Neolithic archaeology at the penedo dos mouros rock-shelter (Gouveia, Portugal) and the issue of primitive transhumance practices in the Estrela mountain range

Antonio Faustino Carvalho, Vera Pereira, Carlos Duarte, Catarina Tente

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4 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

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.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-38
Number of pages20
JournalZephyrus
Volume79
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Beira Alta
  • Livestock
  • Megalithism
  • Neolithic
  • Pastoralism
  • Settlement systems

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