BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access September 15, 2021

Mountains, Herds and Crops: Notes on New Evidence from the Early Neolithic in the Southern Central Pyrenees

Ermengol Gassiot-Ballbè, Niccolò Mazzucco, Sara Díaz-Bonilla, Laura Obea-Gómez, Javier Rey-Lanaspa, Marcos Barba-Pérez, David Garcia-Casas, David Rodríguez-Antón, Guillem Salvador-Baiges, Tona Majó-Ortín and Ignacio Clemente-Conte
From the journal Open Archaeology

Abstract

After years of intense fieldwork, our knowledge about the Neolithisation of the Pyrenees has considerably increased. In the southern central Pyrenees, some previously unknown Neolithic sites have been discovered at subalpine and alpine altitudes (1,000–1,500 m a.s.l.). One of them is Cueva Lóbrica, 1,170 m a.s.l., which has an occupation phase with impressed pottery dated ca. 5400 cal BCE. Another is Coro Trasito, 1,558 m a.s.l., a large rock shelter that preserves evidence of continuous occupations in the Early Neolithic, 5300–4600 cal BCE. Evidence of human occupation at higher altitudes has also been documented. In the Axial Pyrenees, at the Obagues de Ratera rock shelter, 2,345 m a.s.l., an occupation has been dated to around 5730–5600 cal BCE. At Cova del Sardo, in the Sant Nicolau Valley, at 1,780 m a.s.l., a series of occupations have been excavated, dated to ca. 5600–4500 cal BCE. These sites allow us to discuss patterns of occupation of the mountainous areas between the Late Mesolithic and Early Neolithic. Recent data suggest that the last hunter–gatherer occupied all altitudinal stages of the Pyrenees, both in the outer and inner ranges. A change in the settlement pattern seems to have occurred in the Early Neolithic, which consisted of a concentration of occupations in the valley bottom and mid-slopes, in biotopes favourable to both herding and agriculture.

1 Introduction

The Pyrenees were, for long, overlooked by archaeologists and considered to have had only a marginal role in the process of Neolithisation of the western Mediterranean. Until 30 years ago, the only Early Neolithic site known in the inner sector of the central Pyrenees was Balma de la Margineda (Guilaine & Martluff, 1995). Today, the number of sites dated between ca. 5700 and 4500 cal BCE in this region have considerably increased (Table 1). Most of them are in the southern Pyrenees, in the basins of the rivers Segre and Cinca. This sector of the mountain range, which has an east-west extension of about 125 km, hosts all the highest peaks of the Pyrenees (Aneto 3,404 m a.s.l., Posets 3,369 m a.s.l. and Monte Perdido 3,355 m a.s.l.). In this area, Neolithic sites are located at different altitudes. Balma de la Margineda is one of the sites located at the lowest altitude not far from the confluence of the rivers Valira and Segre. Conversely, recently excavated sites are located at mid and high altitudes, such as the open-air site Camp del Colomer (Fortó & Vidal, 2016), Cova de Els Trocs (Rojo et al., 2013, 2015b), Coro Trasito (Clemente et al., 2016), Cova del Sardo (Gassiot et al., 2015, 2017; Mazzucco, Clemente, & Gassiot, 2019), Abric de les Obagues de Ratera (Gassiot et al., 2020) and Abric de l’Estany de la Coveta I (Gassiot, 2016). Other Neolithic sites are located in the outer areas of the mountain range, such as the recently excavated Cova Colomera (Oms et al., 2015), Cova Gran (Mora, Benito, Martinez-Moreno, González-Marcén, & De la Torre, 2011) and other cave sites excavated during the last decades of the twentieth century, such as Cova del Parco (Petit, 1996), Forcas II (Utrilla & Mazo, 2014), Cueva Chaves (Baldellou, 2011; Mazzucco, Clemente, Gassiot, & Gibaja, 2015; Utrilla & Laborda-Lorente, 2018), Cueva del Moro de Olvena (Baldellou & Utrilla, 1995) and the open-air site Font del Ros (Pallarés, Bordas, & Mora, 1997; Terradas, Mora, Plana, Parpal, & Martínez-Moreno, 1992), just to cite a few of the most relevant archaeological sites.

Table 1

Summary of sites mentioned in the text

Site Type Altitude (m a.s.l.) Basin Location
Cova Gran Cave/Rockshelter 385 Segre Outer ranges
Forcas II Cave/Rockshelter 400 Ésera Outer ranges
Cova del Parco Cave/Rockshelter 420 Segre Outer ranges
Cueva del Moro de Olvena Cave/Rockshelter 450 Ésera Outer ranges
Font del Ros Open air 466 Llobregat Outer ranges
Cueva Chaves Cave/Rockshelter 663 Cinca Outer ranges
Cova Colomera Cave/Rockshelter 670 Noguera Ribagorçana Outer ranges
Esplugón Cave/Rockshelter 800 Gállego Outer ranges
Balma Margineda Cave/Rockshelter 993 Valira Axial Pyrenees
Cueva Lobrica Cave/Rockshelter 1,170 Cinca Axial Pyrenees
Puyascada Cave/Rockshelter 1,320 Cinca Axial Pyrenees
Camp del Colomer Open air 1,385 Valira Axial Pyrenees
Cova de Els Trocs Cave/Rockshelter 1,558 Ésera Axial Pyrenees
Coro Trasito Cave/Rockshelter 1,561 Cinca Axial Pyrenees
Cova del Sardo Cave/Rockshelter 1,780 Noguera Ribagorçana Axial Pyrenees
Dolmen de la Font dels Coms Open air 1,850 Noguera Pallaresa Axial Pyrenees
Pla del Orri Open air 2,150 Segre Axial Pyrenees
Obagues de Ratera Cave/Rockshelter 2,320 Noguera Pallaresa Axial Pyrenees
Orris de la Torbera de Perafita I Open air 2,365 Valira Axial Pyrenees
Abric de l’Estany de la Coveta I Cave/Rockshelter 2,446 Noguera Pallaresa Axial Pyrenees

