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The ‘Exogenous’ at Perdigões. Approaching Interaction in the Late 4th and 3rd Millennium BC in Southwest Iberia

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KEY RESOURCES AND SOCIO-
CULTURAL DEVELOPMENTS
IN THE IBERIAN CHALCOLITHIC
Martin Bartelheim, Primitiva Bueno Ramírez
and Michael Kunst (Eds.)
KEY RESOURCES AND SOCIOCULTURAL
DEVELOPMENTS IN THE IBERIAN CHALCOLITHIC
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KEY RESOURCES AND SOCIO-
CULTURAL DEVELOPMENTS
IN THE IBERIAN CHALCOLITHIC
Martin Bartelheim, Primitiva Bueno Ramírez
and Michael Kunst (Eds.)
Tübingen 
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Cover Picture:
View from the ore-rich Cerro de San Cristóbal in Logrosán (Cáceres) to-
wards the dry lands of the Dehesa landscape in the Spanish Extremadura
symbolising the abundance of mineral resources and the scarcity of water
on the Iberian peninsula. Photo: Martin Bartelheim.
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Contents
Martin Bartelheim and Primitiva Bueno Ramírez
Resource Use and Sociocultural Dynamics in the Chalcolithic of the Iberian Peninsula.
An Introduction and Synthesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Primitiva Bueno Ramírez, Rosa Barroso Bermejo and Rodrigo de Balbín Behrmann
Ancestors’ Images as Marks of the Past. The Dolmen of Azután, Toledo (Spain) .................. 23
Felicitas Schmitt
Enclose Where the River Flows. New Investigations on the Southern Meseta
and the Ditched Enclosures of Azután (Toledo) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Carlos P. Odriozola, Rodrigo Villalobos García, Primitiva Bueno Ramírez,
Rosa Barroso Bermejo, Raúl Flores Fernández and Pedro Díaz-del-Río
Late Prehistory Body Ornaments. Exchange and Social Dynamics in the Middle Tagus Basin . . . . . 59
Rosa Barroso Bermejo, Primitiva Bueno Ramírez, Rodrigo de Balbín Behrmann,
and Maria Angeles Lancharro
Production and Consumption of Salt in the Inland Tagus Valley in Prehistory (Spain) ........... 89
Corina Liesau
Fauna in Living and Funerary Contexts of the 3rd Millennium BC in Central Iberia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
José Antonio López Sáez, Antonio Blanco González, Sebastián Pérez Díaz, Francisca Alba Sánchez,
Reyes Luelmo Lautenschlaeger, Arthur Glais and Sara Núñez de la Fuente
Landscapes, Human Activities and Climate Dynamics in the South Meseta of the
Iberian Peninsula During the 3rd and 2nd Millennia calBC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
Rui Mataloto, Catarina Costeira and Diana Nukushina
Local Shop for Local People. Resource Management During the 3rd Millennium BCE
at São Pedro (Redondo, Portugal) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
Victor S. Gonçalves and Ana Catarina Sousa
7KH6KDGRZVRIWKH5LYHUVDQGWKH&RORXUVRI&RSSHU6RPH5HȵHFWLRQVRQWKH
Chalcolithic Farm of Cabeço do Pé da Erra (Coruche, Portugal) and Its Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
António Carlos Valera
The Exogenous at Perdigões. Approaching Interaction in the Late 4th and 3rd
Millennium BC in Southwest Iberia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201
Elena Morán, Rui Parreira and Helmut Becker
Alcalar and the Management of the Resources of Its Territorial Environment
in the 3rd Millennium BCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225
Leonardo García Sanjuán
Farming Economy and Wealth Economy in the Copper Age of the Lower Guadalquivir River.
Debating Strategic Resources at Valencina de la Concepción (Seville, Spain) .................... 237
Javier Escudero Carrillo, Marta Díaz-Zorita Bonilla, Martin Bartelheim
and Leonardo García Sanjuán
Chalcolithic Enclosures in the Lower Guadalquivir Basin. La Loma Del Real Tesoro
(Carmona, Seville, Spain) and Its Resources .................................................... 257
Mercedes Murillo-Barroso and Ignacio Montero-Ruiz
The Social Value of Things. Amber and Copper in the Iberian Chalcolithic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 273
Thomas X. Schuhmacher
Ivory Exchange Networks in the Chalcolithic of the Western Mediterranean ................... 291
201
ANNIO CARLOS VALERA
The Exogenous at Perdigões
Approaching Interaction in the Late
4th and 3rd Millennium BC in Southwest Iberia
Keywords: exogenous materials, exchange, inter-
action, Southwest Iberia, Perdigões, Late Prehistory
Acknowledgments
Our research is conducted in the context of the
Global Program of Research of Perdigões (INARP),
coordinated by NIA-ERA Arqueologia.
Abstract
This paper addresses the presence of exogenous
raw materials and finished objects at Perdigões
ditched enclosures vora, South Portugal) dur-
ing the Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic (3400
2100 BC). A list of the actual available data on
exogenous items (regarding sea and estuarine
products, pottery, ivory, cinnabar, flint, quartz,
gold, marble, limestone and variscite) and a pro-
visional map of the exchange network spatial cov-
erage that these materials suggest are displayed.
Also a preliminary discussion of the social role
played by these items at the site (taking in consid-
eration their categories and context) is presented
and the importance of exchange for the social
practices that were taking place there is stressed.
