Among early farmers, shifting agriculture and transhumance. A critical view of the economic models proposed for the Neolithic groups of the northeastern Iberian Peninsula and a contribution from the seed and fruit record

Ferran Antolín

This study aims to contribute some thoughts from an archaeological point of view on the economic models (mainly those referring to agriculture) that have been put forward for the Neolithic in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula. Several variables are presented as relevant to the subject (settlement size and distribution, size of domestic units, economic and social data) and a summary of these variables for the studied period is offered. Archaeological interpretations are compared with the ethnographic data gathered around these relevant variables. After discussing the validity of the proposals put forward in the archaeological literature, an input to the discussion is brought forward by taking the archaeobotanical data into account. These have recently been increased with this author’s doctoral dissertation. It is concluded that archaeological, ethnographical and archaeobotanical data indicate that permanent and probably intensive agriculture must have been the general (not the only) crop husbandry  technique for the Neolithic period. Several farming traditions are observed during the 6th and 5th millennia cal BCE, which could imply cultural  differences that survived until the Middle Neolithic, when a new set of crops seems to have arrived from the north.

Keywords: Archaeobotany, early farmers, Catalonia, Andorra, intensive agriculture.