The earliest basketry in southern Europe: Hunter- gatherer and farmer plant-based technology in Cueva de los Murciélagos (Albuñol)
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AuthorMartínez-Sevilla, Francisco; Murillo Barroso, María de las Mercedes; Pardo Martínez, Rubén; Carrasco Rus, Javier Luis
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Martínez-Sevilla et al. The earliest basketry in southern Europe: Hunter-gatherer and farmer plant-based technology in Cueva de los Murciélagos (Albuñol). Sci. Adv. 9, eadi3055 (2023). [DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.adi3055]
SponsorshipComunidad de Madrid CM/JIN/2021-009; MCIN Ramon y Cajal fellowship RYC2019-028346, RYC2019-026697-I; AGAUR. R.P.H. 2021-SGR 00190; Junior Distinguished Researcher BG20/00076
Plant material culture can offer unique insights into the ways of life of prehistoric societies; however, its perishable nature has prevented a thorough understanding of its diverse and complex uses. Sites with exceptional preservation of organic materials provide a unique opportunity for further research. The burial site of Cueva de los Murciélagos in southern Iberia, uncovered during 19th-century mining activities, contained the best-preserved hunter-gatherer basketry in southern Europe, together with other unique organic artifacts associated with the first farming communities, such as sandals and a wooden hammer. We present 14 14C dates for the perishable artifacts (N = 76), situating the assemblage between the Early and Middle Holocene (c. 7500 to 4200 cal BCE). Our integrated analysis includes raw material determination and technological and chrono-cultural contextualization of this unique and important set of materials.