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Technology, use-wear and raw material sourcing analysis of a c. 7500 cal BP lithic assemblage from Cabeço da Amoreira shellmidden (Muge, Portugal)

  • Eduardo Paixão
  • João Marreiros
  • Telmo Pereira
  • Juan Gibaja
  • João Cascalheira
  • Nuno Bicho
Original Paper

Abstract

The onset of the Holocene is marked by new human ecological adaptations that are associated with the origins of the Mesolithic in the Atlantic Iberia coast. During the Mesolithic, shellmidden deposits become one of the most relevant and interesting prehistoric archeological contexts, interpreted has the result of intensive human ecological exploitation, and marked by new settlement and mobility patterns, and subsistence strategies. Based on techno-typological patterns and artifact density, each Muge shellmidden has been traditionally linked to a single and specific functionality, possibly reflecting the presence of different stylistic/ethnic groups in the territory. Therefore, characterizing settlement, mobility, site function, and technological patterns in each shellmidden is fundamental to understand the archeological record and answer major questions related to human ecological behavior during the onset of the new Holocene climatic setting. This paper presents new data on the Mesolithic from the Tagus valley, using the case study of the lithic assemblage from layer 2 of Cabeço da Amoreira shellmidden. From our interpretation, by combining lithic raw material characterization and sourcing, techno-typological and use-wear analysis, this study aims to represent an important step on understanding resource exploitation, technological systems and site function, in order to address intra and inter-site variability. In what concerns lithic raw materials, they can be found in the Pleistocene gravels that compose the upper section of the Cenozoic deposits of the River Tagus, including those underneath the site. Nevertheless, the geochemical results suggest that the chert used has correspondence with local, regional, and exogenous areas. In sum, by characterizing the Cabeço da Amoreira shellmidden lithic assemblage, results and data aim to contribute to the discussion and new interpretations on shellmiddens’ function and settlement occupation patterns during the Mesolithic.

Keywords

Mesolithic Lithic technology, use-wear analysis Raw material sourcing, human settlement, and mobility 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank for all the support of Casa Cadaval and the land owner of the estate for the location of the Cabeço da Amoreira. Finally, the authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions, which help to improve the final submitted manuscript.

Funding information

The authors would also like to thank the FCT (Science Portuguese Foundation) that funded the fieldwork. Project: PTDC/HIS-ARQ/112156/2009 “MUGE.”

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eduardo Paixão
    • 1
    • 2
  • João Marreiros
    • 2
    • 1
  • Telmo Pereira
    • 1
  • Juan Gibaja
    • 3
    • 1
  • João Cascalheira
    • 1
  • Nuno Bicho
    • 1
  1. 1.ICArEHB - Interdisciplinary Center for Archaeology and Evolution of Human BehaviorUniversity of AlgarveFaroPortugal
  2. 2.TraCEr. MONREPOS, Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution, RGZMNeuwiedGermany
  3. 3.Institució Milà i Fontanals (CSIC-IMF) Consejo Superior de Investigaciones CientíficasBarcelonaSpain

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