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Gutierrez-Zugasti I.,University of York | Andersen S.H.,Moesgard Museum | Araujo A.C.,Institute Gestao do Patrimonio Arquitectonico e Arqueologico | Dupont C.,French National Center for Scientific Research | And 2 more authors.
Quaternary International | Year: 2011

The formation of shell middens by hunter-gatherers and research into them has been a common field of study in different parts of Atlantic Europe. Although evidence of marine resource exploitation has been identified since the Middle Palaeolithic, and an increase can be seen during the Upper Palaeolithic, it is during the Mesolithic when true shell middens have been identified, apparently showing an increase in the exploitation of coastal areas. This paper summarizes the available information about the formation of shell middens and the exploitation of the coast in several regions of Atlantic Europe, and discusses the main research problems, as the differences in availability of information, the definition and characteristics of shell middens, the relation between shell middens and molluscan exploitation and the problems regarding the chronology of the sites. Finally, the paper proposes the main approaches that should be pursued by future research into this topic. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA. Source


Aubry T.,Institute Gestao do Patrimonio Arquitectonico e Arqueologico | Dimuccio L.A.,University of Coimbra | Almeida M.,Dryas Octopetala iDryas | Buylaert J.-P.,Technical University of Denmark | And 9 more authors.
Journal of Human Evolution | Year: 2012

This paper presents a geoarchaeological study of Middle and Upper Palaeolithic (Châtelperronian, Aurignacian and Solutrean) occupations preserved at the Bordes-Fitte rockshelter in Central France. The lithostratigraphic sequence is composed of near-surface sedimentary facies with vertical and lateral variations, in a context dominated by run-off and gravitational sedimentary processes. Field description and micromorphological analysis permit us to reconstruct several episodes of sediment slope-wash and endokarst dynamics, with hiatuses and erosional phases. The archaeostratigraphic succession includes Châtelperronian artefacts, inter-stratified between Middle Palaeolithic and Aurignacian occupations. Systematic refitting and spatial analysis reveal that the Châtelperronian point production and flake blanks retouched into denticulates, all recovered in the same stratigraphic unit, result from distinct and successive occupations and are not a 'transitional' Middle to Upper Palaeolithic assemblage. The ages obtained by 14C place the Châtelperronian occupation in the 41-48ka cal BP (calibrated thousands of years before present) interval and are consistent with the quartz optically stimulated luminescence age of 39±2ka and feldspar infra-red stimulated luminescence age of 45±2ka of the sediments. The Bordes-Fitte rockshelter sequence represents an important contribution to the debate about the characterization and timing of the Châtelperronian, as well as its affinities to earlier and later industries. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Zilhao J.,University of Bristol | Davis S.J.M.,Institute Gestao do Patrimonio Arquitectonico e Arqueologico | Duarte C.,Institute Gestao do Patrimonio Arquitectonico e Arqueologico | Soares A.M.M.,Technological and Nuclear Institute of Portugal | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Background: Neandertals and the Middle Paleolithic persisted in the Iberian Peninsula south of the Ebro drainage system for several millennia beyond their assimilation/replacement elsewhere in Europe. As only modern humans are associated with the later stages of the Aurignacian, the duration of this persistence pattern can be assessed via the dating of diagnostic occurrences of such stages. Methodology/Principal Findings: Using AMS radiocarbon and advanced pretreatment techniques, we dated a set of stratigraphically associated faunal samples from an Aurignacian III-IV context excavated at the Portuguese cave site of Pego do Diabo. Our results establish a secure terminus ante quem of ca.34,500 calendar years ago for the assimilation/replacement process in westernmost Eurasia. Combined with the chronology of the regional Late Mousterian and with less precise dating evidence for the Aurignacian II, they place the denouement of that process in the 37th millennium before present. Conclusions/Significance: These findings have implications for the understanding of the emergence of anatomical modernity in the Old World as a whole, support explanations of the archaic features of the Lagar Velho child's anatomy that invoke evolutionarily significant Neandertal/modern admixture at the time of contact, and counter suggestions that Neandertals could have survived in southwest Iberia until as late as the Last Glacial Maximum. © 2010 Zilhão et al. Source


Gonalves D.,University of Coimbra | Gonalves D.,Institute Gestao do Patrimonio Arquitectonico e Arqueologico | Campanacho V.,University of Coimbra | Campanacho V.,University of Lisbon | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine | Year: 2011

When creating a basic biological profile, determining the sex of subadult skeletal remains is always problematic and several methods for sex determination have been proposed over time. The lateral angle of the internal auditory canal has been described as a good sex predictor in adults, and here we test its reliability for sex determination of subadults. The reliability of this method was assessed on a sample of 47 Portuguese known sex and age skeletons representing individuals from birth to 15 years of age. The lateral angle was measured on-screen using the Adobe Photoshop CS2® software, from photographs of bissected lateral angle casts. The measurements were performed by three different researchers in order to evaluate intra- and inter-observer variation. Our results demonstrate reasonable repeatability and replicability of the on-screen measurements. We used a 45° sectioning point to allocate individuals in the sample according to sex and attained 62.9% accuracy in sex determination using the lateral angle. When broken down by age, the least accuracy was observed for the 6-15 years-old group (54.5%) and the greatest accuracy was achieved for the 2-5 years-old (75.0%), but still low overall. The use of a sample-specific sectioning point did not improve the results. Although sexual dimorphism is statistically significant between female and male subadults, the lateral angle failed to consistently discriminate individuals according to sex. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd and Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine. All rights reserved. Source


Coelho R.,University of Algarve | Monteiro P.,University of Algarve | Abecasis D.,University of Algarve | Blot J.Y.,Institute Gestao do Patrimonio Arquitectonico e Arqueologico | Goncalves J.M.S.,University of Algarve
Brazilian Journal of Oceanography | Year: 2012

The macrofauna assemblages of a XVIIth century shipwreck off southern Portugal were studied and compared with those of nearby natural reefs and sandy bottoms, by underwater visual census. A total of 11 173 specimens of 224 different fauna taxa and 12 phyla were recorded. Natural reefs had the highest density of specimens (35 122 / 1000 m2) followed by the shipwreck (21 392 / 1000 m2) and the sandy bottoms (3771 / 1000 m2). Three biodiversity indices were estimated (Margalef, Shannon- Wiener and Pielou), with the natural reefs showing the highest values. However, the shipwreck presented values relatively similar to those of the natural reefs for the Shannon-Wiener and Pielou indices. The three habitats were clearly distinguishable by multivariate statistical analysis, with the average dissimilarity between sand and shipwreck, and between sand and natural reefs being much higher than that between the shipwreck and the natural reefs. The shipwreck had higher abundances of some commercially important species, such as the pouting Trisopterus luscus, European conger Conger conger, and common spider crab Maja squinado, as well as some vulnerable and threatened species such as the pink seafan Eunicella verrucosa. The results presented emphasize the importance of this habitat on the southern Portuguese coast. Source

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