The PaleoCoast project.
Investigating Paleolithic human coastal adaptations in southwestern Iberian Peninsula.
Joao Marreiros, Duarte Duarte, Frederico Tátá Regala, Tiago Dores, Rui Francisco, Ricardo Soares.
Joao Marreiros1; Duarte Duarte2, Frederico Tátá Regala2,4,5, Tiago Dores2, Rui Francisco6, Ricardo Soares7
1 MONREPOS. Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution
2CIMA, Scientific Diving Centre. Faculty of Science and Technology University of Algarve
3ICArEHB. Interdisciplinary Center for Archaeology and Evolution of Human Behaviour
4Direção Regional de Cultura do Algarve
5AESDA - Associação de Estudos Subterrâneos e Defesa do Ambiente
6Espeleólogo da Federação Portuguesa de Espeleologia
7Gabinete de Arqueologia, Câmara Municipal de Vila do Bispo
The geological and geomorphological formations in the Atlantic shore of Southern Portugal in Algarve are characterized by karstic formations. Karstic features, such as natural caves and shelters, have long been seen as an attractive ecological and geological landscape to early human occupation during the Pleistocene and Early Holocene. During the last decades, archaeological investigation in this region has shown that prehistoric human populations occupied this territory from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic. The project PaleoCoast, Paleolithic Human Coastal Adaptations in Southwestern Iberian Peninsula, aims to locate and identify coastal karst formation, and assess its speleological and geological characterization, and archaeological potential. From the archaeological perspective, the project research scope is focused on studying human ecological adaptations in the coastal environment of Southwestern Iberia during the Paleolithic.
In this talk, the PaleoCoast research project will be presented, including the main research scope, goals and methods, and an overview on the preliminary results from the pilot study conducted in 2017. Combining terrestrial (i.e. shore) and underwater archaeological work, the field work in 2017 was focused on high intensive survey of two main geological settings where Jurassic limestone formations are present: 1) the coastal and 2) the valleys perpendicular to the coast. Underwater survey was characterized by two phases: a) visual prospecting (boat survey) along the coastal limestone cliffs for the location of terrestrial and submerged cave entrances, and b) diving, using the adequate scientific diving gear and techniques, in all identified submerged caves.
According to the main scope and goals of the project, the pilot study shows very interesting results. Based on geological mapping, exploration diving was also carried in two main areas: 1) Ponta da Torre and Zambujal, from Praia do Zavial to Praia das Furnas, and 2) Martinhal, from Praia dos Rebolinhos to Praia do Barranco. Preliminary results from this phase will be used as major data to develop the second phase of the project, which will be focused on the high-resolution excavation of the most promising archaeological sites.
Joao Marreiros is a senior researcher at the MONREPOS, Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution in Neuwied and Professor of Archaeology at the Institute for Vor- und Frühgeschichtliche Archäologie at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany. He is interested in stone tools produced and used anatomically modern humans, with special interest on what can they tell us about early human ecological behavior in different geographic regions across Western Europe.
Besides lab work, focused on stone tool technology, experiments, and functional analysis, Joao is also a field archaeologist, and he is currently working as principal investigator in two fieldwork projects in Portugal, in the SW Iberian Atlantic coast (PaleoCoast) and central Portugal in the limestone massif (Transaire), and as an associated researcher in the EcoPlis Project in Leiria, Portugal and at the site of Bacho Kiro in Bulgaria.