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Forest resource management during Mesolithic-Neolithic transition: archaeobotanical studies in Coves del Fem site (NE Iberia)

AuthorsAlcolea, Marta; Revelles, Jordi; Berihuete, Marian; Piqué, Raquel ; Dufraisse, Alexa; Terradas-Batlle, Xavier ; Palomo, Antoni; Bogdanovic, I.; Rosillo, Rafael
Issue Date2019
PublisherCSIC - Institución Milá y Fontanals (IMF)
Citation1st Conference on the Early Neolithic of Europe : 78-79 (2019)
AbstractThis work focuses on the reconstruction of vegetal landscape and forest exploitation strategies during the Middle Holocene in the eastern Ebro valley (NE Iberia) filling an important gap of archaeobotanical data. The archaeological site Coves del Fem (Tarragona) contain a sequence of human occupation from late Mesolithic to Early Neolithic (6000-4500 cal BC). This research, based in a multi-proxy archaeobotanical analysis including palynology, carpology, anthracology and dendro-anthracology, allow a palaeoenvironmental and palaeoeconomic approach to the archaeological record. The palynological study suggest the existence of a dense forest landscape hardly affected by human impact (AP values higher than 80%). The composition of the vegetation during the Early Neolithic would be quite similar to the present-day, developed under continental Mediterranean climate conditions, with a prominent role of the pine forest (Pinus sp.). Wood charcoal analysis allowed to differentiate two types of pine taxa (Pinus type sylvestris and Pinus halepensis), with opposed ecological needs, suggesting altitudinal movements of bioclimatic belts. At the end of the Early Neolithic occupation (ca. 4900-4500 cal BC) the importance of pines decreases in parallel to the increase of oak and Mediterranean forest in the anthracological record. The consumption of wild taxa is accompanied by the first evidences of agriculture suggested by the presence of barely (Hordeum vulgare). Pine wood is the preferred fuel along the entire archaeological sequence as repeated throughout the inner mountain areas of the whole region during the first half of the Holocene. The application of dendro-anthracological tools as the measurements of tree-rings combined with the evaluation of pith-charcoal distance (based on trigonometric method tool) suggest a high consumption of pine branches from the gathering of natural pruning. Conifer trees produce a significant amount of available and easily accessible biomass that could be generally consumed by the last hunter-gatherers and the first famers of the Ebro valley.
Appears in Collections:(IMF) Comunicaciones congresos
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