University of Southampton OCS (beta), CAA 2012

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Bronze age pathways? Past populations mobility in prehistoric landscapes.
Maria Yubero-Gomez, Xavier Esteve, Xavier Rubio-Campillo, F.Javier López-Cachero

Last modified: 2011-12-22


The main aim of this work is to explore the role played by human mobility in prehistoric population dynamics of a particular geographical framework:: the depressió prelitoral catalana (Catalonia, Spain). Network analysis and studies of human mobilities have been an important development during the last 10 years and a big impact in archaeological studies. These new techniques allows the researcher to explore new parameters, as well as put traditional archaeological hypothesis under a new perspective.

Our project is focused in the study of spatial relations in the prehistoric communities durint bronze age and first iron age (1300-650 bc) in NE of Iberian Peninsula. Specifically, our study area is located in catalan prelitoral depression. This area is extremely heterogeneous in terms of geographical features (mountains, river basins, etc.). The main issue to solve is the relationship between the mobility patterns of past societies and traditional archaeological questions of final bronze age and first iron age (distrubution of grooved pottery, necropolis of cremations, mediterranean-phoenician trading activity, etc.). 

Some of the main problems that we consider is knowing the role played by roads in these communities. In this research, therefore, have different questions to answer where mobility is the main axis of the discourse. One of the most important issues is the role of the most frequented rutes routes within bronze and irone age populations. Are the settlements in junctions points? Were necropolis shared by differentiated comunities? Did these pathways change during the first age in relation with the first colonies stablished by phoenician traders? Did these settlement patterns change with the adoption of new agricultural and farming activities?

In order to answer the suggested these questions, We propose the use of spatial analysis as the best methodology to answer these questions. Moreover, the study of possibles ancient pathways and all other non-geographical factors of human the mobility are important as well. In this sense, the integration of spatial analysis and geostatistics techniques (include LCA, accessibility, visibility, morphometrics analysis, ..) with classical archaeological and etnographical knowledge would be an interesting approach to improve the understanding of past mobility.


spatial analysis; bronze age; iron age; mobility