The question whether Perdigões represents an in-
termediary link in an inter-regional exchange net-
work or a place of consumption of exotic goods re-
lated to squander social practices in the context of
emulative interaction is raised. Further discussion
of this is proposed as a line inquiry for a starting
research project on mobility and exchange to be
developed over the site.
1. Introduction
Interaction always assumed a relevant role in
the explanation of social organisation and so-
cial change. The centrality of interaction in social
theory is not a peculiar circumstance though since
it is a variable present at the core of life. Aristotle
stated in his Nicomachean Ethics that without ex-
change social life simply would not exist. Living so-
cially is interacting and in fact, there is no physical
life without exchange. Interaction is fundamental
to the understanding of individual and social lives
and therefore, was always an indispensable var-
iable in the discourses about the development of
Neolithic and Chalcolithic communities in Iberian
Recent Prehistory.
During the late 4th and the 3rd mill. BC (at least
until its last quarter) Southwest Iberian societies
were engaged in a social trajectory of increasing
complexity. This path can be characterised (and
the order is random) by the intensification of a
production system based mainly in households,
growing social inequalities developed in the con-
text middle-range societies of still segmentary
social relations based on kinship or already de-
veloping a social organisation of transegalitarian
type (Hayden 1995; Garrido Pena 2006; Díaz-del-
Río 2008),1 demographic growth, increment of
semi-specialised work, technological developments
1 Different perspectives have been advocated by ap-
proaches that argue for social systems based on coercion, in-
LWLDOFODVVLVWVWUDWLȴFDWLRQDQGKLHUDUFKLFWHUULWRULDOGLYLVLRQ
of labour organised in a core /periphery system and with
a political institutionalisation of pristine state level read
in the archaeological record of Southwest Iberia (Nocete
2000; 2001; Cámara Serrano/Molina González 2006; Morán/
Parreira 2003; 2009).
António Carlos Valera
202
(namely copper metallurgy and weaving), an in-
crease and diversification of manufactured pro-
ductions, a greater elaboration of the ideological
frame and related forms of display (traduced in an
expansion of iconographic representations) and by
an increment of regional and inter regional inter-
action, expanding old or generating new exchange
networks.
However, as occurs with many other variables
the approach to Prehistoric social interaction has
limitations inherent to archaeological documen-
tation being accessible only through the material
remains of the relations between individuals and
groups of individuals. Those materialities, such
as artefacts, raw materials, contexts and spatial
locations allow us to speak about the circulation
of concrete objects and raw materials, but also
of abstractions such as ideas, traditions, techno-
logic knowledge, styles or aesthetics. In addition,
during the last decades the available isotopic and
DNA analytic technology permitted a more con-
crete approach to the mobility of animals and
humans. Still, it is not easy to address the routes,
forms, rules, agents, meanings and the social, eco-
nomic and ideological roles assumed by exchange
in prehistoric communities using those materi-
als. In other words: the nature of interaction does
not become evident by the simple fact that it is
inherent to social life or because it is documented
by the presence of its material remains. Approach-
ing the social role played by exchange requires
strong bodies of theory as has been formulated in
recent years (Sahlins 1972; Renfrew 1975; 1986;
Earle/Ericson 1977; Scarre/Healy 1983; Wasser-
man/Faust 1994; Earle 2002; Kering/Shennan
2015 stand as examples). Also a systematic use of
modern analytic methods (namely archaeometric
RQHVDQGDQDGHTXDWHVHWRIGLYHUVLȴHGVLWHVZLWK
well- preserved contexts and with solid research
programs.
In Southwest Iberia during the late 4th and the
3rd mill. BC the large ditched enclosures emerge
as one type of place that concentrates evidence
of large and middle scale exchange, becoming
important contexts to approach its dynamics in
the global social trajectory. Amongst the several
known, Perdigões due to the nature of its contexts,
heritage situation and programmed research,
provides a good documental base for this enquiry.
The site is located in the inland of Alentejo, in the
Portuguese middle Guadiana basin (Reguengos
de Monsaraz municipality, Évora district) where
DVLJQLȴFDQWFRQFHQWUDWLRQRIGLWFKHGHQFORVXUHV
DQG IHZZDOOHGHQFORVXUHV KDV EHHQLGHQWLȴHG
(Valera 2013a). It is a large set of ditched enclo-
sures (ȴJ) with an intensive research activity
during the last 18 years and with a long list of
publications (for more general synthesis see
Lago et al. 1998; Valera et al. 2000; 2007; Márquez
Romero et al. 2011; Valera et al. 2014a; 2014b).2
The topography of the site forms a natural theatre
open to the east, to the valley of Ribeira do Ála-
mo stream, where more than a hundred mega-
lithic monuments are located. The topographi-
cal location, the gate orientations and the visual
relation established with the valley and horizon
are founded in astronomic grounds related to the
sun annual cycle and to the construction of a local
highly symbolic and codified landscape (Valera
2010). The set of enclosures presents a long chro-
nology starting with the Late Neolithic (around
3400 3300 BC), developing through the Chalco-
lithic and reaching the end of the 3rd mill. BC. The
area occupied since the Neolithic is superior to
10ha reaching at least 16ha at the end of the site’s
life. During this time span Perdigões was increas-
ingly integrated in an exchange network that con-
nected it to several peripheral regions in Iberia
and to areas outside the peninsula. This makes
it a privileged site to approach social interaction
in the region, in particular the exchange of goods
and people and animal mobility.
