Prying New Meaning from Limpet Harvesting at Vale Boi During the Upper Paleolithic

  • Tiina Manne
  • Nuno F. Bicho
Part of the Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology book series (IDCA)


The late Pleistocene record for human exploitation of marine resources is generally accepted as being underrepresented world-wide. The global lowering of sea levels during the last glacial maximum (LGM) extended coastlines, presumably causing much of the evidence for coastal living from that period to be inundated today. The southern coast of Iberia is no exception, having a gently sloping, submerged continental shelf along much of its coastline. During the LGM, this continental shelf would have been partially exposed, with the coastal shore lying a considerable distance south of where it is today. This set of circumstances has no doubt contributed to the lack of known Upper Paleolithic coastal sites in southern Iberia containing records of marine exploitation. However, two key southern Iberian sites provide evidence of long-term marine resource use in this region: Cueva de Nerja and Vale Boi. The southeastern Spanish site of Cueva de Nerja is known for its record of marine fish and shellfish exploitation beginning in the Solutrean (Cortés-Sánchez et al. 2008; Jorda 1986; Morales and Rosello 2008; Serrano et al. 1995). Now the Portuguese site of Vale Boi significantly adds to the evidence of long-term utilization of coastal resources, with its record of marine resource exploitation beginning in the Gravettian.


Last Glacial Maximum Marine Resource Coastal Upwelling Marine Shellfish Shellfish Assemblage 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are grateful to Mary C Stiner for her invaluable guidance throughout all aspects of this research; Rebecca Dean and Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman for their helpful insights and generous assistance; Britt Starkovich, Lisa Janz and Jonathan Dale for constructive comments. The authors are also very grateful to two anonymous reviewers for their valuable insights and suggestions. This research was supported by grants from the Archaeological Institute of America, Portugal Fellowship; Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Scholarship for Foreign Researchers; the Council of European Studies, Luso-American Development Foundation Fellowship; and Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, Portugal (projects POCTI/HAR/37543/2001 and PTDC/HAH/64184/2006).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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