The summer excavation campaign at the Serra de Atapuerca (Burgos) sites allowed us to find evidence of the first soils specially prepared to house Neolithic inhabitantsa unique discovery in the world.
The discovery was made in Portalón, the entrance to the Cueva Mayor, and “one of the best results in Castilla y León”, explained the person in charge, Amália Perezvisiting the media.
Pérez indicated that “they found a housing area, in which houses are being built” but with a “particularity” that was not seen in any other place at the time, of about 7,000 years old.
“They are conditioning spaces for living”, preparing a soil to settle, clay soils cooked to give more consistency and stability to the terrain.
Amalia Pérez explained that the ancient inhabitants of Portalón, in those early Neolithic times, “placed some branches under them, set them on fire and placed the clay to stabilize” the area.
The feeling of the researchers is that they are creating a “Home”, since it is not a simple settlement for interest, without intervening in the space to make it more comfortable.
“We are very happy”, stated Pérez, since this type of soil has not been discovered in any other deposit, neither in Europe nor in the Near or Middle East.
The researcher responsible for the Portalón influenced the housing areas, burials and animal housing areas of this 7,000-year chronology, which were located in other sites.
The novelty of Serra de Atapuerca are the types of soil and, in Portalón, two were excavated and now work is being done on a third, which they consider to be the oldest.
Archaeologists work at the Galería de las Estatuas site in Atapuerca. EFE/Santi Otero
A home for those early farmers and ranchers who settled in the Iberian Peninsula, because although they continued to hunt and gather in Portalón, there were already signs of a change in habits.
“We found some dishes prepared for cut”, explained Pérez, who, without actually being harvesting scythes, show that they sow and reap some of their fruits. In addition to a large amount of ceramics, lithic industry, bone industry and a lot of fauna.
In this place, gateway to Cueva Mayor, there are two levels of excavations: the lowest corresponds to the Neolithic but the top one is from bronze age.
He works at the Cueva Fantasma site in Atapuerca. / EFE/Santi Otero
In both cases it is room spacesexplained Pérez, and “typical” ceramics from each of their eras were found, “very characteristic”.
“In the Bronze Age, ceramics are mostly smooth”, while in the Neolithic they usually recover “precious pieces, with very characteristic decorations”.
All of this makes the Portalón site “very good” and even “spectacular”, as it encompasses a long historical period of occupation, with a succession of dwellings and “important finds”.