João Zilhão

João Zilhão
University of Barcelona | UB · Department of History and Archaeology

PhD

About

338
Publications
183,574
Reads
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12,435
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2011 - present
University of Barcelona
Position
  • ICREA Research Professor
August 2005 - December 2010
University of Bristol
Position
  • Professor of Palaeolithic Archaeology
March 1999 - March 1999
Université Bordeaux 1
Position
  • Professor (Visiting)

Publications

Publications (338)
Article
Full-text available
During excavation of the prehistoric necropolis of Galeria da Cisterna in 1988-1989, the remains of several individuals were recorded. The direct dating of four attests to use of the cave for funerary purposes during Beaker times. Whilst no Beaker pottery was found, a small fragment of a golden spiral and a set of V-perforated ivory buttons are dia...
Preprint
Full-text available
The transitions from foraging to farming and later to pastoralism in Stone Age Eurasia (c. 11-3 thousand years before present, BP) represent some of the most dramatic lifestyle changes in human evolution. We sequenced 317 genomes of primarily Mesolithic and Neolithic individuals from across Eurasia combined with radiocarbon dates, stable isotope da...
Article
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Paint technology, namely paint preparation and application procedures, is an important aspect of painting traditions. With the expansion of archaeometric studies and in situ non-destructive analytical methods, a renewal of technological studies is being observed in rock art. In situ analyses have several limitations that are widely discussed in the...
Chapter
Full-text available
This paper presents the votive artefacts from the surficial burial context identified at Sala do Ricardo, Lapa da Bugalheira, mostly composed of polished stone tools, a «Montbolo» vessel, knapped stone tools, and Glycymeris sp. bracelets. Coupled with the radiocarbon ages obtained on the associated human bone remains, this composition is consistent...
Chapter
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During the last twenty years, the debate about the transition of the Middle to the Upper Palaeolithic in the Iberian Peninsula has been centered around four main questions: the entity and chronology of the Châtelperronian of the Cantabrian region and Catalonia; the existence of a Late Mousterian to the south and west of the Ebro depression; the exi...
Article
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Gruta do Caldeirão features a c. 6 m-thick archaeological stratification capped by Holocene layers ABC-D and Ea, which overlie layer Eb, a deposit of Magdalenian age that underwent significant disturbance, intrusion, and component mixing caused by funerary use of the cave during the Early Neolithic. Here, we provide an updated overview of the strat...
Article
In the Franco-Cantabrian region and Catalonia, the Upper Palaeolithic begins with three assemblage-types found in stratigraphic order through the interval between 45,000 and 37,000 years ago: the Châtelperronian, the Protoaurignacian, and the Early Aurignacian. A stone tool, the Châtelperron point, and a bone tool, the split-based point, are index...
Article
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A fossil remain of porcupine, a large-sized rodent hitherto unknown in Portugal, was identified during the 2010-13 excavation of the Last Interglacial deposit of Figueira Brava cave. The specimen is a left hemimandible retaining the PM/4 to M/2 series but lacking the incisor and the M/3. Based on the analysis of its morphological and odontometric f...
Article
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Cueva de Ardales in Málaga, Spain, is one of the richest and best-preserved Paleolithic painted caves of southwestern Europe, containing over a thousand graphic representations. Here, we study the red pigment in panel II.A.3 of "Sala de las Estrellas," dated by U-Th to the Middle Paleolithic, to determine its composition, verify its anthropogenic n...
Article
Sourced from the Tyrrhenian Islands and exchanged over long distances, obsidian was used widely across prehistoric Western Europe. An obsidian core and bladelets from a newly discovered rockshelter site in south-eastern Spain, however, raised the possibility of an unrecognised mainland source of obsidian. EDXRF analysis of the Early Magdalenian fin...
Article
Full-text available
Funerary usage of Galeria da Cisterna (Almonda) and Gruta do Caldeirão began at the onset of the Neolithic and continued until Early Medieval times. At Cisterna, the thin Holocene deposit was unstratified; at Caldeirão, the stratigraphic sequence underwent post-depositional disturbance. Using radiocarbon dating, typological considerations, spatial...
Article
Cueva de Ardales in Málaga, Spain, is one of the richest and bestpreserved Paleolithic painted caves of southwestern Europe, containing over a thousand graphic representations. Here, we study the red pigment in panel II.A.3 of “Sala de las Estrellas,” dated by U-Th to the Middle Paleolithic, to determine its composition, verify its anthropogenic na...
Article
Full-text available
The European climate during the Holocene period is characterised by frequent changes of temperature and precipitation. The North Atlantic plays a major role as a driver for European climate and is a dominant precipitation source, particularly for the western European and north African realm. Atmospheric pressure gradients over the Atlantic (North A...
Chapter
Use of radiocarbon to date the human past depends on the accuracy of age measurements and the association of the sample with the events or processes one intends to date. With AMS (Accelerator Mass Spectrometry), samples that are themselves directly informative can be used, which adds correct specimen classification, typological or taxonomic, to the...
Article
Based on previous radiocarbon and U-series (Diffusion/Adsorption) dating of bone samples, the Middle Palaeolithic has been thought to persist at Gruta da Oliveira until ∼37 thousand years (ka) ago. New U-series ages for stratigraphically constraining speleothems, coupled with new luminescence ages for sediment infill, show that the site’s ∼6 m-thic...
