It is a common misconception that culture and civilisation in Spain arrived with the Romans. This isn’t so. Artifacts predating the Roman era are abundant on the Iberian Peninsula. One example are the ubiquitous granite statues depicting cattle, boars, sheep and bears that litter the Castile and Leon region. What we don’t know for certain, however, is who made them, for what purpose, and when exactly.
On our trip to Salamanca last month, my friend Noelia, a self-professed history nut, took me on a little detour to show me the “The Bulls of Guisando”, located next to a lonely country road in the middle of nowhere, half-way between Toledo and Salamanca.
It is believed that a people called the Vettones, who were settled in this area in the 3rd Century BC, made these bulls, as well as thousands more animal statues, many of which survive to this day.
However, much of what has been written about these silent witnesses of an extinct culture is pure conjecture. In fact, the origins and meaning of the Bulls of Guisando are every bit as nebulous as those of the giant stone statues populating the Easter Islands.