Re-evaluating the Neolithic: The Impact and the Consolidation of Farming Practices in the Cantabrian Region (Northern Spain)

Miriam Cubas Morera, Jesus Altuna, Esteban Álvarez-Fernández, Angel Armendariz, Miguel A. Fano, Inés L. López-Dóriga, Koro Mariezkurrena, Jesús Tapia, Luis C. Teira, Pablo Arias

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Research projects undertaken in the Cantabrian region since 1980 have produced new, high-quality information about the neolithisation process(es) in this area. It is now necessary to review this archaeological information and test the main hypotheses put forward to explain it. This paper presents an update on the archaeological evidence (sites, chronological dates, archaeozoological, archaeobotanical and technological information) for the early Neolithic in the Cantabrian region. It summarizes recent research on neolithisation in the region, and assesses the impact of this process during the early Neolithic, and its later consolidation. Although the available information is still incomplete, it is now possible to identify the focal point of the introduction of elements characteristic of the Neolithic way of life in the region. Current evidence suggests that it is in the eastern sector, where the earliest arrival of domesticates and new technologies such as pottery has been attested. The existence of continuities—such as sustained reliance on hunting and gathering and the coexistence of old and new funerary rites—suggests the persistence of native populations, which gradually participated in the neolithisation process after an ‘availability phase’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-116
Number of pages38
JournalJournal of World Prehistory
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2016, The Author.


  • Cantabrian region
  • North of Spain
  • Neolithic
  • Mesolithic
  • chronology
  • domesticates
  • cereal
  • pottery
  • funerary record
  • paleodiets

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