Discovering Ancient Societies in Portugal
Contribute to the conservation of one of Portugal’s National Monuments, while finding clues about the transition from hunter-gatherer to farming populations. Better understanding the past will give us an improved understanding of our cultural societies today.
Around 8,000 years ago, Central Portugal underwent a dramatic shift in lifestyles from hunting and gathering to farming and herding. This transition, known as the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition, remains one of the most controversial issues in prehistory archaeology, attracting significant archaeological debate and extensive research. The common-held belief is that hunter-gatherers disappeared from Central Portugal around 7,000 years ago, and later, farmers and herders settled the area. But now, archaeologists are uncovering clues contradicting this.
By analyzing bone tools, shells, ornaments and human remains, researchers will trace the transition between these periods to better understand the complex changes not only in technology and subsistence, but also in how people thought about themselves and the world around them, as well as the nature of their social interactions.
Join researchers in Tagus Valley, Portugal, one of the most important regions to study this transitional phase, and help discover the answers to establish a timeline. You’ll excavate, sifting for tools and human remains, while working to preserve part of Portugal’s natural and cultural heritage.
A Typical Itinerary
- Day 1: Meet, travel to field site
- Days 2–6: Excavate at field site, analyze artifacts, process findings in lab
- Day 7: Departure
You also have the option of joining a two-week team.
HOW YOU WILL HELP
EXCAVATING MUGE MESOLITHIC SHELL MOUNDS
You will assist researchers in excavation at the site by helping record data, operate software, screen sediment, and collect archaeological samples.
PROCESSING AND ANALYZING ARTIFACTS IN LAB
In the lab, you will wash and dry-brush artifacts, sort, and label archaeological findings as well as assist with examining plant and animal remains that are clues to the diet of those that lived there. You might have an opportunity to help analyze human remains, should they be discovered on site.
Field conditions and research needs can lead to changes in the itinerary and activities. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.
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