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Fortified storage areas in the late iron age in NW Iberia: evidence for surplus production and controlled redistribution?

06 Nov 2020 - Luís Seabra, CIBIO-InBIO/UP | 14h45
Fortified storage areas in the late iron age in NW Iberia: evidence for surplus production and controlled redistribution?


Storage is a need common to hunter-gatherers and agricultural communities. Besides the primary requirement to keep, unspoiled, the necessary food to feed a group of people in multiple time-spans, in some societies storage became a relevant issue in the social organization and even in the display of power among different individuals or groups acting on the community or regional level. These practices are seldom identified archaeologically. Archaeological interventions in the Sabor valley (Northeast Portugal) due to the construction of a dam system, led to the largest archaeobotanical investigation ever carried out in Portugal. In the Iron Age sites of Quinta de Crestelos (Mogadouro) and Castelinho (Torre de Moncorvo) concentrations of storage facilities – horrea – were identified. These were used to store mostly clean grains of naked wheat (Triticum aestivum/durum), common millet (Panicum miliaceum) and hulled barley (Hordeum vulgare) but grapes (Vitis vinifera) have also been found regularly. At Castelinho, horrea were protected by massive defensive structures that incorporated abundant rock art and no relevant domestic structures were found within walls. It is now clear that, on a wider regional perspective, these sites seem to reflect a period of change in which the concentration of storage facilities - pits, wattle and daub structures and horrea - became common, making it necessary to assess the eventual capacity of Late Iron Age communities to produce surplus and the social implications of grain accumulation.

Luís Seabra has a graduation (FLUP) and a master (ICS-UM) in Archaeology. Actually, he is a third year PhD student (BIODIV), supervised by Dr. João Pedro Tereso (CIBIO-InBIO; UNIARQ-UL; MHNC-UP), as well as by Dr. Rubim Almeida da Silva (FCUP; CIBIO-InBIO; MHNC-UP), and Dr. María Martín-Seijo (GEPN-ATT-USC), as co-supervisors. During his PhD, Luís Seabra will be studying several archaeological sites in the Douro valley (Northwest Iberia), through the application of archaeobotanical analyses (fruits/seeds). Subjects like agricultural practices, storage strategies, crop processing, environmental data and their relation with past communities are some of his major lines of research.


[Host: João Pedro Tereso, ENVARCH]

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