In light of all the new data generated by new excavations and surveys, today, it is possible to revise the Neolithisation process of the area. Until now, proposed models tended to emphasise the role of lowland areas as the focus of Neolithisation in the entire region, connected to the arrival of the first farming communities in the coastal areas of southern France and the north-eastern Iberian Peninsula. Seafaring farmers would have first settled the littoral and pre-littoral areas, then rapidly spread into the inner territories (García-Puchol, Diez-Castillo, & Pardo-Gordó, 2018; Oms, Terradas, Morell, & Gibaja, 2018). Nevertheless, other authors have suggested that the early dates obtained from the charcoal samples from Balma de la Margineda (ca. 6050–5470 cal BCE) and Cueva Chaves (ca. 5800–5550 cal BCE) might indicate a trans-Pyrenean route of Neolithic diffusion directly from southern France (Cabanilles & Martí-Oliver, 1997; Utrilla, 2012; Utrilla & Domingo, 2014). Recent radiocarbon dates on charred cereal caryopsis recovered from flotation material from Balma de la Margineda partially confirmed such scenario (Manen et al., 2019) Moreover, the dates suggest that the Pyrenees might have played an active role in the Neolithisation process in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula and not a secondary or marginal area of diffusion. In this study, we discuss the Neolithisation of the Pyrenees by integrating available evidence with the data obtained from recent excavation of archaeological sites located in the interior sector of the mountain range, such as Abric de Les Obagues de Ratera, Cova del Sardo de Boí, Els Trocs and Coro Trasito (Figure 1).

Figure 1 
               Geographical framework and sites cited in the text. (1) Abrigo de l’Esplugón; (2) Cueva de Chaves; (3) Cueva Lóbrica; (4) Coro Trasito; (5) La Puyascada; (6) Cueva del Moro de Olvena; (7) Abrigo de las Forcas II; (8) Els Trocs; (9) Cova Colomera; (10) Cova Gran; (11) Cova del Parco; (12) Cova del Sardo; (13) Obagues de Ratera; (14) Abric de l’Estany de la Coveta I; (15) Dolmen de la Font dels Coms; (16) Balma de la Margineda; (17) Camp del Colomer; (18) Orris de la Torbera de Perafita I; (19) Font del Ros; and (20) Pla del Orri.

Figure 1

Geographical framework and sites cited in the text. (1) Abrigo de l’Esplugón; (2) Cueva de Chaves; (3) Cueva Lóbrica; (4) Coro Trasito; (5) La Puyascada; (6) Cueva del Moro de Olvena; (7) Abrigo de las Forcas II; (8) Els Trocs; (9) Cova Colomera; (10) Cova Gran; (11) Cova del Parco; (12) Cova del Sardo; (13) Obagues de Ratera; (14) Abric de l’Estany de la Coveta I; (15) Dolmen de la Font dels Coms; (16) Balma de la Margineda; (17) Camp del Colomer; (18) Orris de la Torbera de Perafita I; (19) Font del Ros; and (20) Pla del Orri.

2 The Beginning of the Neolithic in the Southern Central Pyrenees: Archaeological Data

2.1 The Last Hunter–Gatherers in the Central Pyrenees (8200–5600 cal BCE)

Groups of hunter–gatherers were occupying the mountainous area of the Pyrenees and pre-Pyrenees since the final phases of the Pleistocene, as testified for example from sites such as Montlleó (1134 m a.s.l.) (Mangado et al., 2010, 2011), Balma Guilanyà (1157 m a.s.l.) (Casanova, Martínez-Moreno, & Mora, 2006; Martínez & Mora, 2009) and Balma de la Margineda (Guilaine & Martluff, 1995). Magdalenian occupations are widespread in all the outer ranges of the Pyrenean areas (Langlais et al., 2012; Mangado et al., 2010; Mas et al., 2018; Utrilla et al., 2012), but hunter–gatherers did not penetrate the Axial. It is only after the Younger Dryas (10700–9700 cal BCE), which was an especially cold period in the area of investigation (Catalan et al., 2013; Fernandes, Oliva, Palma, Ruiz-Fernández, & Lopes, 2017; Pèlachs et al., 2012), that traces of human presence start to be detected at higher altitudes (Gassiot et al., 2017).

The first evidence of the presence of hunter–gatherer groups in the subalpine and alpine belt consists of rather ephemeral occupations, associated with brief occupations of both open-air and cave contexts. One example is the megalithic burial at the Dolmen de la Font dels Coms, located in a secondary valley of the Noguera Pallaresa River. Here, charcoal from a post-hole under the tombstone has been dated to 8750–8560 cal BCE (Gassiot, 2016). The feature is associated to an occupation layer about 30 cm under the megalithic tumulous, rather poor in archaeological materials, consisting of only a few lithic flakes. A similar chronology is indicated by charcoal from Orris de la Torbera de Perafita I dated between 8765 and 8480 cal BCE (Orengo, Palet, Ejarque, Miras, & Riera, 2014). A stratigraphic survey realised in a hut dated to the medieval period revealed the presence of underlying occupational layers with relatively abundant lithic remains, documenting a flake-based technology on non-flint raw materials. Somewhat more recent is the occupation of the Obagues de Ratera rock shelter, in the upper sector of the Espot Valley, in the National Park of Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici (Figure 2). A combustion structure was excavated in the glacial till soil and later delimited by a series of vertically placed, flat stones. Its interior contained a darkish and charcoal-rich sediment (wood charcoal probably) from a twig of pine (Pinus sylvestris/uncinata type) that gave a date of 8180–7725 cal BCE (Gassiot et al., 2020).

Figure 2 
                  General view of Obagues de Ratera rockshelter during its excavation in 2015.

Figure 2

General view of Obagues de Ratera rockshelter during its excavation in 2015.

This pattern, with brief occupations associated with combustion structures and a sparse material record, continues during the seventh millennium and first half of the sixth millennium as well. At the rock shelter, Abric de l’Estany de la Coveta I, also in the National Park of Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici, an occupational layer with a small hearth dated to 7000–6575 cal BCE was excavated. The scarce, associated lithic assemblage included a flake used for hide scraping (Gassiot, 2016). At the Obagues de Ratera rock shelter, the second phase of occupation is dated to between 5732 and 5638 cal BCE. The date was obtained from a small branch of pine from a combustion area in the interior part of the rock shelter. During this phase, an alignment of stones was placed under the cave vault, probably to support a wooden wall, while a hearth was placed in the interior of the shelter. A series of geometric backed tools (triangles, trapezes and segment) were recovered from the sediment around the hearth, including tools made of raw materials that were derived from the more external ranges of the Pyrenees and the Ebro Basin, more than 60–50 km from the site, but also from locally available rock crystal. Geometric tools include abrupt retouched trapezes and triangles and double-bevelled triangles and segments (Figure 3). This, small but interesting, set of tools show strong resemblance with the contemporary assemblages from sites located at lower altitudes, in particular, Forcas II layer V (Utrilla & Mazo, 2014) and the Esplugón layer 3sup (Utrilla et al., 2016), which are considered to attest the introduction of technical innovations in the retouch modes of the geometric tips (i.e. double-bevelled retouch).

