The site of Madrid has been occupied since prehistoric times, as has been shown by numerous objects found during different excavations along the banks of the River Manzanares. Many of these objects (axes and small Palaeolithic objects, remains of animals that prove the existence of large mammals, Neolithic ceramics, etc.) can be seen at the National Archaeological Museum. Madrid’s population was initially Iberian and later Roman, and is possibly the Mantua found in certain ancient references and the Roman Miacum from the “Antonine itinerary”, although some historians dispute this.
It is now commonly believed that the original name of the settlement here was Matrice, a pre-Muslim word, which refers to the waters of the area and particularly to the stream running down the Calle de Segovia.