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2016-06-16 03:10:06   •   ID: 1309

Mesolithic Pics from Portugal

Figure 1
Pics, made from medium sized beach pebbles from the Douro River, near Vila Nova de Gaia/ Portugal. Picks can be can be found at sites of virtually any pre- and protohistoric sites in Galicia and the Northern Atlantic Fassade of Portugal. In Northern Portugal, many surface collection of heavy duty stone tools include early and middle Paleolithic, Meso- and Neolithic artifacts.  

On the first hand our ensemble is similar to the Paleolithic material of Aculadero, on the Spanish coast near Cadiz, where numerous stone artifacts of a similar type were found in situ. On the other hand there are striking similarities with the Mesolithic “Asturian”ensembles of Northern Spain and I assume, that a Mesolithic age is far more probable for these items. A nice example of a misleading typological approach!

In Europe, there are several Mesolithic technologies that are macrolithic, sometimes associated with and at other times unassociated with microliths. Some of the best known are coastal semisedentary “cultures”, associated with large shell middens, such as the Ertebølle complex of Northern Europe, the Asturian of Cantabria or similar industries along the shores of Galicia and Northern Portugal.

The Asturian is securely dated to the late Preboreal, the Boreal and the early Atlantic. The Asturian and Asturian like-Industries of the Iberian Peninsula are characterized by cobble picks, choppers and simple flakes.

Figure 2
Typically these artifacts were made from local greywacke or quartzite and were used for plant and/or mollusk collection and processing.

These macrolithic sites are strictly coastal, while, just a few kilometers away in the montane hinterland, there are contemporaneous sites with abundant microliths, made of flint and presumably related to hunting activities.

Figure 2: Asturian artefacts from Obermaiers "Fossil Man in Spain" (1924)


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