The Human Occupation of the Southern Central Pyrenees in the Sixth-Third Millennia cal BC: a Traceological Analysis of Flaked Stone Assemblages

Student thesis: Doctoral thesis


The study of the process of anthropization of the Pyrenees during Prehistory is a relatively recent discipline. During the course of the last century, archaeological research investigated only marginally the mountainous areas of the Pyrenees, mainly focusing on the Megalithic monuments with an ethnic-cultural perspective. However, since the last decade, archaeologists and other researchers adopted a broader approach to the study of the human occupation of the mountains, integrating the analysis of the past human societies and of their material remains with the analysis of the ancient landscape and climate and their mutual interactions. This work follows this line of research. Here is presented the study of nine occupational layers, belonging to four different archaeological sites located in the Southern Central Pyrenees and dated between the sixth and the third millennia cal BC. Those sites are located in different geographical contexts, as one of the main aims of this research is to advance a comprehensive overview of the humanization processes of the mountains space, including the piedmont areas, the mountain zones and sub-alpine and alpine stages. More specifically, this work is focused on the lithic materials, which analysis is directed toward a socio-economic interpretation of the record. The main aim of the study is to advance a functional classification of the analyzed sites, in order to understand which role such occupations had within the economic system of the prehistoric groups that generated them. Obtained results indicated the existence of a specialization gradient within the mountain environment. The analyzed lithic assemblages are the result of different productive processes associated to certain phases of the pastoral practices. So, one observes relatively stable occupations in the piedmont areas, characterized by a variety of subsistence and manufacturing processes, while mountain and subalpine zones would be characterized by more specialized occupations more strictly related to domestic animal slaughtering or pasturing practices. In conclusion, one can recognize a gradual development, since the earlier stages of the Neolithic `period, of mobile herding strategies over a large territory which from the plain areas of the Ebro valley is extended to the highest peaks of the Axial Pyrenees.
Date of Award28 Oct 2014
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJuan Francisco Gibaja Ignacio Clemente (Director) & Maria Saña Segui (Tutor)


  • Neolithic
  • Mountain archaelogy
  • Pyrenees

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