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The Epipalaeolithic–Neolithic transition in the Eastern Rif Mountains and the Lower Moulouya valley, Morocco

Abstract

The Neolithic transition, since decades in a particular focus of the Western Mediterranean archaeological research, recently receives new input concerning the chronological frame (Carvalho 2010), the development of regional groups (Manen et al. 2010) or raw material
supply (Binder et al. 2010). One of the most interesting topics about this is the variability of the archaeological record in the Southern Iberian Peninsula. This seems to be closely linked to the complexity of the environment and the particular geographic position. The complex environment originates from a landscape characterized by a considerable contrast between the high mountain ranges of the Bethic Cordillera who descend directly into the Mediterranean. These mountains on one hand produce a rain shadow resulting in more humid conditions in Western and a semiarid environment in Eastern Andalusia and Murcia. On the other hand the area lacks in plains or extended river deltas like the ones of Guadalquivir in the West or Rio Almanzora (Camalich et al. 2004) and Ebro (González-Sampériz et al. 2009) in the east who are more suitable for Neolithic lifestyle, e.g. agriculture. These manifold factors probably have resulted in a very particular pattern of Neolithic expansion not yet understand in detail. From the semiarid areas up to now no doubtless Early Neolithic inventory is known. It seems that these zones were hunter-gatherer retreats were the Epipalaeolithic of the area has lasted longer than in other areas. An Early Neolithic is known for instance from the cave site of Cariguela (Pellicer 1964, Navarette Inciso 1976), far from the coast a rather untypical feature for the Neolithic transition in the Western Mediterranean. The geographic position of the described area first of all is characterized by its closeness to Northern Africa. The impact of the European Neolithisation process on the African continent is discussed by several authors (Gilman 1971). But recently again critique came up about the unidirectional character of this development. Manen et al. (2007 148) mention a couple of features existing in Western Andalusia and Portugal but are not known from the Eastern part of the Southern Iberian Peninsula. These are amongst others pottery features like pointed bases, “bag-like” forms, almagra and several decoration techniques. But also the lithic industries show characteristics not known before like heat treatment, pressure technique and the fabrication of geometric microliths (e.g. trapezes). As a possible source of these features the authors propose the coast Northern Africa. To verify this hypothesis a direct comparison with the African material is required. But a unlike status of research on both sides concerning spatial coverage and temporal resolution as well as terminological differences complicate a direct comparison. An appropriate region for this evaluation could be the Eastern Moroccan coast. Since fifteen years a Moroccan-German mission is working in the area to close the mentioned spatial and chronological gaps. This paper gives an overview about the recent state of knowledge concerning the Neolithic transition by introducing briefly the recently investigated Epipalaeolithic and Neolithic sites. By presenting their artifact inventories particular focus is on the first appearance of Neolithic inventions and how they have spread throughout the area. Finally some terminological differences will be mentioned and a system proposed that should facilitate the intercontinental comparison.

Resources

Linstaedter 2011.pdf Request access Accessed 8 times | Last updated 12.09.2014

Bibliography

Linstädter, J. (2011): The Epipalaeolithic–Neolithic transition in the Eastern Rif Mountains and the Lower Moulouya valley, Morocco. – In: Os últimos caҫadores-recolectores e as primeiras comunidades productoras do sul da Península Ibérica e do norte de Marrocos, Promontoria Monográfica, p: 89 - 98

Authors Jörg Linstädter
Type article
Title The Epipalaeolithic–Neolithic transition in the Eastern Rif Mountains and the Lower Moulouya valley, Morocco
Journal Os últimos caҫadores-recolectores e as primeiras comunidades productoras do sul da Península Ibérica e do norte de Marrocos, Promontoria Monográfica
Year 2011
Number 15
Pages 89 - 98
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