Iberian Chalcolithic

Chalcolithic means Copper & Stone Age, sometimes also known as "Copper Age". Besides copper, other soft metals like gold and silver were also worked. Most important was the increased social complexity and hierarchy, and also the increased trade, often across large distances. 

In the Iberian case there are three phases:
  1. Early pre-urban Chalcolithic: new burial styles (tholoi, excavated tumuli), beginnings of long distance trade with Northern Europe (amber) and North Africa (ivory, ostrich eggshells).
  2. Urban Chalcolithic I. Defined specially at the cultures of Los Millares (Andalusia) and Vila Nova de Sao Pedro (VNSP) around Zambujal (Portugal). Urban development specially in the southern peninsula.
  3. Urban Chalcolithic II. Defined at the same sites but with Bell Beaker as an occasional feature along the pre-existent cultural background.
Overall the Chalcolithic is Megalithic but not everywhere: in most of Eastern Iberia and much of the Center, dolmenic burials are very rare. However the known burials in caves are often "collective" (clannic) as well, with older burials making room for newly dead.

By contrast the scattered Bell Beaker burials are almost invariably individual, in fetal position, with a standard set of burial goods: beaker, flint arrow points, archer's bracelet, copper knife, gold spiral (pocket money)... for that reason they are often considered intrusive (the rituals seem to have precedents in Central Europe and have evolved there) and then it depends on opinions but often considered a religiously defined trader guild of some sort (maybe comparable to Jewish networks in Medieval Europe or Parsi ones in India?)

Bell Beaker has three subperiods:
  1. Genesis in Central Europe and first expansion in SW direction (the corded decorations of rather rustic vases evidence their links with Corded Ware, the main Western Indoeuropean culture of that time).
  2. Vilanovan period, centered in the civilization of Vila Nova de Sao Pedro (Portugal), the style is then the so called Maritime or International, usually the most commonly depicted (much more refined than the original Corded style). It was probably the apogee of both the Bell Beaker phenomenon and the civilization whose capital was Zambujal (which pre-dates BB and extends well beyond it).
  3. Late period: return to Bohemian centrality while in Iberia a diversification of styles is clearly appreciable: Palmela in Portugal, Almerian in Los Millares and Central or Ciempozuelos in the Plateau, prelude surely the development of the much more rustic cattle-herder culture of Cogotas I. 
Something that seems to be very confused all around is the actual extension of the Bell Beaker phenomenon. After being asked about it I hand-copied a scholarly map with some little extras as follows:

Click to enlarge

The map is copied (composite) from maps of a university manual from 1986, whose Chalcolithic section was authored by Manuel Pellicer, who followed R. Harrison 1977 in almost everything.

You can discuss this page in the relevant blogpost.

Video-appendix: Castro do Zambujal:

Probably just the tip of the iceberg of a much larger city. See German Archaeological Institute for more details on this key site.