18.02), the inscribed falcata from Torres-Torres (V.22.1) and the bone pieces from Peña de las Majadas (CS.16.01) and Puntal dels Llops (V.03.01).

The  Hesperia list of references  used for Zone F can be accessed by clicking the link.


The oldest inscription is the lead from Grau Vell, the port of Sagunto (V.04.61), which dates to between the end of the 5th century and beginning of the 4th century BCE. An inscription on a piece of Attic pottery from the 4th century BCE (V.04.47) has also been recovered from this site. The three leads from Tomb 2 of the necropolis at Punta de Orleyl (CS.21.05-07) probably date from the 3rd century BCE. Similarly, the tituli picti are also dated to the 3rd century BCE., since the site of San Miquel de Llíria was destroyed at the end of this century or the beginning of the following one. Among the mints, the early establishment of arse (Mon.33) stands out, while kili (Mon.34) and kelin (Mon.94) did not mint coins until the late Iberian period (2nd and 1st centuries BCE).

Some Iberian-Latin inscriptions are documented. Several mints issued coins with their toponym in Iberian and Latin: śaiti/SAETABI (Mon.35), kili/GILI (Mon.34) and arse/SAGVNTINV; in Sagunto there is also an architrave with a double inscription in Iberian and Latin (V.04.08). All these examples are from a relatively late date: the first century BCE. The most recent inscription would be the short engraving on southern Gaulish terra sigillata pottery from Vinaroz (CS.02.03).

The border between regions F and G is marked by the prevalence in the latter of inscriptions in the Southern Iberian script and the Greco-Iberian alphabet, while in Zone F the North-Eastern Iberian script is used. Nevertheless, a Greco-Iberian lead has been published which appears to come from Sagunto (V.04.29) and there are also two leads from Zone F written in Southern script, one from Pico de los Ajos (V.13.06) and another from Turís (V.14.02).

In the case of inscriptions written in the North-Eastern Iberian script, it is not always possible to determine if they use the dual system or not. The discovery of three inscriptions which include dual signaries is very significant, in that the signs are grouped in pairs of simple and marked allographs: these are the leads of Tos Pelat (V.21.01, .02) and the titulus pictus of Castellet de Bernabé (V.06.003). The use of the dual system is easier to determine in longer texts, given that they allow the corroboration of the presence of simple and complex variants in the same syllabary. It can be confirmed that it is used on several leads, such as those of Los Villares (V.07.01-02), while in the case of shorter texts it is difficult to determine, although some are compatible with the aforementioned dual system. According to the convention followed in Hesperia for other zones, such as that of Narbonensis (as explained here), if the inscription uses a complex allograph in the transcription it is marked with an accent, for example: , etc. The painted inscriptions of Liria, for their part, present a very characteristic palaeography, with an abundant use of more complex variants in the marked signs, more stylised and curved forms - thanks to the use of the technique of painting - and interpunctions made up of three or more points.

Variants and paleography

Given that we do not have a unitary corpus of each epigraphic variant in Levantine, or North-Eastern Iberian, script –which is being developed— the epigraphic comments in the inscriptions file belonging to region F refer to the variants established by Untermann in volume III:1 of theMLH, pp. 246-247. A transcription is available for the convenience of the reader: Levantine or Northeast script.


Sites in epigraphic zone F with their Hesperia reference. Interactive map: click on the site of Sagunto to see photos of the site.

Castillo de Sagunto