To deal with these issues a project was recent-
ly designed designated ‘Mobility and Interaction
in South Portugal Recent Prehistory: the Role of
Aggregation Centres’, for which this paper estab-
lishes a point of departure.3 At the present stage of
research, we have to narrow the amplitude of the
debate about exchange at Perdigões and present a
ȴUVWVHWRIH[RJHQRXVPDWHULDOVWRJHWKHUZLWKWKH
2 For a complete list of publications see: <http://perdre-
search.blogspot.pt/p /teste-1.html> (last access 09.03.2016).
3 This project is to be developed during 2016– 2018, di-
UHFWHGE\WKHDXWKRUDQGȴQDQFHGE\WKH3RUWXJXHVH6FLHQFH
Foundation (ICArEHB-Algarve University, Era Arqueologia
and Hércules Laboratory-Évora University are participant
institutions).
The ‘Exogenous’ at Perdigões 203
Fig. 1. Location of Perdigões in the Iberian Peninsula and in the valley of Ribeira do Álamo settlement and
megalithic network. Magnetogram by Helmut Becker (Valera et al. 2014b).
António Carlos Valera
204
nature of their contexts and the provisional spatial
amplitude of the exchange network in which the
site was integrated. This includes objects and raw
materials mainly from funerary contexts, which
indicate connections with the littoral, with the Por-
tuguese Estremadura and the coast of Alentejo,
with more northern areas of the inland Alentejo,
with the Spanish Extremadura and more central
areas of Iberia, with Central Andalusia and with
North Africa, while the preliminary results of iso-
topic analyses of human remains are indicating a
relevant percentage of outsiders.
2. The ‘Exogenous’ at Perdigões: Brief
Synthesis of the Available Data
Determining what is exogenous in Perdigões (as
in other sites) is not simple. Archaeology usually
assumes as exogenous objects made out of locally
unavailable raw materials. But it is also important
to determine whether it is just the raw materials
that circulate and production is local, whether the
FLUFXODWLRQRIȴQLVKHGSURGXFWVRFFXUVRUERWK2Q
the other hand, objects made of locally available
raw materials may also have an exogenous prov-
HQDQFHDVLWXDWLRQPRUH GLɚFXOWWR GLVFULPLQDWH
We may use style or technological fingerprints
to recognise them, but many may be simply im-
possible to identify as exogenous. Thus, when ap-
proaching the presence of exogenous materials at
Perdigões we will use raw material and style as cri-
teria and in addition also technological attributes
for some categories of objects and register whether
there is evidence of local production using non
local raw materials. We must be aware that the
range of imported objects is most probably larger
than the one we are able to discriminate at the
moment.
Based on these criteria, the actual list of items
that indicate an exogenous provenance in Per-
digões can be organised in eight main groups: sea
and estuarine products, marble and limestone
items, pottery, beads, cinnabar, flint, ivory, am-
ber and ‘others’. Nevertheless, it is important to
take into consideration that many raw materials
present at Perdigões, namely the ones used in the
beads and other lithic assemblages, were not yet
LGHQWLȴHG
2.1. Sea and Estuarine Products (ȴJ)
Shells are the most frequent element that docu-
ments connections with the littoral areas, although
always in relatively small numbers. In the first
studied assemblage (from Chalcolithic Ditch 3 and
Ditch 4 and some pits in Sector I of Perdigões 3)
maritime and estuarine taxa were identified:
scallop (Pecten maximus; Pecten sp.) with twelve
remains, cockle (Cerastoderma edule) with one
remain and clam (Venerupis decussata) with one
remain (Coelho 2008). These same taxa have been
found in several other contexts in Perdigões (still
in study) with predominance of the Pecten max-
imus, three large limpet (Patella candei), two sea
urchins (Echinoidea sp.) and several spotted cowrie
shells (Trivia monacha) were recorded in funerary
contexts (tholoi type tombs and pits with cremated
remains). Apart from the shells there is a wing
bone of a northern gannet (Morus bassanus), a ma-
rine bird that migrates from northern Europe pass-
ing through the Portuguese coast, recorded in the
funerary contexts of Tomb 2 (Cabaço 2009).
The most probable area of provenance of these
items is the Alentejo coast (for the sea molluscs)
and the Tejo and Sado estuaries (for the Cerasto-
derma edule and Venerupis decussate), located 105
to 120km west/northwest of Perdigões. However,
the size of the large Patella candei shells, measur-
ing about 10cm, indicate the warmer southern wa-
ters of the North African Atlantic coast.
In general, the salt water molluscs do not seem
to have had any role in diets in Perdigões. The fo-
cus was in the shells that were used as adornment
or in practices of symbolic meaning, namely funer-
ary ones. Two shells of Cerastorderma edule were
perforated and transformed in pendants, while the
Echinoidea sp. and the Trivia monacha shells were
used as beads. It is interesting to notice that only
the convex valve of the Pecten maximus is present,
as it is usual in other inland Alentejo contexts and
frequently in funerary assemblages, where also
the Patella candei was recorded. They were proba-
bly used as small containers in ritual practices.
However, the possibility of rare and punc tual
consumption of some molluscs cannot be com-
pletely ruled out. Small amounts, for instance of
clam or cockle, could be transported in pots with
salt water and the salt itself could be another
The ‘Exogenous’ at Perdigões 205
product to travel from littoral to more inland
areas, although we still miss direct proof of its pres-
ence at Perdigões. The location of the site of Mon-
te da Quinta 2 in the Sorraia river valley, where
an area of salt production was detected (Valera
et al. 2006), might support this hypothesis. There
a specialised area of salt production using the bri-
quetage method was recorded and, through the
volumetric and quantitative study of the pottery,
a production of 1293 litres was estimated just for
the excavated accumulation of pottery sherds. This
specialisation and amount of production indicates
Fig. 2. Sea and estuarine shells and bone of northern gannet (Morus bassanus) from Perdigões.