Figure 3 
                  Geometric microliths from the second phase of occupation at Obagues de Ratera (5732–5638 cal BCE). Legend: (a) trapezes (direct abrupt retouch), (b) trapeze (alternate abrupt retouch), (c) trapeze (alternate abrupt retouch), (d) triangle (direct abrupt retouch), (e) triangles (double-bevelled), and (f) segments (double-bevelled).

Figure 3

Geometric microliths from the second phase of occupation at Obagues de Ratera (5732–5638 cal BCE). Legend: (a) trapezes (direct abrupt retouch), (b) trapeze (alternate abrupt retouch), (c) trapeze (alternate abrupt retouch), (d) triangle (direct abrupt retouch), (e) triangles (double-bevelled), and (f) segments (double-bevelled).

A similar chronology has been provided by a layer underlying the medieval hut P009 excavated at Orris de la Torbera de Perafita I, in Andorra (Orengo et al., 2014). Charcoal from the occupational layer has been dated to 5610–5475 cal BCE. A contemporary date of 5610–5380 cal BCE was provided by pine charcoal (Pinus nigra) dated from a hearth of Phase 9 at the Cova del Sardo rock shelter, a site located in the Sant Nicolau Valley (Gassiot et al., 2014, 2015). In all these contexts no pottery fragments have been recovered. While Abric de l’Estany de la Coveta, Cova del Sardo-Phase 9 and Orris de la Torbera de Perafita I are characterised by a poor material record, the lithic assemblage from Obagues de Ratera is, however, relatively more abundant including more than 200 lithic remains. In the eastern Pyrenees, a similar context can be found at the Pla del Orri site on the Enveig Mountain. The site, which presents several occupations dated to the final phases of the Neolithic, is characterised by a brief episode of occupation dating to 5617–5390 cal BCE (Mercadal et al., 2021).

The above-mentioned sites indicated that, at least since 8600 cal BCE, groups of hunter–gatherers frequented alpine altitudes. High-altitude sites attest brief occupations probably associated with occasional hunting episodes and the creation of overnight shelters during displacements through the mountains. In these sites, the archaeological record is always rather poor and reflects short stays. Chert from the outer areas of the Pyrenees is occasionally found in these sites but always in very small quantities, suggesting that reserves of knappable raw materials were not needed. Simultaneously, valley bottoms and the outer pre-Pyrenean ranges were also occupied by groups of hunter–gatherers, as documented by the layers C5/6 and C4 at Balma de la Margineda (Guilaine & Martluff, 1995), layers I, II and IV at Forcas II (Utrilla & Mazo, 2014) and layers 6–3 at Esplugón (Utrilla et al., 2016). All these sites show long stratigraphic sequences with repeated episodes of occupation distributed over several millennia. The great quantity of material remains suggest a more prolonged and stable occupation. Therefore, a dual pattern can be observed with the larger and more prolonged occupation at lower altitudes and briefer and more ephemeral stays in the alpine and subalpine belt. This model would last until at least 5600 cal BCE or 5400 cal BCE if we consider the dates from Orris de la Torbera de Perafita I and Cova del Sardo-Phase 9 to be correct (Table 2).

