A study of social change in the third and second millennia BC in the North West Iberian Peninsula based on mixed context sites
HAR2012-34029. National plan. 2013-2015.
National Programme for Basic Research Projects, Ministry of the Economy and Competitiveness, Spanish Government.
Sincrisis. Department of History I. University of Santiago de Compostela
M. Pilar Prieto Martínez
M. Pilar Prieto Martínez
Oscar F. Lantes Suárez
Erik Carlsson-Brandt Fontán
Heritage, Paleoenvironment and Landscape Laboratory and Department of History I (USC)
Archaeometry unit (USC)
Department of soil science and agricultural chemistry. (USC)
Arqueología del Noroeste S.L.U. (Dr. Juan Cano Pan).
Pablo Vázquez Liz
X-Ray Tomography Unit (USC)
GEPN-Study Group on the Prehistory of the NW Iberian Peninsula (USC)
Our general aim is to contribute towards our knowledge of the social changes that took place during the third and second millennia BC in the North West Iberian Peninsula, based on the study of two archaeological sites found in the Rías Baixas or Lower Estuaries region (As Mamelas, A Devesa de Abaixo – Os Torradoiros), which are of a mixed context type, meaning they contain different stages of occupation from different periods (ranging from the Mid-Neolithic through to the Late Bronze Age) and different domestic and funerary spaces. In order to achieve this, we propose a research programme in logical working stages using different methodologies that will make it possible to achieve specific objectives in a modular way, in order to obtain a general understanding of the sites. The most significant aims of the project are the following:
- To characterise the two sites based on a complete contextual study (examining their stratigraphy and structures, detailed cartography, pottery, stone and metallic materials, and a spatial analysis of the ensemble), defining their chronological phases (C14), characterising their vegetation (using anthracological analysis), and comparing them in order to evaluate if there could have been a pattern for these types of sites, helping to define it.
- Completing our knowledge of the pottery from the sites based on a complete mineralogical and geochemical study of the pottery from the different cultural periods, using different analytical techniques: XRF, XRD, CNSH and quantitative colour analysis (applied to pottery and sediments), SEM (applied to a selection of pottery) and X-ray tomography (applied to pottery and stone elements). It is important to underscore the inclusion of tomography as a novel analytical technique in studying the pottery from this region, both as this is the first time it will be used, and that this will involve the technological characterisation of the pottery, something that has been undervalued to date.
The two sites in question have been selected as the focal point for this research as they meet a series of important requirements that guarantee the success of the project: they have a multifunctional and multi-chronological context, which will provide a wealth of information on the third and second millennia BC in Galicia and the NW Iberian Peninsula; they have been recently excavated as part of a preventative archaeology programme, which ensures quality excavation work and a very extensive excavated area, which during the study stage will help in studying the sites in terms of their spatial scale. We will also be basing our work on an advanced (but still not complete) study of the site of A Devesa de Abaixo – Os Torradoiros which has provided experience in order to deal with this new type of contexts, and is a good reference point to help comprehend the site of As Mamelas.
Normally, sites with mixed contexts are studied in a partial manner, isolating the different occupations in publications and making it impossible to achieve an overall understanding of them. It is important to emphasise that in this project we hope to carry out a study that makes it possible to offer an overall perspective of these types of sites, comparing their record with the rest of Atlantic and Western Europe.