António Carlos Valera
206
a production for export, namely to supply the more
interior areas of north and central Alentejo easily
connected to the left bank of the Flandrian Tagus
estuary precisely by the Sorraia Valley.
2.2. Marble and Limestone Objects (ȴJ)
Marble and limestone artefacts are almost exclu-
sively represented by small recipients and betils,
the only exception might be what seems to be a
fragment of a bracelet (table 1). With the exception
of one betil from pit 39, three others collected at the
surface and one recipient also from the surface, all
the others were recorded in the funerary contexts
of Tomb 1 and 2. The recipients are predominant
in Tombs 1 and 2, while in the pits and area with
depositions of cremated remains betils are pre-
dominant (see Valera et al. 2014b for a description
of the referred funerary contexts).
A preliminary approach to the provenance of
these items was conducted using Prompt Gamma
Activation Analysis (Dias et al. 2017). A total of 14
artefacts (13 betils and one recipient) and eleven
geological samples from three different regions
(Tavira, Algarve; Estremoz-Borba-Vila Viçosa,
Alentejo; Pêro Pinheiro-Moleanos, Estremadura)
were analysed. The results show that seven of the
analysed betils were made of marbles related to
the Estremoz-Borba-Vila Viçosa area located some
30–40km north of Perdigões. The only analysed
recipient (also the only analysed artefact from
the tholoi type tombs) is made of limestone that
is compatible with the geological samples of Es-
tremadura, namely with the ones from Moleanos,
located 160km northwest of Perdigões. The re-
PDLQLQJȴYHbetils are from sources other than the
sampled areas. Despite the initial stage of this re-
search (that needs to extend the analysis to more
artefacts and to geological samples of other areas
and to include other methods), these preliminary
results reveal different provenances with differ-
ent distances for this kind of materials and suggest
that they may have a diverse contextual account
in the site. No evidence of local production was re-
corded so far.
2.3. Pottery: Style and Provenance
Approaches (ȴJ)
Following the previous studies on this issue in the
region (Cabral et al. 1988; Polvorinos et al. 2002;
Odriozola 2006) a first archaeometric approach
to pottery provenance of Pedigões was done com-
paring recipients from funerary contexts (Tomb 1
and Tomb 2) with others from interior areas of the
enclosures and local weathered geological mate-
rial samples (Dias et al. 2008). The results showed
that, if the majority of the analysed recipients
were made of clays derived from the weathered
gabro-diorites where Perdigões is located, there is
DVSHFLȴFJURXSRISRWVDOOIURP7RPEPDGHRI
clays from weathered schist situated at a minimum
distance of 5km from the site. It should be kept in
mind that Tomb 1 was used for secondary depo-
sitions, while the tomb detoriated and kept being
used without reparations, suggesting a periodic use
from outside people. The presence of this group of
ceramics was interpreted as one more indicator of
practices developed at Perdigões involving people,
human remains and objects from surrounding ter-
ritories. A second approach focused on Bell Beaker
pottery (Odriozola et al. 2008) suggested that there
might be exchange between Perdigões and Porto
Torrão (Beja district), but also relations with the
Spanish Extremadura region, namely with the
large enclosures of San Blás and Pijotilla.
These relations with more interior areas of the
Peninsula have also been stressed by stylistic anal-
ysis. The incised beaker pottery of the Portuguese
middle Guadiana Basin presents patterns that may
be related almost exclusively to the Ciempozue-
los stylistic complex, while the incised beakers of
Contexts Recipi-
ents Betils Bracelets
Tholoi
type
tombs
Tomb 1 15 0 0
Tomb 2 7 3 0
Deposi-
tions of
cremated
remains
Pit 40 1 9 1
Ambi-
ence 1 050
Others Pit 39 0 1 0
Surface 1 3 0
Total 24 21 1
Tab. 1. Distribution of marble and lime items in
Perdigões funerary contexts.
The ‘Exogenous’ at Perdigões 207
Fig. 3. Marble and limestone betils and recipients from Perdigões funerary contexts.
António Carlos Valera
208
Fig. 4. Decorated pottery from Perdigões that indicates connections with peripheral areas: (A) Morphologies
and decorations typical of Portuguese Estremadura; (B) Decorations typical of Tierra de Barros (Spanish
Extremadura); (C) Ciempozuelos beaker patterns.
The ‘Exogenous’ at Perdigões 209
the Sado basin and Atlantic coast of Alentejo are
predominantly associated to the Palmela stylistic
complex (Valera/Rebuge 2011). The presence of
some incised combed decorations and of ‘pastil-
has repuchadasin Perdigões also indicates rela-
tions with the areas of the Tierra de Barros in Ex-
tremadura. Some large globular recipients with
re-entrant rims and decorated with parallel deep
incised lines, incised diamond shape motives, re-
ticulated motives or horizontal bands of incised
herringbones motives (Lago et al. 1998) are typical
of the Lisbon Peninsula region, pointing to another
direction.