Table 2

List of 14C dates cited in the text. Calibration curve used: INTCAL13

Basin Site Layer/Context Method Material Lab code BP (+/–) cal AC (2σ) Reference
Gállego Esplugón 3 sup/3 AMS Bone Beta-313517 6730 40 5720 5564 Utrilla et al., 2016
Esplugón 3 inf AMS Bone Beta-306723 6950 50 5975 5730 Utrilla et al., 2016
Esplugón Pit with pottery at 167 cm AMS Bone Beta-283899 6120 40 5209 4944 Utrilla et al., 2016
Esplugón 2 AMS Bone Beta-338509 5970 30 4945 4730 Utrilla et al., 2016
Cinca Coro Trasito Layer 3013 base, Test pit AMS Tritticum sp. CNA-2944.1.1 6269 33 5319 5077 Clemente et al., 2020
Coro Trasito Layer B-2B1 AMS Acorn Beta-512244 6190 30 5286 5039 Clemente et al., 2020
Coro Trasito Layer 3013, Test pit AMS Bone Beta-366546 6150 40 5215 4960 Clemente et al., 2020
Coro Trasito Layer 3010, Test pit AMS Corylus avellana (seed) Beta-358571 5990 40 4996 4784 Clemente et al., 2020
Coro Trasito Layer 3006 base, Test pit AMS Hordeum vulgare var. nudum ETH-88905 5928 75 5000 4611 Clemente et al., 2020
Coro Trasito Layer 3002, Test pit AMS Corylus avellana (seed) CNA-2520.1.1 5830 35 4791 4555 Clemente et al., 2020
Coro Trasito Storage pit A-3B19 AMS Corylus avellana (seed) Beta-491700 5700 30 4653 4452 Clemente et al., 2020
Coro Trasito Layer 3005-inferior AMS Corylus avellana (seed) ETH-88906 5609 25 4496 4358 Clemente et al., 2020
Cueva Lobrica Hearth,Test pit 2 AMS Wood charcoal CL2015-4611.1.1 6410 35 5474 5316 Clemente et al., 2020
Puyascada Test pit 1, layer 1 Conventional Wood charcoal CSIC-384 5930 60 4988 4683 Baldellou, 1987
Puyascada Test pit 3, layer 2b Conventional Wood charcoal CSIC-382 5580 70 4583 4264 Baldellou, 1987
Puyascada Test pit 3, layer 2b Conventional Wood charcoal CSIC-383 4560 80 3522 3020 Baldellou, 1987
Cueva de Chaves 1b Conventional Wood charcoal GrN-12685 6770 70 5802 5554 Utrilla & Laborda-Lorente, 2018
Cueva de Chaves 1b Conventional Wood charcoal GrN-12683 6650 80 5715 5476 Utrilla & Laborda-Lorente, 2018
Cueva de Chaves 1b AMS Ovis aries GrA-38022 6580 35 5617 5477 Utrilla & Laborda-Lorente, 2018
Cueva de Chaves 1b Conventional Wood charcoal GrA-34258 6530 40 5612 5381 Utrilla & Laborda-Lorente, 2018
Cueva de Chaves 1b Conventional Wood charcoal GrN-13604 6490 40 5534 5363 Utrilla & Laborda-Lorente, 2018
Cueva de Chaves 1b AMS Ovis aries UCIAMS-66317 6470 25 5480 5375 Utrilla & Laborda-Lorente, 2018
Cueva de Chaves 1b Conventional Wood charcoal CSIC-378 6460 70 5604 5230 Utrilla & Laborda-Lorente, 2018
Cueva de Chaves 1b Conventional Wood charcoal GrA-34257 6410 40 5475 5314 Utrilla & Laborda-Lorente, 2018
Cueva de Chaves 1b silos AMS Corylus avellana GrA-28341 6380 40 5474 5223 Utrilla & Laborda-Lorente, 2018
Cueva de Chaves 1b Conventional Wood charcoal GrA-34256 6335 40 5463 5215 Utrilla & Laborda-Lorente, 2018
Cueva de Chaves 1b Conventional Wood charcoal GrN-13602 6330 90 5477 5061 Utrilla & Laborda-Lorente, 2018
Cueva de Chaves 1a Conventional Wood charcoal GrN-13605 6330 70 5475 5078 Utrilla & Laborda-Lorente, 2018
Cueva de Chaves 1a Conventional Wood charcoal GrN-13603 6260 100 5473 4958 Utrilla & Laborda-Lorente, 2018
Cueva de Chaves 1a AMS Human bone CSIC-379 6230 70 5356 4997 Utrilla & Laborda-Lorente, 2018
Cueva de Chaves 1a AMS Human bone GrA-26912 6230 45 5308 5051 Utrilla & Laborda-Lorente, 2018
Cueva de Chaves 1a AMS Human bone MAMS-28127 6227 28 5302 5061 Utrilla & Laborda-Lorente, 2018
Cueva de Chaves 1a AMS Human bone D-AMS15831 6180 54 5302 4991 Utrilla & Laborda-Lorente, 2018
Cueva de Chaves 1b int Conventional Wood charcoal CSIC-381 6120 70 5284 4846 Utrilla & Laborda-Lorente, 2018
Ésera Els Trocs Els Trocs I AMS Human bone Mams - 16163 6285 25 5312 5213 Rojo et al., 2013
Els Trocs Els Trocs I AMS Human bone Mams - 16159 6280 25 5312 5212 Rojo et al., 2013
Els Trocs Els Trocs I AMS Human bone Mams - 16164 6249 25 5308 5073 Rojo et al., 2013
Els Trocs Els Trocs I AMS Human bone Mams - 16168 6249 28 5309 5073 Rojo et al., 2013
Els Trocs Els Trocs I AMS Human bone Mams - 16166 6234 28 5304 5065 Rojo et al., 2013
Els Trocs Els Trocs I AMS Human bone Mams - 16162 6218 24 5298 5059 Rojo et al., 2013
Els Trocs Els Trocs I AMS Human bone Mams - 16161 6217 25 5298 5057 Rojo et al., 2013
Els Trocs Els Trocs I AMS Seed Beta - 316512 6080 40 5206 4846 Rojo et al., 2013
Els Trocs Els Trocs I AMS Seed Beta - 284150 6070 40 5205 4843 Rojo et al., 2013
Els Trocs Els Trocs I AMS Bone Beta - 295782 6060 40 5203 4841 Rojo et al., 2013
Els Trocs Els Trocs I AMS Seed Beta - 316514 6050 40 5201 4837 Rojo et al., 2013
Cueva del Moro de Olvena Ov. 2 intacto Conventional Wood charcoal GrN-12119 6550 130 5719 5223 Baldellou & Utrilla, 1985
Forcas II Layer Ib AMS Wood charcoal Beta/CAMS-59997/5354 8650 70 7942 7548 Utrilla & Mazo, 2014
Forcas II Layer II Conventional Wood charcoal GrN-22686 7240 40 6221 6022 Utrilla & Mazo, 2014
Forcas II Layer II AMS Animal bone Beta-250944 7150 40 6076 5921 Utrilla & Mazo, 2014
Forcas II Layer II Conventional Wood charcoal Beta-59995 7090 30 6026 5893 Utrilla & Mazo, 2014
Forcas II Layer IV AMS Human bone Beta-290932 7000 40 5985 5774 Utrilla & Mazo, 2014
Forcas II Layer V Conventional Wood charcoal GrN-22687 6970 130 6068 5632 Utrilla & Mazo, 2014
Forcas II Layer V Conventional Wood charcoal Beta-60773 6940 40 5968 5729 Utrilla & Mazo, 2014
Forcas II Layer VI Conventional Wood charcoal GrN-22688 6900 45 5892 5671 Utrilla & Mazo, 2014
Forcas II Layer V AMS Animal bone Beta-247404 6750 40 5723 5571 Utrilla & Mazo, 2014
Forcas II Layer VI AMS Animal bone Beta-247405 6740 40 5723 5566 Utrilla & Mazo, 2014
Forcas II Layer VIII Conventional Wood charcoal GrN-22689 6680 190 5984 5225 Utrilla & Mazo, 2014
Forcas II Layer 9 Conventional Wood charcoal Beta-59998 6090 180 5470 4555 Utrilla & Mazo, 2014
