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Palaeolithic Plant Use in the Western Mediterranean (PALEOPLANT)
Date du début: 1 juil. 2014, Date de fin: 31 déc. 2015 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

This project deals with one of the big gaps of knowledge in prehistory, how plant foods and resources were used by preagrarian societies. Plants have been fundamental for human societies across the planet. However, it is a blank when it comes to archaeological evidence of humans eating and exploiting them during most part of Prehistory. This work aims at changing the meat/hunting centred paradigm of Palaeolithic subsistence by readdressing human plant exploitation through a novel interdisciplinary approach. The main objectives are: 1) To assess wild plant exploitation among Palaeolithic-Epipalaeolithic societies, 2) To appraise resilience and change in Palaeolithic-Epipalaeolithic plant use, and 3) To improve archaeological methodology and fieldwork. The chronology of analysis –from the Late Middle Palaeolithic to the Epipalaeolithic- includes two extremely interesting periods: a) the transition from the middle to the upper Palaeolithic with neanderthal extinction and early presence of modern humans which gives us the opportunity to explore and compare whether these groups exploit plant resources in a different way, and b) the climatic change from the Late Pleistocene to the early Holocene which allows to evaluate how last hunter-gatherers from the region adapt to climatic change and new ecological conditions. The challenge of the work is to obtain archaeological visibility of plant use through and interdisciplinary approach that combines: pollen analysis, the study of plant macroremains including underground storage organs (USOs), micromorphology, analysis of microremains such as phytoliths and starch, ethnobotany and use-wear analyses on tools. The different types of evidence to be analysed come from relevant archaeological sites from Spain, Portugal and Morocco. Because a project at this scale has not been developed before, major scientific developments and impact in archaeological science can be safely expected.


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