2.4. Variscite and Muscovite Beads
(ȴJ$)
Beads are present in great numbers in the fu-
nerary contexts of Perdigões and occasionally in
other contexts (like ditches or pits). They are made
of shell (as seen above) or in a variety of rocks and
minerals. So far, only a part of the ‘green stone’
beads from the two excavated tholoi type tombs 1
and 2 were submitted to archaeometric study
( Odriozola et al. 2010). Out of 42 analysed beads
38 are made of variscite and four are of musco-
vite (three of which are from the late reutilisation
of Tomb 2). The results obtained for the variscite
beads established Pico Centeno outcrops in Sierra
Morena (Encinasola, Huelva) about 68km south-
east of Perdigões as the source of that raw mate-
rial. No presence of raw material and evidence of
local production were detected so far, so the cir-
FXODWLRQVHHPVWRKDYHEHHQUHVWULFWHGWRWKHȴQ-
ished products.
2.5. Cinnabar (ȴJ%)
Cinnabar is also present at the tholoi type tombs
and together with ochre was used as powder
spread over the human remains or in small nod-
ules integrated in the deposits. Following previ-
ous studies on the circulation of cinnabar (Hunt
Ortiz/Hurtado Pérez 2010; Hunt Ortiz et al. 2011;
Rogerio-Candelera et al. 2013; Dias/Mirão 2013),
a recent study (Emslie et al. 2015) showed that
several individuals from both tombs were highly
contaminated with mercury, a fact that was
associated to the cultural use of cinnabar in life
(dietary or digenetic contamination in the funer-
ary context were completely ruled out). Hg iso-
topic compositions of two contaminated human
remains match cinnabar values from the mine of
Almaden (Ciudad Real) 240km east of Perdigões
establishing that mine as the probable source for
at least part of the cinnabar used in those tombs.
2.6. )OLQW6LOLFLȴHG0DWHULDOVȴJ)
)OLQW DQG RWKHUVLOLFLȴHGPDWHULDOVDUHUHODWLYHO\
rare at Perdigões outside the funerary contexts.
7KHUHDUHVRPH ȵLQWEODGH VHJPHQWV DQG DUURZ
heads in pit or ditch features but they are better
represented in the tholoi type Tombs 1 and 2, the
surface deposits of Tomb 3 (particularly large
blades) and the deposits of human cremated re-
mains of pits 16 and 40 (arrowheads). Flint and
VLOLFLȴHGPDWHULDOVDUHDEVHQWLQWKHORFDODQGUH-
gional geology so they were necessarily imported
but the majority of these materials have not yet
been studied regarding their raw material and
HYHQWXDOSURYHQDQFHDUHDV+RZHYHUDȴUVWSUH-
liminary analytic approach to the funerary as-
semblages of large blades revealed that several
were made out of oolithic silicified limestone.
They correspond to long well-patterned blades
knapped through uniform pressure (Mendonça/
Carvalho 2016). There is a total absence of cores
and knapping residues that could be related to
the production of such materials, so they must
KDYH DUULYHGDV ȴQLVKHGSURGXFWV7KHORQJ GLV-
tance circulation of large blades during the Neo-
lithic and Chalcolithic in Central-South Portugal
is a well-documented fact (Zilhão 1994; Carvalho
8HUSPDQQ,Q6RXWK,EHULDWKHȵRZRI
RROLWKLFVLOLFLȴHGEODGHVKDVEHHQVWXGLHG1RFHWH
et al. 2005) showing a supra regional circulation
RIQRUPDOLVHGȴQLVKHGSURGXFWVZLWKRULJLQLQWKH
lithologies of the Mid-Upper Jurassic of the Betic
Mountains in Andalusia, where Perdigões also
seems to be integrated.
António Carlos Valera
210
Fig. 5. (A) Variety of beads from Perdigões Tomb 1 and Tomb 2; (B) Cinnabar spread in the chambers of Tomb
2 and Tomb 1.
The ‘Exogenous’ at Perdigões 211
Fig. 6. /DUJHEODGHVIURP7RPEDQGPLFURVFRSLFLPDJHVRIRROLWKLFVLOLFLȴHGEODGHVIURP7RPEDQG
António Carlos Valera
212
2.7. Ivory (ȴJ)
The studies of ivory circulation in Iberia have had
DVLJQLȴFDQWGHYHORSPHQWLQUHFHQW\HDUV6FKXK-
macher/Cardoso 2007; Schuhmacher 2012; Liesau/
Moreno 2012; García Sanjuán et al. 2013; Nocete
et al. 2013) and a synthesis about the presence of
ivory items in Perdigões was recently published
(Valera et al. 2015). A total of 1348 records of ivory
weighing 2,742kg were studied, the great majority
VPDOO XQFODVVLȴHGIUDJPHQWV,QWHUPVRIREMHFWV
WKHUHLVDVLJQLȴFDQWYDULHW\VFKHPDWLFDQGQDWX-
ralistic anthropomorphic figurines, boxes, lunu-
ODH]RRPRUSKLF ȴJXULQHVFRPEVSLQVGHFRUDWHG
plaques, buttons, dagger hilts, staff, bracelets
and the presence of raw materials (fragments of
tusks) indicating also local production. This is also
suggested by the production in ivory of a typical
regional object: a staff. With the exception of a
button (from Ditch 7) all studied ivory items were
recorded in funerary contexts: 62 in Tomb 1, 755
in Tomb 2, ten in Pit 16, 223 in Pit 40 and 297 in
Ambience 1. A small sample of items (only 16) from
Tomb 1 and Tomb 2 was analysed (optical micros-
copy, isotope ratio mass spectroscopy of carbon
and nitrogen, microcomputer-tomography and
particle induced gamma-ray emission) and turned
out to be from African savannah elephant (Loxo-
donta africana africana), possibly from the Atlantic
North Africa.