Noguera Ribagorçana Cova del Sardo A-9A2 AMS Pinus tipus sylvestris/uncinata KIA-37689 6525 45 5607 5375 Gassiot et al., 2015
Cova del Sardo A-8B1 AMS Pinus tipus sylvestris/uncinata KIA-37690 5850 40 4834 4556 Gassiot et al., 2015
Cova del Sardo A-8A2 AMS Pinus tipus sylvestris/uncinata KIA-40878 5715 35 4678 4456 Gassiot et al., 2015
Cova del Sardo A-8A2 AMS Pinus tipus sylvestris/uncinata KIA-36935 5695 35 4672 4448 Gassiot et al., 2015
Cova del Sardo A-8B2 AMS Pinus tipus sylvestris/uncinata KIA- 40817 5685 35 4652 4407 Gassiot et al., 2015
Cova del Sardo A-8A6 AMS Pinus tipus sylvestris/uncinata KIA-41134 5645 25 4542 4371 Gassiot et al., 2015
Cova del Sardo A-8A4 AMS Pinus tipus sylvestris/uncinata KIA-40815 5635 35 4542 4363 Gassiot et al., 2015
Cova Colomera EC-1 CV10 AMS Buxus sp. Beta-279478 6180 40 5286 5003 Oms et al., 2013
Cova Colomera CE1 4 AMS Tritticum a/d OxA-23634 6170 30 5214 5015 Oms et al., 2013
Cova Colomera CE1 3–14 AMS Tritticum a/d Beta-240551 6150 40 5215 4960 Oms, 2008
Cova Colomera CE1 2 AMS Buxus sp. Beta-248523 6020 30 4999 4803 Oms, 2008
Noguera Pallaresa Obagues de Ratera 13B2 AMS Pinus tipus sylvestris/uncinata CNA-4629.1.1 8800 40 8178 7660 Gassiot et al., 2020
Obagues de Ratera 11B2 AMS Pinus tipus sylvestris/uncinata CNA-4630.1.1 6800 35 5735 5631 Gassiot et al., 2020
Estany de la Coveta I 2A9 AMS Pinus tipus sylvestris/uncinata Charcoal 7845 45 7025 6538 Gassiot, 2016
Dolmen Font dels Coms DA-5A1 AMS Pinus tipus sylvestris/uncinata KIA-23142 9375 35 8750 8552 Gassiot, 2016
Valira Camp del Comoler Pit FS 29, UE 222 AMS Hordeum Beta-325686 5600 40 4532 4350 Fortó & Vidal, 2016
Camp del Comoler EI 12, UE 245 AMS Corylus (seed) CNA-2257.1.1 5630 35 4540 4362 Fortó & Vidal, 2016
Camp del Comoler Pit SJ 24, UE 193 AMS Hordeum Beta-325684 5350 40 4327 4051 Fortó & Vidal, 2016
Camp del Comoler Pit EI 11, FS 15, UE 144 AMS Corylus (seed) Beta-325685 5300 30 4241 4001 Fortó & Vidal, 2016
Camp del Comoler SJ 7, UE 127 AMS Hordeum CNA-2256.1.1 5205 35 4217 3954 Fortó & Vidal, 2016
Orris de la Torbera de Perafita I Hut P009107 AMS Wood charcoal Poz-22583 9360 50 8771 8468 Orengo et al., 2014
Orris de la Torbera de Perafita I Hut P009 AMS Wood charcoal Beta-285100 6570 40 5617 5475 Orengo et al., 2014
Balma Margineda Layer 4 base Conventional Wood charcoal Ly-4401 8970 120 8530 7733 Guilaine & Martzluff, 1995
Balma Margineda Layer 5/4 Conventional Wood charcoal Ly-3892 8850 120 8257 7607 Guilaine & Martzluff, 1995
Balma Margineda Layer 5/4 AMS Leguminosae/Fabaceae Beta-325683 8600 40 7732 7544 Martins et al., 2015
Balma Margineda Layer 4 Conventional Wood charcoal Ly-2840 8390 150 7730 7058 Guilaine & Martzluff, 1995
Balma Margineda Layer 4,superior Conventional Wood charcoal Ly-3291 8210 180 7582 6699 Guilaine & Martzluff, 1995
Balma Margineda Layer 3a AMS Triticum Beta-398959 2520 30 789 544 Manen et al., 2019
Balma Margineda Layer 3b AMS Hordeum Beta-398960 6690 30 5666 5537 Manen et al., 2019
Balma Margineda Layer 3a AMS Corylus Beta-325681 6630 40 5625 5482 Manen et al., 2019
Balma Margineda Layer 3b AMS Corylus Beta-325682 6410 40 5475 5314 Manen et al., 2019
Balma Margineda C3f AMS Capra pyrenaica CNA-2682.1.1 7401 37 6395 6092 Oms et al., 2016
Balma Margineda C3/C4 Conventional Wood charcoal LY 3290 6870 170 6061 5482 Guilaine & Martzluff, 1995
Balma Margineda C3b-F3 Conventional Wood charcoal LY 3289 6850 150 6016 5483 Guilaine & Martzluff, 1995
Balma Margineda C3b base -F3(base) Conventional Wood charcoal LY 2839 6670 120 5801 5374 Guilaine & Martluff, 1995
Balma Margineda C3a-F1 Conventional Wood charcoal LY 3288 6640 160 5885 5226 Guilaine & Martluff, 1995
Balma Margineda C3a-F1 AMS Corylus avellana Beta-325681 6630 30 5624 5483 Oms et al., 2016
Balma Margineda C3b AMS Corylus avellana Beta-325682 6410 40 5475 5314 Oms et al., 2016
Balma Margineda C3F AMS Ovis/Capra CNA-2681.1.1 6083 38 5207 4847 Oms et al., 2016
Balma Margineda C3a AMS Ovis/Capra CNA-2679.1.1 5850 35 4798 4608 Oms et al., 2016
Segre Pla de l’Orri Cab 128 AMS Wood charcoal Poz 10902 6550 40 5617 5390 Mercadal, 2021
Cova Gran CG-3N-E9 AMS Quercus (seed) Beta-265982 6020 50 5197 4788 Mora et al., 2011
Cova Gran CG ANALIT 57 AMS Corylus (seed) Beta 305465 5850 40 4834 4556 Polo, Martínez-Moreno, Benito, & Mora, 2014
Cova del Parco Estrat III Conventional Bone CSIC-280 6450 230 5830 4847 Petit, 1996
Cova del Parco Estrat III Conventional Wood charcoal CSIC-281 6170 70 5306 4938 Petit, 1996
Cova del Parco Estrat III Conventional Wood charcoal GrN-20058 6120 90 5301 4801 Petit, 1996
Cova del Parco Estrat III Conventional Wood charcoal CSIC-403 5970 60 5001 4716 Petit, 1996
Cova del Parco Estrat III Conventional Bone CSIC-279 5790 170 5203 4275 Petit, 1996
Llobregat Font del Ros Horizonte SG Conventional Wood charcoal UBAR-345 8800 360 9120 7059 Pallarés et al., 1997
Font del Ros Horizonte SG AMS Corylus (seed) Beta-210732 8690 90 8171 7550 Martínez, Mora, & Casanova, 2007
Font del Ros Horizonte SG Conventional Wood charcoal UBAR-397 8400 180 7951 6841 Pallarés et al., 1997
Font del Ros Horizonte SG Conventional Wood charcoal UBAR-329 8270 200 7709 6655 Terradas et al., 1992
Font del Ros Horizonte SG Conventional Wood charcoal UBAR-185 8050 150 7460 6600 Pallarés et al., 1997
Font del Ros Horizonte SG AMS Corylus (seed) Beta-210733 7800 50 6771 6476 Martínez et al., 2007
Font del Ros Horizonte N AMS Wood charcoal AA-16498 6561 56 5622 5385 Pallarés et al., 1997
Font del Ros E.15 AMS Corylus (seed) AA16499 6443 56 5517 5308 Pallarés et al., 1997
Font del Ros E.36 AMS Corylus (seed) AA16502 6370 57 5474 5218 Pallarés et al., 1997
Font del Ros E.33 AMS Corylus (seed) AA16501 6307 68 5471 5065 Pallarés et al., 1997
Font del Ros E.21 AMS Corylus (seed) AA16500 6058 79 5211 4788 Pallarés et al., 1997

