Marine resources exploitation by Palaeolithic hunter-ﬁsher-gatherers and Neolithic tribal societies in the historical region of the Strait of Gibraltar
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Author/sRamos Muñoz, José; Domínguez Bella, Salvador; Cantillo-Duarte, Juan Jesús; Casimiro-Soriguer Escofet, María Milagrosa; Pérez-Rodríguez, Manuela; Hernando, José; Vijande Vila, Eduardo; Zabala, Cristina; Clemente-Conte, Ignacio; Bernal Casasola, Darío
DepartmentHistoria, Geografía y Filosofía
SourceQuaternary International 239 (2011) pp 104-113
The Strait of Gibraltar is a geographic region between the south of Europe and the north of Africa. On the basis of the geological, geographical and ecological evidence, this is considered a historical region. Prehistoric societies that lived during the Pleistocene and Holocene on both sides of the Strait left behind very similar archaeological records. Marine resource exploitation is recorded in the African zone of the Strait, where malacofauna is found in the Middle Pleistocene levels at Benzú rock shelterdated at 254 ka. To the north of the strait, the Cadiz coast has shell midden sites associated with Mousterian technology. Continuity in the technological records related to the Upper Palaeolithic is present in this area and on both slopes of the Strait, as in Nerja Cave (Spain), Gibraltar caves (UK) and the caves in the Tangier area (Morocco). Although some variability in the technological and cultural sequences has been observed on both sides of the strait the marine resources exploitation suggests similar ways of life. During the Holocene, continuity appears among agricultural groups. An increase in the ﬁshing and shellﬁsh collection by the Neolithic societies is a further interesting aspect of this region, as is shown in Tetouan Caves (Gar Cahal and Kaf That el Ghar) and Benzú Cave (Ceuta) on the southern side of the Strait, and Embarcadero Rio Palmones and Retamar (Cádiz) on the north side. The new data collected during recent years demonstrates a deeper antiquity of the shell midden deposits and in the exploitation of marine resources in this area for hunter-gatherer societies with Mousterian technology. A new vision also emerged for the economy of the Neolithic societies of the Strait of Gibraltar, with marine resources exploitation representing as a very important activity.