Surf and Turf: The Use of Marine and Terrestrial Resources in the Early Neolithic of Coastal Southern Portugal

  • Rebecca M. Dean
  • António Faustino Carvalho
Part of the Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology book series (IDCA)


Southern Portugal is an interesting case study in the spread of the Middle Eastern Neolithic complex. Similar to sites along the Mediterranean coast, the Portuguese Neolithic was the result of the longitudinal movement of agricultural adaptations. Plants and animals that originally evolved in southwest Asia, therefore, did not have to adapt to extreme changes in the length of the growing season, summer temperatures, or rainfall, as was the case with the latitudinal movement of agriculture into interior and northern Europe. Unlike their contemporaries along the Mediterranean, however, the Mesolithic and Neolithic inhabitants of Portugal had access to the rich marine resources of the Atlantic Ocean upwelling along the western coast of Europe allowed extensive exploitation of fish and shellfish by relatively complex and sedentary groups of foragers throughout the late Pleistocene and early Holocene, from Portugal to Scandinavia (Arias 1999). The large concheiros (shell midden sites) of Mesolithic Portugal are just one example of this phenomenon (Zilhão 1997).


Marine Resource Faunal Assemblage Faunal Remains Goose Barnacle Early Occupation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank Tiina Manne, Mary Stiner, and Nuno Bicho for the use of the Paleolithic faunal data from Vale Boi and Simon Davis for the identification of amphibian and bird remains from the Neolithic levels. Cristiana Santana helped with the identification of the fauna from Rocha das Gaivotas. Joseph Beaver wrote the database that was used in analyzing the fauna.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Social SciencesUniversity of Minnesota-MorrisMorrisUSA

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