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Ibanez J.J.,Institucion Mila y Fontanals | Ortega D.,Institucion Mila y Fontanals | Campos D.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Khalidi L.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Mendez V.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Journal of the Royal Society Interface | Year: 2015

In this paper, we explore the conditions that led to the origins and development of the Near Eastern Neolithic using mathematical modelling of obsidian exchange. The analysis presented expands on previous research, which established that the down-the-line model could not explain long-distance obsidian distribution across the Near East during this period. Drawing from outcomes of new simulations and their comparison with archaeological data, we provide results that illuminate the presence of complex networks of interaction among the earliest farming societies. We explore a network prototype of obsidian exchange with distant links which replicates the long-distance movement of ideas, goods and people during the Early Neolithic. Our results support the idea that during the first (Pre-Pottery Neolithic A) and second (Pre-Pottery Neolithic B) phases of the Early Neolithic, the complexity of obsidian exchange networks gradually increased. We propose then a refined model (the optimized distant link model) whereby long-distance exchange was largely operated by certain interconnected villages, resulting in the appearance of a relatively homogeneous Neolithic cultural sphere. We hypothesize that the appearance of complex interaction and exchange networks reduced risks of isolation caused by restricted mobility as groups settled and argue that these networks partially triggered and were crucial for the success of the Neolithic Revolution. Communities became highly dynamic through the sharing of experiences and objects, while the networks that developed acted as a repository of innovations, limiting the risk of involution. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

Gibaja J.F.,Institucion Mila y Fontanals | Ibanez J.J.,Institucion Mila y Fontanals | Nielsen E.,Kantonsarchaologie Luzern | Kienholz A.,Kantonsarchaologie Zurich | And 2 more authors.
Quaternary International | Year: 2016

The study of the use-wear marks on the Neolithic reaping knives from the site of Egolzwil 3 (Switzerland, late fifth millennium cal BC) shows that these tools were used to reap cereals by cutting the stems near the ground. The stems were gathered together using the pointed distal end, held in the free hand and cut with the flint blade, in what we term a two-stage reaping method. These types of sickles or reaping knives are found at Neolithic sites in the northern Mediterranean (centre and north of the Iberian Peninsula, Provence in France and continental Italy) from the mid-sixth millennium, in the context of the early Neolithic Cardial Culture, and lasted until the early fourth millennium. Within the tradition of two-stage reaping knives, the Egolzwil type would have been adapted to reaping at a low height in very dense cereal fields. These tools show that the Neolithic groups in the Swiss central plain belonged to the circle of northern Mediterranean farming technical traditions, in their northernmost expression, in contact with the groups in south Germany who reaped with curved sickles whose flint elements were inserted obliquely. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.

Marreiros J.,University of Algarve | Bicho N.,University of Algarve | Gibaja J.,Institucion Mila y Fontanals | Pereira T.,University of Algarve | Cascalheira J.,University of Algarve
Quaternary International | Year: 2015

The Gravettian is the most important phase for the technological and cultural setting of the Upper Paleolithic sequence in the Southwestern Iberian Peninsula. For the Gravettian record in this territory, the archaeological site of Vale Boi (Vila do Bispo, Cape St. Vicente, Portugal) provides one of the most complete chrono-stratigraphic sequences. This paper focus on technological and typological variability of the Gravettian lithic assemblages from Vale Boi, dated from c. 33 to c. 28kacalBP, and tests affinities with other Gravettian contexts from central Portugal and southern Spain. Technological analysis shows that Gravettian lithic assemblages from Vale Boi are characterized by reduction strategies focuses on flake and bladelet debitage. Backed technology represents the most important morph-type. However, instead of the so-called typical Gravettian points (i.e. Gravette and Microgravette points), the early Gravettian of Vale Boi is characterized by double backed and bipointed bladelets. Statistical analysis shows that data from Vale Boi represent a new insight on human technological and socio-cultural behaviour during the onset of Upper Paleolithic in Iberia. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.

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