2.8. ‘Others’: Quartz Crystal, Gold and
Amber (ȴJ)
Other objects suggest exogenous origin to the local
YLFLQLW\RI3HUGLJ·HVDOWKRXJKLWLVPRUHGLɚFXOWWR
propose possible areas of provenance. That is the
case of a large quartz prismatic crystal from the
chamber of Tomb 1 and the small gold foils from
Tomb 2 (ȴJ). The gold items, that are also present
in other south-western large ditch enclosures like
Valencina de la Concepción (Murillo-Barroso et al.
2015), were made out of native pure gold, but the
lack of a database for gold nuggets elemental com-
positions does not allow a determination of a spe-
FLȴFRULJLQIRUWKHVHREMHFWV6RDUHVHWDO$V
for the prismatic crystal, the presence of this kind
of items in Neolithic and Chalcolithic funerary
contexts is relatively frequent in Galiza, Beira Alta,
but they also appear in the Estremadura, Alente-
jo, the Algarve and western Andalusia (Leisner /
Leisner 1959; Fábregas Valcarce 1983; Fábregas
Valcarce/Rodríguez Rellán 2008; Valera 2007; Cos-
ta Camaré et al. 2011), usually with sizes smaller
than 5cm. The exemplar from Perdigões though,
measures 12cm, being one of the biggest known in
Iberia in megalithic contexts only exceeded by the
prismatic crystal from the Dolmen of Alberite. Due
to its size it might have a distant exogenous origin
(the study of the Alberite piece shows that the ori-
gin is not regional and may possibly be located in
the areas of the Central System Domínguez Bella/
Morata Céspedes 1996, 199), although a regional
origin in the area western of Évora is possible as
well (Figueiredo 2011). Finally, two amber beads
were collected at Tomb 1 (they are still being ana-
lyzed to determine their provenance).
3. Approaching the Role of Exogenous
Materials at Perdigões
Things do not move for nothing, nor completely
alone (Godelier 2000, 122, author ’s translation)
3.1. Space, Routes and Circulation
The presented data shows that Perdigões was in-
volved in a network of circulation of objects and
raw materials that covered all the southwest quad-
rant of Iberia, some central areas of the peninsula
and the western part of North Africa (ȴJ).
As referred to above, several elements docu-
ment a relation with the Portuguese Estremadura,
the western Atlantic coast and the estuaries of Sado
and Tagus Rivers. This relation between the inland
Alentejo and the Estremadura has been underlined
for a long time, mainly in the context of circulation
of amphibolite and sedimentary rock materials
(Lillios 1997; Gonçalves 1989). In the opposite di-
rection, relations with more interior and southern
areas of Iberia seem to have developed through
the middle Guadiana Basin and through the Sierra
Morena Mountains connecting with the Guadalqui-
vir Valley. In fact, Central Alentejo seems to have
functioned as a main linking area between the
The ‘Exogenous’ at Perdigões 213
Fig. 7. Ivory items from Perdigões funerary contexts.
António Carlos Valera
214
Fig. 8. (A) Prismatic quartz from Tomb 1 of Perdigões; (B) Gold foils from Tomb 2 of Perdigões.
The ‘Exogenous’ at Perdigões 215
exchange, see Appadurai 1986), tributes (Nocete
2001) or were integrated in social reciprocity mech-
anisms of a gift nature (Mauss 2008; Godelier 2000;
Sahlins 1972). To approach these issues at sites like
Perdigões we need to look into how the ‘exogenous’
is expressed there.
3.2. Questioning the ‘Exogenous’ at
Perdigões
The moment when a project designed to study mo-
bility and exchange at Perdigões is about to begin
is hardly the ideal one to evaluate the role of the
‘exogenous’ at the site, still it seems reasonable to
discuss some of the issues that will inform the in-
quiry that will orientate that research.
The number and variety of exogenous mate-
rials at Perdigões clearly document that the site was
involved in a large network of contacts during its
OLIHVSDQ$QGDȴUVWLVVXHWKDWLPPHGLDWHO\HPHUJ-
es is precisely the diachronic behaviour of the ‘ex-
ogenous’ at Perdigões. In fact, in these long-lasting
Portuguese Estremadura, the Spanish Extremadura
and western Andalusia, a situation that could have
been effective since Early Neolithic (Gonçalves
1989; Diniz 2007). The interaction between these
regions seems to have increased during the late 4th
and the 3rd mill. BC, probably following previously
established traditional routes, developing a large
scale exchange network that would abruptly col-
lapse at the end of the 3rd mill. (Valera 2014; 2015).
