Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 469–481 | Cite as

Macrobotanical remains and shell-midden formation processes, are they related? The case of Poças de São Bento (Portugal)

  • I. López-DórigaEmail author
  • M. Diniz
  • P. Arias
Original Paper


The analysis of plant macroremains from Poças de São Bento, a shell-midden in the Sado Valley (Portugal), has provided interesting insights into the shell-midden formation processes and the presence of resources which are often “invisible” in this kind of sites. Preservation and representation issues are discussed in a bidirectional way. Potential complementary explanations for the presence of such plant remains in hunter-gatherer open-air sites are offered. The understanding of plant exploitation patterns by these last hunter-gatherers in Portugal is crucial for the comprehension of the multifaceted phenomena of Neolithisations, in this case, characterised by a long availability phase and ultimate adoption of domesticates.


Mesolithic Neolithisation Archaeobotany Hunter-gatherers Taphonomy 



Most of the analytical work carried out for this paper was undertook with PhD funding from the University of Cantabria for the main author (IL-D). Fieldwork and radiocarbon dating were carried out in the framework of Sado-Meso project, an international collaborative project resultant from several research projects funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science (P.I.: Pablo Arias) “La implantación de las especies domésticas en la Europa atlántica” (DOMATLAN) (HAR2008-06477-C03-00/HIST), subproyecto 1: “La implantación de las especies domésticas en la Europa atlántica: Cronología e impacto en la dieta humana” (DOMATLANTICA) (HAR2008-06477-C03-01/HIST; “Coastal transitions: A comparative approach to the processes of neolithisation in Atlantic Europe ” (COASTTRAN) (HAR2011-29907-C03-01/HIST) , subproyecto 1: “From shell middens to crop fields: The transition to the Neolithic in the coastal regions of SW Europe”; “Coastal societies in a changing world: A diachronic and comparative approach to the Prehistory of SW Europe from the late Palaeolithic to the Neolithic” (COCHANGE) (HAR2014-51830-P) and the Portuguese Ministry of Education and Science (P.I.: Mariana Diniz) [“Retorno ao Sado: Um caso entre os últimos caçadores-recolectores e a emergência das sociedades agropastoráis no sul de Portugal” (PTDC/HIS-ARQ/121592/2010)].


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wessex Archaeology Portway House Old Sarum ParkSalisburyUK
  2. 2.Centro de Arqueologia (UNIARQ), Departamento de História, Faculdade de LetrasUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Instituto Internacional de Investigaciones Prehistóricas de Cantabria, Edificio InterfacultativoSantanderSpain

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