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, 98 (24), 14180-5

Radiocarbon Evidence for Maritime Pioneer Colonization at the Origins of Farming in West Mediterranean Europe

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Radiocarbon Evidence for Maritime Pioneer Colonization at the Origins of Farming in West Mediterranean Europe

J Zilhão. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.

Abstract

Most radiocarbon dates for the earliest Neolithic cultures of west Mediterranean Europe are on samples of unidentified charcoal. If only results obtained on short lived samples (seeds, shells, and bone) of diagnostic material (domesticates, artifacts, and human remains) are considered, then the dates for the first appearance of the Neolithic package are indistinguishable statistically from central Italy to Portugal and cluster around 5400 calendar B.C. This rapidity of spread, no more than six generations, can be best explained in the framework of a maritime pioneer colonization model.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Location of sites mentioned in the text. 1–3, Caldeirão, Pena d'Água, and Cisterna; 4–5, Cabranosa and Padrão; 6, Margineda; 7, Chaves; 8, La Draga; 9, Frare; 10, Fosca; 11–13, Cendres, Or, and La Falguera; 14, La Dehesilla; 15, El Retamar; 16–17, Dourgne and Gazel; 18, Baratin; 19, Pendimoun; 20, Arene Candide; 21, San Marco; 22, Coppa Nevigata.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Baroquely decorated Cardial sherd from Galeria da Cisterna (Vessel 1, zone AMD2). (Scale bar, 2 cm.)
Figure 3
Figure 3
Pierced red deer canines and bone beads imitating their shape from Galeria da Cisterna, zone AMD2. (Scale bar, 1 cm.)
Figure 4
Figure 4
2σ calibrated dates for all dated Iberian Cardial sites.
Figure 5
Figure 5
2σ calibrated dates on short lived diagnostic samples for the earliest Neolithic of west Mediterranean Europe.
Figure 6
Figure 6
Geographic distribution of late Mesolithic (▴) and early Neolithic (■) settlements in south-central Portugal between 6000 and 4750 cal B.C.

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