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Prehistoric Human Adaptations in Catalonia (Spain)

Jean Guilaine, Michel Barbaza, David Geddes, Jean-Louis Vernet, Miguel Llongueras and Maria Hopf
Journal of Field Archaeology
Vol. 9, No. 4 (Winter, 1982), pp. 407-416
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
DOI: 10.2307/529679
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/529679
Page Count: 10
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Prehistoric Human Adaptations in Catalonia (Spain)
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Abstract

As part of an interdisciplinary project investigating postglacial human adaptations in Catalonia, Spain, a sequence of Epipaleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Bronze Age sites has been excavated which provides insight into human exploitation of an upland area of the Llobregat valley. The study region is a set of plateaux (700-1,000 m. in elevation) situated at the current limit of Mediterranean and montane climatic regimes and vegetational associations. The late glacial wooded steppe was replaced by a deciduous oak association during the early Postglacial. The faunal association shows a corresponding shift from a mixture of montane species (ibex, chamois) and mixed forest animals (deer, boar) to one composed exclusively of the latter, although rabbit is always predominant. After 4,000 B.C. significant human impact upon the oak forest is marked by the extension of boxwood, and domestic sheep and goat replace the wild fauna. The Balma del Gai (8,000 B.C.) demonstrates an evolutionary relationship between the microlaminar and geometric industries of the Epipaleolithic in Mediterranean Spain. At the Balma de l'Espluga, an Early Neolithic, Cardial impressed ware level succeeds a final Mesolithic industry based on triangles and trapezes. The Cueva del Toll then shows the passage from Early to Middle Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures. The evidence as a whole suggests that these sites played specialized roles in their respective economic systems, which drew on a wider region over the annual cycle. Prehistoric groups utilized the study zone for the surveillance of wild or domestic herbivores, but the consumption of local resources (small game, plants) has had the greatest impact on the process of archaeological site formation.

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