Dr. Ester Verdún Castelló

Contact information
Marine resources
Coastal societies


Independent researcher


Research lines

  • Economy of hunter-gatherer and first farmer societies, specially the consumption and management of coastal resources
  • Occupation of coastal areas and their relationship with paleoenvironmental conditions.

My research interests are focused in the study of the economy of hunter-gatherer and the first farmer societies and the exploitation of marine resources, specially molluscs. The main objectives of this investigation are: a) to afford information about the socio-economic organization of the prehistoric societies and b) to afford paleoenvironmental information about the moment when these animals were consumed.

My research career started in Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, where I got my Master degree and PhD. My PhD project was principally focused on the study of malacological remains from shell middens of ethnoarchaeological sites of Tierra del Fuego. This investigation had two main objectives: a) the application of several methods and techniques to the study of malacological remains and (taxonomy, taphonomy, biometry, morphometry, sclerochronology) b) the obtaining of socio-economic information about the societies that consumed this resource. These studies materialized in my Master thesis Aproximació a l'estudi de les restes de mol·luscs (2006) and, mainly, in my PhD thesis El consum de mol·luscs en societats-caçadores recol·lectores de Tierra del Fuego (Argentina (2011).

During the postdoctoral period I worked as research assistant in UAB and as a researcher.  In 2013 I obtained a post in the Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (Ecuador) to carry out the project Aprovechamiento y gestión de los recursos litorales entre las primeras sociedades agrícolas de la Península de Santa Elena (Ecuador). This fellowship led me to study the consumption of molluscs in the first farmer societies of America. In 2015 I obtained a post in Aix-Marseille Université (France). The main objective of this project (Coastal environments and Human societies in critical times: the consumption of marine resources in the transition of the late Pleistocene to the Holocene) was the study of the consumption of these resources in the Mediterranean area during the transition period from Pleistocene to Holocene and its relation to the paleoenvironmental changes. The techniques applied to the study of malacological remains were: taxonomy, taphonomy, biometry, morphometry, isotope analyses.



Works on faunal assemblages from...



  • Cova Foradada, Xàbia, Alacant, Early Upper Palaeolithic

The malacological remains of this site show the consumption of coastal resources in ancient EUP in the Iberian Peninsula.

  • La Draga, Banyoles, Catalunya, Neolithic

Marine malacological remains were recovered in La Draga, one of the most important neolithic sites. The site is located 40 km far from the coast.



  • Túnel VII, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, 19th century (ethnoarchaeological site)

Shell midden of a hunter-fisher-gatherer ethnoarchaeological society (Yamana).

  • Lanashuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, 19th century (ethnoarchaeological site)

Shell midden of a hunter-fisher-gatherer ethnoarchaeological society (Yamana).


Research projects

2017-2019 Estrategias de aprovechamiento de recursos costeros durante el Paleolítico Medio y Superior en la región cantábrica y sus implicaciones económicas y sociales (HAR2017-86262-P), Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, Gobierno de España. IP: F. I. Gutiérrez (Universidad de Cantabria).           
2016-2019 Producciones, variabilidad técnica e innovación tecnológica en el Neolítico (HAR2016-76534-C2-2-R), Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, Gobierno de España. IP: X. Terradas (IMF-CSIC).                         
2015-2018 Producción animal y cerámica en el neolítico peninsular. Estudio biogeoquímico integrado del consumo y las prácticas culinarias (HAR2014-60081-R), Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, Gobierno de España. IP: X. Clop, M. Saña (UAB). 


Featured publications

Verdún-Castelló, E.; Casabó, J. (2020). Shellfish consumption in the Early Upper Palaeolithic on the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula: The example of Foradada Cave. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2019.102035

Verdún-Castelló, E.; Palomo, A.; Piqué, R.; Saña, M.; Terradas, X. (2017). The consumption of molluscs in the first farming societies: the Neolithic settlement of La Draga (northeast of the Iberian Peninsula). Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, DOI 10.1007/s12520-017-0532-3

Verdún-Castelló, E.; Estévez, J.; Vila, A. (2015). Ethnoarchaeology of Tierra del Fuego hunter-fisher-gatherer societies. The site of Lanashuaia. In Sázelová, S.; Novak, M.; Mizerová, A. (eds.): Forgotten times and spaces: New perspectives in paleoanthropological, paleoetnological and archeological studies, Institute of Archaeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Masaryk University, Brno: 532-541.

Verdún Castelló, E. (2015) Análisis morfométricos en arqueomalacología: identificación de zonas de recolecta en conchales del Canal Beagle. Magallania, 43(1): 277-290.

Malainey, M.; Álvarez, M.; Briz Godino, I.; Zurro Hernández, D.; Verdún-Castelló, E.; Figol, T. (2015). The use of shells as tools by hunter-fisher-gatherers in the Beagle Channel (Tierra del Fuego, South America: an ethnoarchaeological experiment. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 7(2): 187-200. 

Campus d'excel·lència internacional U A B