Historical whaling in the Atlantic façade of the Iberian peninsula: from the past into the future (4-Oceans project)

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


Portugal has a long history of whaling and of interaction between whales and coastal communities. For more than a decade, we have been conducting research on this topic revealing the importance of medieval and early modern shore based whaling in the Atlantic façade of the Iberian Peninsula. This is supported in written sources, iconography and cartographic analysis, a review of the literature, but gaps are still present in our understanding of this long term activity of exploitation of marine megafauna. With the ERC Synergy grant 4-Oceans we are now able to add new typologies of data to our analysis through the collection of whales bones and its osteological and genetics analysis in integration with material from different parts of Europe. Furthermore, we are showing how these bones (from an archaeological excavation on the east coast of Portugal) crossed centuries and give us relevant information about the use of whales on the Atlantic coast of the Peninsula. How did these animals influence and shape our perception, our choices, actions, myths and symbols, our culture and way of life? Where are they today and how do we find these symbols of a coexistence and interaction not always peaceful and not always linear, but always a catalyst of change, fear and enchantment? Besides contributing to the history of whaling, we will try to rescue a long forgotten memory that is part of local cultural and natural heritage.
Period28 Nov 202230 Nov 2022
Event titleInternational Workshop Blue Garum - From oysters to whales: new perspectives on marine resources exploitation in the Roman empire
Event typeWorkshop
LocationCádiz, SpainShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational