Development and consolidation of agricultural and herding practices in the Western Mediterranean basin

The research group is focused on the adoption and consolidation of agriculture and herding practices, their relationship with previous hunter-gatherer societies, and their temporal dissemination and socioeconomic impact throughout the western Mediterranean basin.

The emergence of agriculture and its consolidation in the Western Mediterranean is an issue that is always open to debate. During the 40s and 60s diffusionist hypotheses suggested its expansion throughout northern Africa, while in the 70s this debate took an important shift turning to autoctonist interpretations. These beliefs introduced the concept of acculturation in the Epipaleolithic communities and suggested the existence of different focuses of neolithisation along the Mediterranean basin. Later on, already in the 90s, the most accepted theories pointed to the introduction of some Neolithic “elements” from the core region in the Levant. Genetic studies also enlighted that the diffusion of the Neolithic “elements” to the Western Mediterranean was also a consequence of human migration due to demographic expansion of Neolithic populations from the Levant.

The SAPPO research team has taken part in the study of the neolithisation process in the western Mediterranean basin by conducting fieldwork in northeastern Spain and northern Africa, and studying and reviewing archaeological collections from old excavations. Such a diverse activity has been achieved by means of collaborative work with many institutions and research centres like Museum of Gavà, Museum of La Garrotxa, Barcelona City History Museum, University of Tlemcen (Algeria), and so forth. 

The most significant projects are:

  1. Neolithisation and development of farming and herding societies in the Catalan central coast.
  2. Megalithic phenomenon in the mountain massif of Les Gavarres. (Baix Empordà)
  3. Neolithisation and developmentoffarming and herding societies in western Argelia.