2.2 The First Farmers and Herders of the Central Pyrenees (5600–4500 cal BCE)

Starting from the second third of the sixth-millennium cal BCE, archaeological sites reveal the presence of groups of farmers and herders occupying caves and rock shelters in the valley bottoms of the Pyrenees and in the lowlands at altitudes inferior to 1,600 m a.s.l..

As already pointed out in the introduction, the site showing the earliest date is the Balma de la Margineda rock shelter, in the Valira valley. Nevertheless, this rock shelter shows a very complex stratigraphy affected by post-depositional problems including intrusions of materials from later periods (i.e. Iron Age). As result, layer 3 has provided a series of radiocarbon dates which are distributed randomly with several stratigraphic inversions. If we leave aside those concerns, three main moments of occupation can be highlighted based on the short-lived samples: one early occupation between 5635 and 5550 cal BCE, a second Neolithic occupation between 5475 and 5075 cal BCE and the third moment between 4700 and 4500 cal BCE (Manen et al., 2019; Oms, Gibaja, Mazzucco, & Guilaine, 2016).

Early Neolithic occupations are well known as well in the outer ranges of the pre-Pyrenees, for example Cueva Chaves, in the southern side of the Sierra de Guara. Two dates on Ovies aries bones have provided the chronological interval of 5550–5380 cal BCE for layer 1b (Mazzucco, 2018). Early dates associated with the occupation of farmer and herder groups have been recently obtained as well at Cueva Lobrica in the National Park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido. The site is located in the Añisclo canyon and is characterised by a very complicated access. Fragments of Impressed Ware and charcoal from a hearth identified in the test pit excavated in the interior of the cave have been dated to 5470–5327 cal BCE (Clemente, Rey, & Gassiot, 2020) (Figure 4). This data suggests that since at least half of the sixth-millennium cal BCE, Neolithic groups, bearing pottery and domesticated animals and cereals, occupied both the outer and interior sectors of the Pyrenees.

Figure 4 
                  Examples of decorated pottery sherds from the Early Neolithic of (1–5) Cueva Lobrica (Fanlo/Sobrarbe/Huesca) and (6–10) Coro Trasito (Tella-Sin/Sobrarbe/Huesca).

Figure 4

Examples of decorated pottery sherds from the Early Neolithic of (1–5) Cueva Lobrica (Fanlo/Sobrarbe/Huesca) and (6–10) Coro Trasito (Tella-Sin/Sobrarbe/Huesca).

This settlement pattern would continue in the following centuries. Several caves located in the Montsec range, one of the outer ranges that form the pre-Pyrenees, are occupied during the last centuries of the sixth millennium and the first centuries of the fifth, for example, Cova del Parco, Cova Colomera and Cova Gran, dated, respectively, between 5240 and 4940 cal BCE (Petit, 1996), 5250 and 5010 cal BCE (Oms et al., 2013) and 5045 and 4790 cal BCE (Mora et al., 2011). Simultaneously, large cavities in the interior ranges of the Pyrenees at altitudes around 1,500 m a.s.l. were occupied. This is the case of Coro Trasito, Puyascada and Cova de Els Trocs.

Coro Trasito is a large cavity located on the southern slope of the Sierra de Tucas on the eastern margin of Monte Perdido (Figure 5). Its excavation began in 2013 revealing some layers dated to the Early Neolithic and Bronze Age (Clemente et al., 2016, 2020). During the entire Early Neolithic, between ca. 5300 and 4400 cal BCE, the cavity was used for animal penning, as well as a storing area and dwelling space. The use of the cave for animal penning represents the first phase of occupation. It has produced a package with fumier deposits with layers that suggest a deposition ratio of 1 mm/year. After that, around ca. 4800 cal BCE, several hearths have been detected, associated with abundant remains of the consumption of domesticated fauna and a rich material assemblage. Around ca. 4500–4400 cal BCE, more than twenty pit structures/silos with capacities between 20 and 40 L were excavated into the soil. During the entire Neolithic sequence, domesticated animals dominated the faunal assemblage including not only sheep/goats but also cattle and pigs.

Figure 5 
                  General view of the southern slope of the Sierra de Tucas. The arrow points to the cave of Coro Trasito.

Figure 5

General view of the southern slope of the Sierra de Tucas. The arrow points to the cave of Coro Trasito.

Cultivars are also present in the carpological record at Coro Trasito reaching 40% or even 60% in some samples. Naked barley (Hordeum vulgare var. nudum) is the most abundant crop although naked wheat (Triticum aestivum s.l./durum Desf./turgidum L.) is also important (Antolín, Navarrete, Saña, Viñerta, & Gassiot, 2018; Obea et al., in press). Both grain and chaff from all different species have been identified together with some potential field weeds such as Bromus sp., Polygonum convolvulus, Galium aparine and Chenopodium sp. (Antolín et al., 2018). Cereals are also well represented in the pollen record (up to 50% from 4788 to 4590 cal BCE onwards) (Obea et al., in press) suggesting the existence of crop fields not far from the cave.

Pottery is an abundant and widely used material throughout the time period. Many pieces have thick walls and large volumes. A part of the crockery would have been used to store cereals and other foods, as well as other culinary uses (Díaz-Bonilla, 2016). In addition, the presence of tools related to ceramic production (i.e. pottery spatula, stone burnishers) indicates that several crafting activities were carried out on site (Clemente et al., 2016).

On the other hand, among the lithic tools recovered at Coro Trasito, grinding stones and blades used for cereal harvesting have been documented. In the latter, the mowing activity is reflected on the surfaces of the tools in the form of an intense, shiny polish, with a very compact weave, accompanied by depressions and grooves which are deeply set on both sides of the blade and follow an orientation parallel to the blade itself (Clemente & Mazzucco, in press).

