Mariana Nabais (UCL) - 2014-15 Students

Neanderthal Small Prey Consumption in Central Portugal

Recent research has been demonstrating Neanderthal broad spectrum diets through the evidence of small prey use, like tortoises, rabbits, birds, molluscs, crabs and fish. However, such widening of the diets is not accepted as systematic practice and it is considered as an exception that only occurs in very specific conditions. The aim of my research is, therefore, to explore and challenge the validity of the currently accepted Neanderthal subsistence model, and to design a new one drawing on reliable original evidence from the latest discoveries in Gruta da Figueira Brava and Gruta da Oliveira, Portugal. Through detailed zooarchaeological analysis the goals are to reconstruct the palaeoeconomical activities of Neanderthal groups living in Central Portugal from MIS-5 to MIS-3 (c. 125 to 25 ka BP), and to attempt to model Neanderthal mobility and how their use of the territory responded to the varying environmental conditions extant during this time interval.

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