Use of fungi for tinder at the Early Neolithic settlement of La Draga (NE Iberia)

Raquel Piqué*, Jordi Revelles, Marian Berihuete-Azorín, Josep Girbal Lladó, Antoni Palomo, Xavier Terradas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The purpose of this work is to contribute to the knowledge of the role of fungi in prehistoric human societies and, in particular, to determine their use as tinder in fire-lighting technologies. The case of La Draga (Banyoles, NE Spain), an Early Neolithic site with extraordinary conservation of organic materials, is presented. At this site, a well preserved and abundant assemblage of fruiting bodies of fungi has been recovered in a waterlogged environment. The comparison of the taxa identified with evidence of fungal spores is analysed in order to provide a better understanding of the process of fungi incorporation into the archaeological site. Finds at La Draga demonstrate that the gathering of bracket fungi was a frequent practice during the Early Neolithic occupation. A total of 86 fruiting bodies have been studied and six different taxa have been identified: Ganoderma adspersum, Daldinia concentrica, Daedalea quercina, Lenzites warnieri, Coriolopsis gallica, and Skeletocutis nivea. The taxa identified in the fruiting bodies have not been identified among the fungal spores from the soil sediments. Comparison of the presence of fungal spores and fruiting bodies provides additional arguments to support the hypothesis that bracket fungi were gathered, dried and stored to be used by the inhabitants of La Draga.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)152-161
Number of pages10
JournalQuaternary International
Volume541
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

Keywords

  • Fruiting bodies
  • Fungi
  • Neolithic
  • Spores
  • Tinder

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