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Fonelas (Municipality, Andalusia, Spain)

Last modified: 2020-04-25 by ivan sache
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Flag of Fonelas - Image from the Símbolos de Granada website, 19 May 2014

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Presentation of Fonelas

The municipality of Fonelas (1,051 inhabitants in 2013; 9,600 ha; municipal website) is located 70 km north-west of Granada.

Fonelas was already settled in the First Age of Bronze, as evidenced by 70 dolmens scattered in different groups and by the archeological sites of Cerro Gallo and Solana de Zamborino. In the Roman period, a big villa was established to grow grapevine and a dense network of paths was set up for the sake of agriculture.
During the Arab occupation, the villa was succeeded by a fortified estate (alquería) located on the border with the Christian territories and protected by four watch towers. conquered in 1489 by the Catholic Monarchs, Fonelas was subsequently transferred to Álvaro de Bazán, and eventually incorporated to a bigger domain ruled by the Afán de Ribera family.

The Fonelas P-1 paleontological site, discovered in 2000, was proclaimed a "Place of Spanish Geological Interest with International Relevance by the Spanish Institute of Geology and Mineralogy" (website), in the category "Vertebrates of the Spanish Pliocene-Pleistocene". The excavations that started in 2001 have yielded fossils of several extinct species, such as Mammuthis meridionalis (southern mammoth), Eucladoceros sp. (bush-antlered deer), Homotherium latidens (scimitar-toothed cat), Acinonyx pardinensis (giant cheetah), Meles iberica (Iberian badger, a new species described in 2007 by A. Arribas and G. Garrido) and Pachycrocuta brevirostris (giant hyena), as well as remains of several species still iving (dogs, horses, hyenas, bushpigs, fox, gazelles, goats...).

Ivan Sache, 19 May 2014

Symbols of Fonelas

The flag and arms of Fonelas, adopted on 12 March 2003 by the Municipal Council and validated on 24 July 2003 by the Royal Academy of Córdoba, are prescribed by Decree No. 276, adopted on 30 September 2003 by the Government of Andalusia and published on 20 October 2003 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 201, pp. 21,854-21,855 (text). This was confirmed by a Decree adopted on 30 November 2004 by the Directorate General of the Local Administration and published on 20 December 2004 in the official gazette of Andalusia, No. 246, pp. 28,986-29,002 (text).
The symbols are prescribed as follows:

Flag: Rectangular, in proportions 2:3, made of three vertical stripes in proportions 1/4, 1/2 and 1/4, the outer checky black and yellow and the central red with the white Fonelas stele in the middle.
Coat of arms: Gules an anthropomorphic stele argent, a bordure checky or and sable. The shield surmounted by a Royal Spanish crown closed.

The "anthropomorphic stele" is indeed a funerary stone stele engraved with an anthropomorphic figure, which was found in Fonseca in the Moreno 3 group of dolmens. The Fonelas megalithic necropolis was described in detail by J.E. Ferrer, I. Marqués, A. Baldomero, M. García Sánchez and S.A. Jiménez Brober, La necrópolis megalítica de Fonelas (Granada), Noticiario Arqueológico Hispánico, 1980, 30:21-82. The Fonelas stele is kept in the Archeology and Ethnology Museum of Granada (presentation).
The field and the bordure recalls the arms of Álvaro de Bazán, "Gules checky of 15 or and sable".

Ivan Sache & Klaus-Michael Schneider, 19 May 2014