Origins and spread of agriculture in the south-western Mediterranean region
This project focuses on one of the most fascinating events of the long history of the human species: the origins and spread of agriculture. Research over the past 40 years has provided an invaluable dataset on crop domestication and the spread of agriculture into Europe. However, despite the enormous advances in research there are important areas that remain almost unexplored, some of immense interest. This is the case of the western Mediterranean region from where our knowledge is still limited (Iberian Peninsula) or almost inexistent (northern Morocco). The last few years have witnessed a considerable increase in archaeobotany and the effort of a group of Spanish researchers working together in different aspects of agriculture has started to produce the first results. My proposal will approach the study of the arrival of agriculture to the western Mediterranean by exploring different interrelated research areas. The project involves the application of different techniques (analysis of charred plant remains, pollen and non-pollen microfossils, phytoliths, micro-wear analyses, isotopes, soil micromorphology, genetics, and ethnoarchaeology) which will help to define the emergence and spread of agriculture in the area, its likely place of origin, its main technological attributes as well as the range crop husbandry practices carried out. The interaction between the different approaches and the methodologies involved will allow achieving a greater understanding of the type of agriculture that characterized the first farming communities in the most south-western part of Europe.