Article
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Here we analyze the fossil remains of Castor fiber from the Middle Pleistocene site of Gruta da Aroeira, in the Almonda karst system, Tagus basin (Torres Novas, Portugal) and discuss the archaeological implications of the presence of beavers in the region. The Almonda karst system has been the backdrop for human evolution in Portugal, because there...
Chapter
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Gilman (1984) proposed that an "Upper Paleolithic Revolution" triggered by technological progress and demographic growth, and standing for the emergence of ritual reciprocity mechanisms, explained the major behavioral innovations se en in Europe after 40,000 years ago. Subsequent developments have shown that the notion remains valid but that early...
Chapter
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We present the results of the first year of the field work carried out at Lapa da Bugalheira (Almonda, Torres Novas) by the ARQEVO research project. We have identified an Early Neolithic occupation featuring a characteristic artefact assemblage with impressed wares (both cardial and “boquique”), geometric microliths and ornaments. The age of the as...
Article
p>The presence of rock and portable art on Sicily has been recognized since World War II. This record has been unanimously attributed to the Upper Palaeolithic in the published literature, based almost uniquely on stylistic reasoning. Here we present the first absolute dates in direct association with the Sicilian art record. These data provide new...
Article
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The site of Gruta da Aroeira (Torres Novas, Portugal), with evidence of human occupancy dating to ca. 400 ka (Marine Isotope Stage 11), is one of the very few Middle Pleistocene localities to have provided a fossil hominin cranium associated with Acheulean bifaces in a cave context. The multianalytic study reported here of the by-products of burnin...
Article
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Gruta do Caldeirão is an archaeological cave site located in Tomar (Portugal, western Iberian Peninsula), which contains an important Late Pleistocene sequence from Middle Paleolithic (Mousterian) to Upper Paleolithic (Solutrean-Magdalenian), including lithic tools, human remains, and other large- and small-vertebrate remains. Our revision and inte...
Article
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The Abrigo de la Quebrada (Chelva, Valencia) stratigraphic succession comprises nine Middle Palaeolithic levels. Human selection of this rock shelter for occupation owes to its favourable location—at the gates of a blind valley where the trapping of large herbivores would have been practicable. The immediate environment is varied, with both abrupt...
Article
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The introduction of farming had far-reaching impacts on health, social structure and demography. Although the spread of domesticated plants and animals has been extensively tracked, it is unclear how these nascent economies developed within different environmental and cultural settings. Using molecular and isotopic analysis of lipids from pottery,...
Article
Marine food–reliant subsistence systems such as those in the African Middle Stone Age (MSA) were not thought to exist in Europe until the much later Mesolithic. Whether this apparent lag reflects taphonomic biases or behavioral distinctions between archaic and modern humans remains much debated. Figueira Brava cave, in the Arrábida range (Portugal)...
Chapter
Full-text available
Dated to ca. 400 ka (Marine Isotope Stage 11), the site of Gruta da Aroeira (Torres Novas, Portugal) is one of the very few Middle Pleistocene localities that have yielded a fossil hominin cranium associated with Acheulean bifaces, in a cave context. Our multi-analytical approach to the site’s archaeological record focused on different aspects: the...
Chapter
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Our paper focuses on plant use in the Lower Solutrean to Solutreogravettian sequence of La Boja, a rock-shelter in the Rambla Perea gorge, near Mula (Murcia, Spain). We report on 5692 fragments of charcoal collected (a) within, or in immediate proximity, of 19 fireplaces, or (b) scattered away from hearth features in the same occupation horizons. F...
Article
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The site of Abrigo de la Quebrada (Chelva, Valencia) is a shelter with several levels with Middle Palaeolithic occupations. The level IV, with two dates of 43,930 ± 750 BP (Beta-244002) and >51.6 ka BP (OxA-24855), has a palimpsest structure and a high density of archaeological remains (lithic industry, fauna, charcoals and combustion structures)....
Chapter
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Abrigo de la Quebrada (Chelva, Valencia) is a site of Neanderthal occupation , which has contributed a sequence spanning from MIS 4-5, in the upper levels, to MIS 5, in the lower levels. Level IV shows short and repeated occupations, with a high density of finds related to hunting, and is representative of the upper part of the sequence. The lower...
Article
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The Middle Palaeolithic site of Cueva Antón (Murcia, Spain) is a cave/rock shelter with short-term human occupations dated to marine isotopic stages 5a and 3 (MIS 5a and MIS 3). The site provides a high-resolution sequence because the cave’s living floors, organized around hearth features, present rich assemblages of artefacts and faunal remains ra...
Article
Optimal foraging theory and diet breadth models often place large mammals in top-ranking positions due to their high-energy return. However, mass collection of small prey can result in comparable return rates, and dietary diversity is nutritionally beneficial on its own right. A growing body of evidence recovered from several sites in the Mediterra...
Article
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Article
