Chapter

Neighbours but diverse: social change in north-west Iberia during the transition from the Mesolithic to the Neolithic (5500—4000 cal <span class="smallCaps">bc</span>)

Pablo Arias

in Going Over: The Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition in North-West Europe

Published by British Academy

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780197264140
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734489 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197264140.003.0004

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy 144

Neighbours but diverse: social change in north-west Iberia during the transition from the Mesolithic to the Neolithic (5500—4000 cal bc)

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This chapter presents the available information on the late Mesolithic and the early Neolithic in north-west Iberia, and discusses its significance when attempting to understand the processes of transition from foraging to peasant societies. The north-west of the Iberian Peninsula provides, in a restricted area, a huge variety of Neolithization processes, probably interrelated, on an unequal background of Mesolithic populations, with great contrast between densely populated areas, such as the Cantabrian coast or the Upper Ebro, and others with lower densities. It is precisely in one of these densely populated areas that the first contacts appear to have happened. The evidence from Mendandia suggests that, about 5500 cal bc, not much later than the time when the first Neolithic groups were established on the Mediterranean coast, the first pottery could have reached the Upper Ebro. The earliest pots were probably no more than attractive prestige goods, which reached this area through exchange networks whose existence is proved by the presence of Mediterranean shells in the local Mesolithic.

Keywords: Iberian Peninsula; transition; foraging; peasant society; Neolithization; Upper Ebro

Chapter.  6531 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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