Paleolithic inhabitants of modern-day Spain may have eaten snails 10,000 years earlier than their Mediterranean neighbors, according to a study published August 20, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Javier Fernández-López de Pablo from Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social and colleagues.
Snails were widespread in the Late Pleistocene and Holocene, but it is still unknown when and how they were incorporated into human diets. The authors of this study found land snail shell remains from ~30,000 years ago at a recently discovered site in Cova de la Barriada, Spain. To better understand if the inhabitants may have eaten snails, the researchers investigated patterns of land snail selection, consumption, and accumulation at the site, and then analyzed the shells’ decay, fossilization process, composition, and age at death by measuring the shell size. Read more.
Barcelona - When the Black Death plague hit Spain back in the 14th century, the population reportedly plummeted from around six million to a mere 2.5 million people. However, the first mass grave from that period has only now been discovered, in Barcelona.
Experts found the mass grave underneath a basilica in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, containing 120 bodies, identified as having died from the plague. This is the first discovery of its kind in Spain.
The mass burial site was found beneath the Sant Just i Pastor Basilica, which is already well known as a site of Roman ruins and Visigoth architecture. The basilica now has the dubious honor of also being the only place in Spain which is knowingly a Black Death burial ground. Read more.
Researchers in Spain’s Ciudad Real province have found the buried remains of Spain’s Islamic civilization in a site so full of riches they believe it could provide up to two centuries worth of discoveries.
It has only taken two weeks but already excavations at a archaeological site in the Spanish town of Alcázar de San Juan have turned up some exciting finds.
Researchers from the University of Castilla-La Mancha University say they have already unearthed fragments of household goods from the bronze age as well as a Roman inscription and traces of Celtiberian settlements.
But project leader Víctor López Menchero says the the most exciting discovery is an ancient necropolis containing seven bodies. Read more.
ALTAMIRA, Spain — The cave of Altamira in northern Spain contains some of the world’s finest examples of Paleolithic art. For years, visitors came to see the bisons, horses and mysterious signs painted and carved into the limestone as far back as 22,000 years ago. But in 2002 the cave was closed to the public when algae-like mold started to appear on some paintings. The damage was attributed to the presence of visitors and the use of artificial light to help them see the works.
Now Altamira is being partially reopened and in the process reviving the debate over whether such a prehistoric site can withstand the presence of modern-day visitors. Read more.
The discovery of stone tools dating back one million years in Spain’s Cuenca province sheds new light on the origins of humankind, researchers say.
The tools were left behind by the first humans who settled in the Iberian Peninsula, archaeologists Santiago David Domínguez and Míchel Muñoz told Spanish news agency Europa Press.
Most of the pieces discovered were hewn pieces of extremely hard quartzite known as ‘choppers’, which were used to cut wood and meat by prehistoric humans including Homo Ergaster and Homo Antecessor. Read more.
An ancient inscription discovered on a 14th century church in Spain’s Galicia region has been identified as Gaelic; the first written evidence of the northern region’s Irish and Scottish heritage.
For centuries it has gone unnoticed, weathered by Galicia’s incessant drizzle but still visible to those with an eagle-eye.
On one of the granite walls of Santiago church in the small town of Betanzos, a small previously unintelligible inscription five metres above ground kept historians and epigraphists, or people who study ancient inscriptions, baffled for decades.
Researchers working for a private association called the Gaelaico Project now believe they’ve finally deciphered what it reads: “An Ghaltacht” or “Gaelic-speaking area”. Read more.
The popular conception of the Neanderthal as a club-wielding carnivore is, well, rather primitive, according to a new study conducted at MIT. Instead, our prehistoric cousin may have had a more varied diet that, while heavy on meat, also included plant tissues, such as tubers and nuts.
Scientists from MIT and the University of La Laguna in Spain have identified human fecal remains from El Salt, a known site of Neanderthal occupation in southern Spain that dates back 50,000 years. The researchers analyzed each sample for metabolized versions of animal-derived cholesterol, as well as phytosterol, a cholesterol-like compound found in plants. While all samples contained signs of meat consumption, two samples showed traces of plants—the first direct evidence that Neanderthals may have enjoyed an omnivorous diet. Read more.
MADRID (Reuters) - Spain returned to Colombia on Tuesday 691 archaeological pieces including 3,000-year-old ceramics that were seized in 2003 in a drug-trafficking and money-laundering case.
The pieces - including busts, statues and stone jewelry - were housed for 11 years in Madrid’s Museum of America while courts decided who their rightful owner was after they were illegally exported from Colombia.
The South American country made an official petition to repatriate the objects and Spain’s High Court ruled on June 10 that they be turned over to the Colombian government’s archaeological authorities. Read more.