But how did this network operate and how did
WKLQJVȵRZWKURXJKLW"7KHUHLVVWLOODEOXUUHGLPDJH
of how objects circulated. Namely whether there
were regular routes directly connecting distant re-
JLRQVDQGDJJUHJDWLRQFHQWUHVRUZKHWKHUWKHȵRZ
of objects was occurring mainly through a net of
intermediary places based on neighbourhood rela-
tions, whether the circulation was operating over a
vast hierarchical territory or over an area of middle
UDQJHSHHUSROLWLHVZKHWKHUWKHȵRZRIJRRGVZDV
associated to substantial human mobility or was
mainly related to processes of supplying large sed-
entary aggregation centres or whether things cir-
culated as commodities (productions designed for
Fig. 9. Provisional coverage area of Perdigões exchange network: (A) Central Portuguese Estremadura;
(B) Tagus and Sado estuaries and coast of Alentejo; C: Estremoz-Borba-Vila Viçosa area; (D) Tierra de Barros area;
(3LFR&HQWHQR)$OPDGHQ*-XUDVVLFVLOLFLȴHGOLPHVWRQHRXWFURSVRI%HWLF0RXQWLQV+ZHVWHUQ1RUWK$IULFD
António Carlos Valera
216
places variables should be approached through a
biographic perspective, for they have not a constant
performance. In the case of Perdigões for the Late
Neolithic phase (3400–2900 BC), although the site
was already quite large (certainly more than 10ha),
evidence of exchange is scarcer. The material cul-
ture in general reveals a high integration into the
regional parameters in terms of raw materials and
VW\OHDOWKRXJKVRPHREMHFWVUHȵHFWDQLQWHJUDWLRQLQ
a shared ideological sphere of a higher amplitude:
the ceramic ‘horn idols’ (some decorated), the bone
Almeriense Idols’ or some schist decorated plaques.
The items necessarily imported from non-local
DUHDVDUHUHVWULFWHG WRVRPHUDUH ȵLQWEODGHVDQG
some estuarine (Cerastoderma edule) and sea shells
(Pecten maximus and Trivia monacha). A contrast-
ing image is observable from the second quarter of
the 3rd mill. BC, when the volume and diversity of
exogenous items increases to reach a peak by the
middle and third quarter of the millennium. The in-
WHQVLȴFDWLRQRIWKHȆH[RJHQRXVȇKRZHYHULVUHODWHG
to a contextual particularity: the funerary contexts.
In fact, with the exception of shells (namely Pecten
maximusVRPHȵLQWDUURZKHDGVDOLPHVWRQHLGRO
a few ivory items and beads, all the above referred
H[RJHQRXVPDWHULDOVFRPHIURPȴYHIXQHUDU\FRQ-
texts: Tombs 1, 2 and 3 and Pits 16 and 40 with the
depositions of cremated remains, all in all repre-
senting the remains of more than 400 individuals.
So far, only two small pit graves were excavated
at Perdigões belonging to the Late Neolithic phase
(Valera et al. 2014b), corresponding to depositions of
remains of three children and one adult female with
only one shell (Cerastoderma edule) pendant associ-
ated. Since there is a tendency for the concentration
of exotic materials in funerary contexts, the small
number of excavated tombs from Late Neolithic
Perdigões could explain in part the smaller num-
bers of exotic materials during this period. In fact,
in recently excavated hypogea from the Late Neo-
lithic in Alentejo, large normalised oolithic blades
and ivory items were recorded in Sobreira de Cima
(Valera 2013b). Glyssimeris bracelets were present
at Outeiro Alto 2 (Valera et al. 2013) and oolithic
blades were registered at the megalithic monument
of Poço da Gateira (Nocete et al. 2005), showing the
circulation of these exogenous items in the region
in the middle and second half of the 4th mill. BC.
Never theless, if we should expect a higher presence
of exogenous materials in Late Neolithic Perdigões,
if more funerary contexts of this period are found
there, this will not challenge the idea that during
the 3rdPLOOWKHUHLVDVLJQLȴFDQWLQFUHDVHLQDPRXQW
and variety of imported materials at the site. But
this diachronic tendency should be characterised
and dated with more detail.
The increase in circulation of exotic materi-
als in Southwest Iberia during the 3rd mill. BC has
been associated with the development of social
complexity, namely to a gradual increment of so-
cial inequality and social hierarchy. These factors
are considered responsible for the increasing de-
mand and consumption of exogenous valued raw
materials and objects as forms of display to re-
inforce social status and related political power
(Harrison/Gilman 1977; Jorge 1990; Nocete 2001;
García Sanjuán et al. 2013). The tendency for these
exotic materials to end up in funerary contexts, as
it seems to happen at Perdigões, has also been no-
ticed (Nocete et al. 2005; Costa Camaré et al. 2011)
and interpreted as a way of transforming these
contexts into forms of expressing social inequal-
ities (Nocete et al. 2005). However, the situation
detected in the Chalcolithic funerary contexts exca-
vated so far at Perdigões allow alternative or com-
plementary perspectives for the social role of exog-
enous items that should be further investigated.
Despite the fact that Tomb 1 and Tomb 2 in the
eastern limits of Perdigões enclosures and the pits
with the cremated remains in the central area of
the enclosures have contemporaneous uses dur-
ing the middle/third quarter of the 3rd mill. BC, it
has recently been emphasised that they present
different architectures, different treatments of the
body and different material assemblages, which
are nonetheless always rich in exotic items (Valera
et al. 2015).
These funerary contexts are of a collective na-
ture, resulting from secondary depositions and
comprising individuals or parts of individuals com-
pletely diluted in a mass of bones where no sense
of individuality or individual social rank can be
recognied through any particular association to
an assemblage of votive materials. Differentiation
could only be established between the collective-
ness of each tomb, but only regarding the architec-
tures, body treatments and votive items, but not in
their general ‘value’.
The ‘Exogenous’ at Perdigões 217
In fact, in the pits with cremated remains pot-
tery is always present in the form of small sherds
unlike the complete pots found in the tholoi type
tombs. In the pits arrowheads reveal different
morphological typologies; knapped blades are
missing, beads are made of different raw mate-
rials, copper awls are present, while in the tholoi
type tombs copper items are extremely rare and
LYRU\LWHPVVKRZVLJQLȴFDQWW\SRORJLFDOGLIIHUHQF-
es. The differences between assemblages are strik-
ing, but not in terms of wealth or quantity, and
together with the other disparities (architecture,
location and body treatment) suggest identity dis-
tinctions among groups exhibited through diverse
ritual procedures.
