The necropolis has been known in archaeological circles since 1920, when the results were published of the 1918 excavation work by Juan Cabré and Federico de Motos. However, interestingly enough, the actual discovery of the site dates back to 1914 when a woman from Galera had a dream which predicted that an abundance of precious treasures would be found in a location that she was guided to by the repeated revelations and images that she saw in her ‘visions.’ After that point, the people of the village partook in a series of treasure hunts, which brought about the discovery of several burial mounds. Subsequently, Federico de Motos carried out excavations between 1916 and 1917.
This collection of burial mounds at Tútugi surpasses more than one hundred tombs spread out over a very large area. Excavators divided the area into three zones:The tombs are characterized by:
- Chambers with square or rectangular floors built of masonry.
- They are covered by large flagstone, which, in some chambers, were supported by columns with sculpted capitals.
- Pavement and walls stuccoed with plaster and painted with beautiful geometric compositions and figures.
The variety of tombs, both in terms of their construction and the quality of their adornments, reveals the existence of a strong social stratification within this population. The richest tombs contain magnificent treasures in their chambers, such as Greek ceramics with red figures, intricately decorated water vessels, stone boxes used as funerary urns that feature painted orientalizing motifs, bronze cups, metallic artefacts and small sculptures of incredible quality, such as the famous alabaster figurine of a goddess known as the Dama of Galera (Lady of Galera).The location of the site, Cerro del Real, was declared a National Historical Monument in 1931.
It has most recently been restored and has received much deserved attention, thereby making the site easily accessible to the public.