Coastal wetlands and the Neanderthal settlement of Portuguese Estremadura

Jonathan Haws, Michael Benedetti, Caroline Funk, Nuno Bicho, J Daniels, Patrick Hesp, Thomas Minckley, Steven Forman, Marjeta Jeraj, Juan Gibaja, Bryan Hockett

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    Coastal wetlands are ecotone settings that offer diverse sets of resources for human exploitation, yet evidence for Pleistocene occupation rarely preserves due to recent postglacial sea-level rise. During an ongoing geoarchaeological survey of Portuguese Estremadura we identified uplifted Pleistocene sediments that record coastal features including raised beaches, tidal channels, muds, peat, and coastal dunes. Stratified concentrations of Middle Paleolithic artifacts were found at Mira Nascente and Praia Rei Cortiço, two new sites in coastal wetland settings. The Mira Nascente locality yielded a chert-dominated lithic assemblage in a tidal flat setting dated to MIS 3. The raw material economy differs markedly from sites found in other landscape settings. Praia Rei Cortiço is located near a thick peat deposit that formed in a freshwater coastal swamp and marsh likely dated to the Last Interglacial. These two sites represent a novel expression of Neanderthal land use strategies in Portugal.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)709-744
    Number of pages36
    JournalGeoarchaeology-An International Journal
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


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