Early use of marine resources by Middle/Upper Pleistocene human societies: The case of Benzú rockshelter (northern Africa)
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DepartmentHistoria, Geografía y Filosofía
SourceQuaternary International Nº 407 (2016) pp 6-15
This article examines the role played by marine resources for hunter-gatherer groups of the Middle/ Upper Pleistocenein the geohistorical regionaround the Straitsof Gibraltar, onthe basisof newevidence collected at the rock shelter of Benzú (North Africa). The stratigraphic sequence at Benzú has been dated to between 254 and 70 ka. The excavations have revealed the exploitation of marine gastropods and bivalves, alongside ﬁsh. The most common taxon in the sequence is the genus Patella. The analysis of the molluscs and their spatial distribution shows that these animals were purposely collected by humans, probably as a food source. In order to contribute to the debate about the origins and scale of the exploitation of marine resources during the Middle and Upper Pleistocene, the evidence collected at Benzú is interpreted within the broader context of North Africa and southern Europe. The similarity of groups of Homo sapiens sapiens in North Africa and Homo sapiens neanderthalensis in southern Europe in terms of lifestyle and subsistence strategies is interpreted as reﬂecting equally similar social and economic practices, in spite of the diversity of anthropological perspectives on the relationship between humans and the environment currently in vogue.