Costal transitions: a comparative approach to the processes of neolithization in Atlantic Europe

Duration: 2012 ‐ 2014

Abstract: The project focuses on a comparative study of the processes of transition to the Neolithic in three regions of continental Atlantic Europe characterized by:

  • Relevant development of shell middens during the late Mesolithic
  • Relatively late transition to the Neolithic (at a large regional scale)
  • Importance of the megalithic phenomenon in early stages of local Neolithic

The selected regions are:

  • Southern Brittany
  • Cantabrian Spain
  • Lower Alentejo

Issues to be studied in each region:

  • Very detailed chronology of the shell middens
  • Taphonomy of shell midden deposits
  • Complementarities with other kinds of coeval sites
  • Very precise dating of the introduction of domestic species
  • Estimation of the relevance of marine resources in the diet of Mesolithic and early Neolithic populations
  • Technical transfers between Mesolithic and Neolithic groups (pottery, polished materials, projectiles)
  • Study of the spatial relationship between the Mesolithic settlement and the early spread of megalithic monuments
  • Economic, social and symbolic functions of the shell middens

Coordinator: Pablo Arias, Universidad de Cantabria

Participants: Cláudia Umbelino

Partner institutions: Spain: CSIC (Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales), Universidad de la Rioja, Universidad de Oviedo, Universidad del País Vasco, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Junta de Castilla y León, Gobierno de Navarra, Sociedad de Ciencias Aranzadi; Canada: University of Waterloo; France: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique; Germany: Max-Planck Institut für evolutionäre Anthropologie, Deutsche Archäologische Institut (Römisch ‐ Germanische Kommission), Johann Wolfgang Goethe ‐ Universität Frankfurt am Main; Ireland: University College Dublin; Portugal: Universidade de Lisboa, Universidade do Porto, Instituto de Gestão do Património Arquitectónico e Arqueológico, Museu Arqueológico de São Miguel de Odrinhas; Sweden: Uppsala Universitet; United Kingdom: University of Oxford.

Financial support: Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación – VI Plan Nacional de Investigación Científica, Desarrollo e Innovación Tecnológica 2008 ‐ 2011 (Subprograma de Proyectos de Investigación Fundamental no Orientada), Reference: HAR2011-29907-C03-00