The researchers haveanalyseda total of 633 specimens of scaphopods,molluscs, shark teeth and mammalremainsfrom 82 archaeological sites in different regions (Andalusia, Asturias, Cantabria, Castile-La Mancha, Castile-Leon, Valencia, Madrid, Murcia and the Basque Country in Spain, and Alentejo, the Algarve, Extremadura, Lisbon and Setubal in Portugal).
The vast majority of fossils were collected from areas close to archaeological sites, suggesting their potential value as indicators of regional social and symbolic value during Iberianprehistory. However, there were changes throughout the periodanalysed, indicating different cultural fashions and traditions.
The Iberian Peninsula has one of the richest paleontological records in Western Europe. However, "there were generally only scarce indications of the collection and use of fossilsatIberian sitesduring Prehistory, and thus the documentation of thisbehaviourpresented an anomalous situation compared to other regions of Europe, where numerous studies have been published on this practice," explained Miguel Cortés, Professor of Prehistory at the University of Seville and leader of the study.
On the other hand, this confirms the need to take an interdisciplinary methodological approach to detect and study the fossilsthat aresurely still awaiting analysis in the zooarchaeological collections of museums and institutions. In this sense, this work offers a new approach toarchaeo-zoological records from archaeological sites, by identifying some cases where a review is needed.
"This work can serve to reappraise a little-known record and begin to solve the apparent anomaly of fossil collection by Iberian prehistoric communities compared to other areas of Western Europe," added Dr. Cortés.