Home 5 Projects 5 On Going 5 Bioarcheology of the Late Mesolithic, the last HUnter-Gatherers of Europe (Duration: 2023-2025)

Bioarcheology of the Late Mesolithic, the last HUnter-Gatherers of Europe (Duration: 2023-2025)

Duration: May 2023 – April 2025

Abstract: Climate and socio-cultural changes are major ongoing concerns in our modern societies, their impacts on past populations are also central to understand the evolution of the human species, its resilience, and its capacity to adapt to new environments. 8200 years ago, the Mesolithic populations (hunter-gatherers) from Portugal faced a climatic event that profoundly changed their environment in a similar way to what is expected to happen in the next decades. In addition to these challenges, they were also confronted with
the arrival of migrating Neolithic populations introducing farming, plant and animal domestication, and sedentism, gradually leading to the disappearance of the hunter-gatherer nomadic way of life.
MUGE project aims to unveil the life story of the last hunter-gatherers from the Tagus valley (Muge village) in Portugal and to understand whether the environmental, and socio-cultural changes during the Late Mesolithic (ca. 8200-7100 cal B.P.) impacted the composition and health of these past populations. Discovered 150 years ago and representing the largest European anthropological collection for the Mesolithic (more than 250 individuals), humans from Muge are still poorly studied from a biological perspective because of the state of preservation of the skeletons. Cutting-edge imaging techniques will allow us to correct the taphonomic alterations and go into great detail in the analysis of skeletal remains, providing crucial information about the biological profile of the individuals (age-at-death, sex, etc.), the structure of the populations, and their health status.
With more than 1000 years of occupation, Muge furnishes an ideal skeletal sample for exploring changes in health status through time and between sexes, adults, and non-adults but also between sites and understand the impact of each change on these populations. This project is the first to combine both palaeodemographic, palaeopathological, and palaeoimaging approaches to the Muge populations.

Coordinator: Dany Coutinho Nogueira (CIAS)

Supervisor: Cláudia Umbelino (CIAS), Ricardo Miguel Godinho.

Financial support: European Research Area (ERA) fellowship, HORIZON-WIDERA-2022-TALENTS-02-01, European Commission, 156 778.56€

Reference: 101090304 — MUGE — HORIZON-WIDERA-2022-TALENTS-02