Located in the foothills of the north-western sector of the Estrela Mountain (Beira Alta province in central-north Portugal), Penedo dos Mouros Rock-shelter revealed a succession of three distinct archaeological horizons datable to the evolved Early Neolithic and initial Middle Neolithic, thus partially coinciding with the onset of the regional Megalithism. The find of a few caprine remains at least one possible sheep, among a large spectrum of species -swine, rabbit, hare, Iberian lynx and toad-, makes this site the oldest in the region to provide direct evidence for herding practices. Small-sized pots, expedient use of local lithic raw materials together with curated use of exogenous flint, and low density of artefacts indicate a strategy of residential mobility in line with similar evidence observed elsewhere in Beira Alta. Given previous claims of Neolithic vertical transhumance between montane plateaux -in the summer- and lowland plains -in the winter-, this hypothesis is here discussed -and refuted- based on spatial analysis of Neolithic sites, economic characterization of the period and local orographic and bioclimatic constraints.
- Beira Alta
- Settlement systems