The fortified settlements of Aldeacentenera, Berzocana, Retamosa, and Fresnedoso de Ibor are good examples of the native cultures of the Iberian Peninsula. Located in some of the most strategic sites of the Villuercas-Ibores-Jara Global Geopark of the UNESCO, they are small settlements in which these peoples led a way of life based on agriculture, stockbreeding, and trade. This type of settlement endured until shortly after the arrival of Roman culture.

Before the Romans arrived in the Iberian Peninsula, what is now Extremadura was inhabited by various peoples of tribal organisation which maintained contact with others from the Tableland, Portugal, and Sierra Morena and even from further afield. These peoples were divided into those of Celtic origin and those of Iberian origin. Those which inhabited the area of Las Villuercas, Jara, and Ibores were of the first group, to be precise Vettones. Other Celtic peoples established in Extremadura were the Lusitanians in the west of the province of Cáceres and the Celts who occupied the southwest of Badajoz. The Iberians included the Turdetani in the west of the province of Badajoz and the Turduli established in the southeast. The origin of these cultures goes back a thousand years before Christ. Their decline was due to the Roman occupation of the Iberian Peninsula between the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C, although some peoples survived for a time under the new domination. In the area of the Geopark we can contemplate some examples of these Vetton fortified settlements in which the indigenous population lived.

One of these can be found in Aldeacentenera on the estate of La Coraja five kilometres from the village; it dates from approximately the 4th century B.C. The perimeter is walled and a series of dwellings have been discovered inside it. An important element of this site is the ancient midden of the settlement which was located outside the walls.

Here abundant remains of both pottery and metals have been found. At some 500 metres from this fortified settlement lies the necropolis where more than 70 tombs have been excavated in urns, some of which have funeral trousseaus consisting of personal objectives and plates. This is not far away from the natural complex of El Ejido where a replica has been constructed of the Celtic constructions of the settlement with the aim of carrying out cultural, didactic, and tourist activities.

Another of the most significant fortified settlements is that of La Dehesilla. It dates from the early Iron Age although it was used again in Roman times. It is situated between Berzocana and Cabañas del Castillo on a steep river terrace over the River Berzocana near where it flows into the Almonte. This location affords it excellent natural defence which is strengthened by the walls made of rock which surround the settlement. In some parts the walls are double and there was once a tower inside the enclosure. Numerous remains of pottery with their characteristic decorations based on concentric circles have been found.

The settlement of El Terrero is also located in Berzocana. One of its most interesting aspects is the so-called ‘Treasure of Berzocana’ which was discovered, which consists of two decorated torcs (necklaces in the form of a circular horseshoe) of 24-carat solid gold and the patera (shallow vessel) of bronze which appears to have contained them. The settlement is located in uneven rocky terrain between two cliffs which serve it as natural defence. Even today it is still possible to appreciate the remains of numerous dwellings and of the fortifications which surrounded the settlement. Both on the site and on the nearby hillsides numerous remains of pottery, mills, tiles, and other materials have been found.

Without leaving Berzocana, on a hill between the Joyuela and Sajorní streams can be found the remains of another fortified settlement known as Castrejón. It may be the settlement of this type in the area which was inhabited for the longest period, as it is recorded that it was in use until the Early Middle Ages. In the vicinity there are Roman remains and Visigothic tombs, this reveals how densely the area was settled over the centuries. The enclosure is protected by two lines of walls preceded by two moats.

Other enclaves with remains of this native culture are the fortified settlements of Retamosa and Fresnedoso de Ibor.