Els Trocs cave is located further east, near Macizo del Turbón (Rojo et al., 2013). The first phase of occupation, Trocs I, is dated between 5050 and 4930 cal BCE, based on samples from charred cereal caryopsis and domesticated fauna (Mazzucco, 2018; Rojo et al., 2013). Nevertheless, sparse human remains found within the cave have been dated to a few centuries earlier, between 5310 and 5080 cal BCE (Alt et al., 2020). During this phase, several combustion areas were created, and afterwards, a series of pavements made of stone and pottery fragments were made probably to drain the cave floor (Lancelotti et al., 2014). The successive phase, Trocs II, is dated between 4450 and 4380 cal BCE with the creation of a new stone paved surface, on which large combustion areas have been found, probably a result of repeated, seasonal occupations. Overall, Els Trocs attests to the presence of a farming community in the interior ranges of the Pyrenees, with a specialisation towards the exploitation of domestic caprines (Rojo et al., 2013; Tejedor-Rodríguez et al., 2021).

The occupation of higher altitudes appears to have begun only slightly later, starting from ca. 4800 to 4450 cal BCE, as well attested from Phase 8 of the Cova del Sardo, a rock shelter located near the bottom of the alpine Sant Nicolau Valley (Gassiot et al., 2015). In this case, the occupation of the rock shelter does not suggest a stable and prolonged occupation, as it seems possible for sites such as Coro Trasito but a series of repeated, brief and seasonal occupations. Hunting was carried out locally as documented by use-wear analysis of the lithic record (Mazzucco et al., 2019) and ruminants were cooked into pottery vessels as attested by lipid analysis (Tarifa, 2019). The presence of a charred caryopsis of barley also indicates the local consumption of cereals (Gassiot et al., 2014). The pollen record obtained from the site suggests that the environment surrounding the rock shelter was rather open with evidence of anthropic disturbances (Gassiot, Rodríguez-Antón, Burjachs, Antolín, & Ballesteros, 2012). An off-site survey realised in the Sant Nicolau valley bottom, at about 560 m from the Sardo cave, confirmed the presence of a paleo-surface dated to 5050–4850 cal BCE which contains a relevant assemblage of phytoliths, microcharcoal and organic matter. All of this indicates an anthropic disturbance, related to a fire-induced opening of the vegetation cover and the presence of grazing animals (Rodríguez-Antón, 2020).

The new data obtained from recent excavations and survey allows a clearer picture of the Neolithisation process of the Pyrenean area to be drawn. The first farming communities occupied almost simultaneously both the outer and inner areas of the Pyrenees, including the valley bottoms but also the mid-slope areas. This process might have begun as early as ca. 5400 cal BCE, despite a more intense occupation being visible only from ca. 5300 to 5000 cal BCE (Table 2). During this period, in the Middle Holocene, arboreal vegetation was dominated by a mixed coniferous forest consisting of a mixture of broadleaf trees and conifers (Catalan et al., 2013; Cunill, Soriano, Bal, Pèlachs, & Pérez-Obiol, 2013; Garcés-Pastor et al., 2017). Traces of a local deforestation with an opening of the vegetation and presence of species associated with an anthropic disturbance can be detected in Coro Trasito, Els Trocs and Cova del Sardo sites, suggesting that local grazing, and possibly at least in some cases, cultivation activities were carried out (Gassiot et al., 2012; Rodríguez-Antón, 2020; Uría, 2013). The occupation of the subalpine and alpine belt would begin only a few centuries later in respect to the pre-Pyrenean area. At higher altitudes, the presence of groups bearing mixed farming is documented starting from ca. 4800 cal BCE. Environmental proxies suggest an increase in anthropic pressure over the subalpine environment with human-induced fires and vegetation clearance (Bal, Rendu, Ruas, & Campmajo, 2010; Galop, 2006; Garcés-Pastor et al., 2017; Gassiot et al., 2014; Miras et al., 2010; Pèlachs et al., 2011; Vannière, Galop, Rendu, & Davasse, 2001).

3 Discussion: The Neolithisation of the Pyrenees Under a New Light

The archaeological record today available for the Pyrenees is showing a more complex scenario than expected 15 or 20 years ago. Despite the fact that archaeological data is still fragmentary and the number of excavated sites still low, the available information has enormously increased for both the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods. All considered, recent investigations are demonstrating that mountain areas are not marginal but were populated since prehistoric times.

Central Pyrenees were occupied and inhabited by human communities almost since the beginning of the Holocene at all altitudinal stages. This implies that the inner mountainous areas were also exploited and crossed. Hunting probably played a major role and especially the larger caves located in the outer areas of the Pyrenees attest a well-developed hunting economy based on wild ungulates (Utrilla & Mazo, 2014). hunter–gatherers were still circulating in the Pyrenees and pre-Pyrenees just before the arrival of the first farming communities, as attested by the recent dates of Forcas II (layer VI, 5985–5774 cal BCE; layer V, 5723–5571 cal BCE,), Esplugón (layer 3sup, 5975–5730 cal BCE; layer 3inf, 5720–5564 cal BCE,), or Obagues de Ratera (phase 11, 5732–5638 cal BCE) (Table 2). The chronological proximity between them is even more evident, if we consider the new dates on charred caryopsis from Balma de la Margineda, which place the arrival of the first Neolithic groups already around the 5635–5550 cal BCE (Manen et al., 2019). Even if the data is still not detailed and abundant enough to understand how the process of Neolithisation took place, it seems clear that the Pyrenees might have played a more active role than previously thought. The presence of ‘mixed’ contexts, with horizons characterised by a typical hunter–gatherer economy and material culture, but including ‘Neolithic innovations’ such as pottery, sickle blades and doble bisel segments remains complicated to be explicated. Some authors have sought in this type of context the proof of contact and interaction between Mesolithic and Neolithic groups during the early stages of Neolithisation (García-Martínez de Lagrán, 2014; Utrilla et al., 2016); however, the extension and the modalities in which such interaction took place are not clear and hard to be defined based on the current archaeological record. How and exactly when were such innovations absorbed? How may the taphonomical and postdepositional processes affect the integrity of these mixed archaeological assemblages? At the current state of research, these questions remain unsolved and a deeper revision of the material record is needed.

We can also wonder whether mountain areas can be regarded as a sort of refuge for the last hunter–gatherer populations. This hypothesis seems unlikely, as continuity or, at least, interactions between the Mesolithic and the Early Neolithic have been attested also south of the Pyrenees, in the confluence of the Ebro River with the Segre River, for example at the sites of Botiqueria (Barandiaran & Cava, 2000), Costalena (Barandiarán & Cava, 1985) and Valmayor XI (Rojo et al., 2015a). In addition, the uneven and sparse distribution of the occupation connected with the last groups of hunter–gatherers makes it difficult to define exactly the pattern of land exploitation (Martínez et al., 2007; Mazzucco, Clemente, Gassiot, & Rodríguez Antón, 2016). In high-altitude areas, evidence of Mesolithic occupation chronology is often so ephemeral and the material record so scarce that is very hard to define the palaeoeconomic aspects. In this sense, the Obagues de Ratera rock shelter surely represents one of the most promising sites to understand the exploitation of for high-altitude areas.