The Abrigo de la Quebrada rock shelter was occupied by Neanderthal groups during the early Upper Pleistocene, yielding evidence for their subsistence practices and local resource exploitation. This paper focuses on the plant macroremains and the micromammals, which provide information about occupation patterns, the surrounding landscape, the use of...
Article
The recent publication of a human cranium, dating to ca. 436–390 ka, from Gruta da Aroeira provides an important input to the debate about human evolution during the Middle Pleistocene in Europe and the origin of the Neanderthals. This cranium, chronologically located to Marine Isotope Stage 11c (MIS 11c), appears in association with Acheulean lith...
Article
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Slimak et al. challenge the reliability of our oldest (>65,000 years) U-Th dates on carbonates associated with cave paintings in Spain. They cite a supposed lack of parietal art for the 25,000 years following this date, along with potential methodological issues relating to open-system behavior and corrections to detrital or source water 230Th.We s...
Article
L'Abrigo de la Quebrada propose une séquence importante, avec neuf niveaux stratigraphiques dont sept présentent des preuves d'occupation appartenant au Paléolithique moyen. De plus, l'existence d'un niveau stérile, le VI, séparant les niveaux supérieurs (II à V) des niveaux inférieurs (VII à IX), permet d'évaluer, dans une perspective diachronique...
Article
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Under the twin assumptions that species are also defined by behavior and that the emergence of anatomically modern humans was a speciation event, “behavioral modernity” stands for species‐specific features that would be shared by extant humans and their fossil lineage (Homo sapiens) but not by coeval or ancestral anatomically archaic (and hence, by...
Article
The discovery of a partial cranium at the site of Aroeira (Portugal) dating to 389-436 ka augments the current sample of Middle Pleistocene European crania and makes this specimen penecontemporaneous with the fossils from the geographically close Atapuerca Sima de los Huesos (SH) and Arago sites. A recent study of the cranium documented a unique co...
Article
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Objectives The aim of this work is to describe the taphonomic signatures of the Aroeira 3 cranium, with a specific focus on cranial breakage, comparing the cranium with other Middle and Upper Pleistocene hominin fossils in order to approximate the cause of death and the biological agencies and geologic processes involved in the taphonomic record of...
Article
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The time of the Aurignacian’s first appearance in the archeological record lies at the heart of debates on the emergence of European anatomically modern humans. Based on a re-study of Archeological Horizon (AH) 3 of Willendorf II, it has been claimed that the Early Aurignacian was present in the loess plains of Lower Austria by 43.5 ka (thousands o...
Article
Bifaces dominate the Acheulean stone tools recovered during the archaeological excavation of layer X of Gruta da Aroeira, dated to 389–436 ka. Faunal remains and a human cranium were found in association with this lithic assemblage. The raw materials used are mostly quartz and quartzite cobbles available in the vicinity of the site. Technological a...
Article
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From around 2750 to 2500 BC, Bell Beaker pottery became widespread across western and central Europe, before it disappeared between 2200 and 1800 BC. The forces that propelled its expansion are a matter of long-standing debate, and there is support for both cultural diffusion and migration having a role in this process. Here we present genome-wide...
Article
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Cueva de los Aviones (southeast Spain) is a site of the Neandertal-associated Middle Paleolithic of Europe. It hasvyielded ochred and perforated marine shells, red and yellow colorants, and shell containers that feature residuesvof complex pigmentatious mixtures. Similar finds from the Middle Stone Age of South Africa have beenvwidely accepted as a...
Article
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The extent and nature of symbolic behavior among Neandertals are obscure. Although evidence for Neandertal body ornamentation has been proposed, all cave painting has been attributed to modern humans. Here we present dating results for three sites in Spain that show that cave art emerged in Iberia substantially earlier than previously thought. Uran...
Article
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We use stone tool refitting to assess palimpsest formation and stratigraphic integrity in the basal units of the Gruta da Oliveira archeo-stratigraphic sequence, layers 15–27, which TL and U-series dating places in late Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 or early MIS 4. As in most karst contexts, the formation of this succession involved multiple and com...
Data
Distribution per analytical unit of provenience (ensemble) of individual items in Gruta da Oliveira (layers 15–27) refit sets. The nature of the refit links, the ensemble of provenience (EoP) assignment, and its rationale, are given for each set. The Mousterian Cone proveniences (layers 26–27) are highlighted. See main text for definitions. (XLSX)
Data
Distribution per archeo-stratigraphic unit of provenience (layer) of individual items in Gruta da Oliveira (layers 15–27) refit sets. The nature of the refit links, the layer of provenience (LoP) assignment, and its rationale, are given for each set. The Mousterian Cone proveniences (layers 26–27) are highlighted. See main text for definitions. (XL...
Article
Full-text available
Bell Beaker pottery spread across western and central Europe beginning around 2750 BCE before disappearing between 2200-1800 BCE. The mechanism of its expansion is a topic of long-standing debate, with support for both cultural diffusion and human migration. We present new genome-wide ancient DNA data from 170 Neolithic, Copper Age and Bronze Age E...