Recent data also suggest that the process of the Neolithisation of the Pyrenees is earlier than previously thought. Starting from the second half of the sixth millennium, all the area began to be increasingly inhabited by communities practising a mixed farming economy. Evidence from Balma Margineda, Coro Trasito, Cueva Lobrica and Els Trocs are demonstrating that Neolithic communities were penetrating the inner parts of the mountain range, occupying both the valley bottoms and middle slopes, since ca. 5500–5300 cal BCE. In addition, not only mountain areas were occupied for pasture exploitation and development of herding activities but also a more complex scenario seems to be occurring. If, for example, the occupation of Els Trocs seems strictly associated with the seasonal exploitation of domestic caprines, the site Coro Trasito reflects a broader economic spectrum, including not only sheep/goat herding but also cattle and pigs husbandry, dairy products and cereal consumption (Antolín et al., 2018; Clemente & Mazzucco, in press).

The possible existence of cereal crops near Coro Trasito is a question under discussion that challenges many perspectives on the human occupation of mountain areas during the Early Neolithic. Some evidence leads us to support this hypothesis. Several storage pits were found suggesting that food storage was also important (Gassiot et al., 2018). The lithic tools recovered show the processing of cereal, both in harvesting and grinding (Clemente & Mazzucco, in press). The abundance of cereal grains, together with the presence of adventitious plants in an area of dense forest, suggests the existence of small crop fields close to the shelter that must have helped to sustain the people who occupied it. Different evidence supports this possibility: high pollens values, both cereal and adventitious plants, the remains of chaff both from free-threshing and non-free-threshing cereals, and the cereal carpological record that follows different processing steps for consumption (Hillman, 1984, 1985). These are an indication of the manipulation of cereal remains inside or nearby the cave (Antolín et al., 2018; Obea et al., in press). Signs of a diversified economy, a wide range of tools, e.g., grinding stones and sickles, and storage pits suggest that Coro Trasito might have acted as a rather stable occupation, almost all year round and not a specialised, seasonal site.

Furthermore, the analysis of the geographical position of the sites suggests that Early Neolithic populations settled in environments that were adapted to a diverse economy, including herding as well other practices. While during the Mesolithic and Late Neolithic, the occupation of the high-altitude areas not favourable to cultivation was more important, a recent GIS-based modelling suggests that Early Neolithic sites were located at a maximum distance of 40 min from potentially cultivable fields (Gassiot et al., 2021). This suggests that herding and farming practices were possibly strictly related to the mountainous areas. This is, for example, the case at Coro Trasito and other sites such as Cova del Sardo. Despite Cova del Sardo not providing any clear evidence of a local cultivation (only one charred caryopsis has been recovered and the cereal pollen has not been identified in the site sequence), cultivated fields might not have been located too far away from the site, as potentially cultivated areas were easily accessible in the surrounding lands. The occupation of valley bottom and mid-slopes at the beginning of the Neolithic might be interpreted in this sense: farming groups preferred the occupation of areas from which a different set of resources were easily accessible, both for grazing and crop cultivation. The expansion towards the alpine belt would take place only later, during the Late Neolithic, ca. 3500–3000 cal BCE, in association with a greater human impact on the vegetation cover, with forest clearance and the expansion of pasture areas (Garcés-Pastor et al., 2017; Gassiot et al., 2014, 2017; Miras et al., 2010; Pèlachs et al., 2011; Rendu, 2003).

4 Conclusion

During the last years, the understanding of the Neolithic of the western Mediterranean has experienced great changes. The study of marginal areas such as the mountainous zone of the Pyrenees and the Alps has brought new and important data about the dynamics of Neolithisation with a special focus on the economic and environmental sphere. This is the case of the southern central Pyrenees, a zone in which during the last 10 years a considerable number of new excavations and survey programs have been carried out. Nowadays, the presence of sites in the inner sector of the Pyrenees such as Balma de la Margineda is no longer surprising. These sites should be interpreted as part of a broader process of occupation of the mountainous spaces which started as soon as the Neolithic reached the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula. Recent data suggest that the last Mesolithic hunter–gatherer occupied all the altitudinal stages of the Pyrenees both in the outer and inner ranges. A change in the settlement pattern would occur with the Early Neolithic, in which the occupation is focused on the valley bottom and mid-slopes, in biotopes favourable to both herding and agriculture. In this sense, the traditional dichotomy between mountain areas being exclusively specialised in herding practices and lowlands having a mixed economy vocation is not any longer valid. The presence of sites such as Coro Trasito suggests that mountain spaces were exploited with a varied economic strategy since the early phases of the Neolithic. In the future, the study of mountain spaces and the excavation of new sites will allow us to draw a clearer picture of the Neolithisation process in the area, and as well to reveal relevant dynamics for the understanding of the development of the Neolithic of the north-east Iberian Peninsula.


Special Issue: THE EARLY NEOLITHIC OF EUROPE, edited by F. Borrell, I. Clemente, M. Cubas, J. J. Ibáñez, N. Mazzucco, A. Nieto-Espinet, M. Portillo, S. Valenzuela-Lamas, & X. Terradas


  1. Funding information: Research described in this article has been carried out in the framework of several projects: ‘Modelización de los espacios prehistóricos de montaña. Un SIG del patrimonio arqueológico y los territorios pastoriles (HAR2015-66780-P/IP: Ermengol Gassiot)’ funded by the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (MINECO) of Spain; ‘Muntanyes humanes. Arqueología del pastoralisme i l’agricultura al Pirineu Occidental (CLT009/18/00032 Ajuts per a projectes quadriennals de recerca en matèria d’arqueologia i paleontología 2018–2021/IP: Ermengol Gassiot)’ funded by the Generalitat de Catalunya; ‘Arqueología del Pastoralismo en el Bien Pirineos Monte Perdido’, funded by the Ministerio de Cultura in Spain and different contracts with National Park of Aigüestortes & Estany of Sant Maurici. The work of one of the authors (N.M.) was supported by a MSCA-IF grant, project QUANT (ID: 792,544).

  2. Conflict of interest: Authors state no conflict of interest.

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Received: 2021-01-15
Revised: 2021-07-02
Accepted: 2021-07-05
Published Online: 2021-09-15

© 2021 Ermengol Gassiot Ballbè et al., published by De Gruyter

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