Additionally, the exogenous materials are re-
lated to two different categories of objects in these
assemblages. One relates to personal adornment
and personal prestige, as in the case of bracelets,
pins, combs, boxes, buttons or elements of daggers.
Others, like the anthropomorphic and zoomorphic
ȴJXULQHVWKHVPDOO VWDII RU WKHOXQXODH UHIHU WR
cosmologies and to the sacred or social order, be-
ing more related to ideas, roles or mythical char-
acters than to concrete people. Therefore, if some
exogenous items could directly address individual
status, others could address ideological issues and
associated social roles (Valera et al. 2015) and if
they produced some sort of social differentiation it
would be through those ideological referents. Thus,
at Perdigões the exogenous items seem to respond
to quite diverse social needs. They may have taken
active parts in many practices performed in the
site, but they mainly end up in contexts of a funer-
ary nature. And if some personal items refer to the
individual and could have contributed to enhance
individual prestige, others seem to refer to ideol-
ogies, social roles and cosmologies, showing that
the incorporation of exotic and distant raw mate-
rials was enacted in different dimensions of the
compound social relations that were being forged
in the enclosures. So, instead of assuming axio-
matically the presence of exogenous materials as
DVLPSOHUHȵHFWLRQRIVRFLDOLQHTXDOLWLHV WKLVSOX-
rality must be present at the inquiry that is leading
research.
Furthermore, the evaluation of these diver-
sified social roles that exogenous materials may
have assumed at Perdigões is also related to the
problem of their value and to how they arrived
at the site, a problem, which needs some previous
WKHRUHWLFDOFODULȴFDWLRQV
4. Some Notes about Exchange and Value
The problem of exchange is tightly linked to the
problem of value. The essentialist perspective of
value (value as an intrinsically property of the
thing) was questioned by Marx, that established
value as something exterior determined by the
quantity of social work needed for the produc-
tion of the item, privileging the productive phase
as the generator of value (see discussion in Appa-
durai 1986). This prevalence of production condi-
tions in the generation of value is followed by the
materialistic approaches to exchange in Iberia
Late Prehistory. For the Guadalquivir Valley, it has
been argued that the power of a dominant elite
was resting not on the control of the circulation of
goods but rather on the control of a labour force
for resource exploitation and extraction of surplus
(Nocete 2001; Nocete et al. 2005). Some decades
HDUOLHU*LOPDQDUJXHGLQIDYRXURIDVWDSOHȴQDQFH
expanding system for the development of Millaran
societies (assuming a similar model for the Portu-
guese Estremadura), considering that there was
a ‘relatively passive participation of the Millaran
centers in the long-distance exchange networks of
their time’ (Gilman 1987, 28). It is underlined that
there was not a generalised circulation of goods,
but rather an exchange of a small number of prod-
ucts with roles related to social competition and
that in the context of low technological develop-
ment the increase of surplus to feed exchange can
only be obtained through the coercive control of
the labour force (Nocete 2001). The control of the
means of production would be the only source of
value of the exchange goods.
+RZHYHUZKLOHGHȴQLQJFRPPRGLWLHVDVSURG-
ucts with use value for others, Marx himself en-
larges the process of value generation, a path de-
veloped by others that put the focus on exchange
as another source of economic value (Simmel 1978;
Appadurai 1986; Kopytoff 1986). If production gen-
erates value so does exchange, circulation and con-
sumption. This rupture with the strict focus on pro-
duction in favour of the adoption of an approach
António Carlos Valera
218
to a global trajectory that considers production/
exchange /distribution/ consumption allows us to
consider more complex mechanisms of value ac-
quiring and more complex social lives for the ex-
changed items. Advocating for a biographical ap-
proach of things (Appadurai 1986; Kopytoff 1986) it
is argued that a commodity (exchangeable good) is
a situation (commodity-hood), a state in the biogra-
phy of things, into which they can move in and out
during their social lives. So there is no such thing
as an essential commodity and an essential non
commodity thing. Everything may assume the con-
dition of exchangeable item and see its economic
and symbolic value enhanced by entering in a lo-
cal, regional or interregional interaction network
regardless its production costs. Those conditions
(the commodity candidacy of Appadurai 1986, 14)
involve criteria that may be of symbolic, economic,
social, moral or religious nature and they vary in
time and space or in a same social historical con-
text for regimes of value are not always a complete
shared set of assumptions (Appdurai 1986, 15).
5. Back to Perdigões Exogenous Items
The biographic approach to the generation of value
leads us to the questions of ‘what was the state of
the exogenous items at Perdigões?’ and ‘was it the
same for all them?’. In other words, were all the
exogenous items known at Perdigões in a com-
modity-hood state? And were they all a result of
exchange in a sense that they arrived at Perdigões
as a result of a transaction (obtained through coun-
terpart goods)?
Again, answering these questions is one of
the goals of the new project that is about to begin
for Perdigões. For the moment, we can only say
that if there was something leaving Perdigões to
exchange for these items we do not know what
it was. Perdigões cannot be directly related to
VSHFLȴFUHVRXUFHVWKDWFRXOGEHDFRXQWHUSDUWIRU
such exchange and no areas of intensive and spe-
cialised production of goods for exchange were
LGHQWLȴHG DW WKH VLWHVR IDU$QLPDOVFRXOGEHDQ
exchangeable resource, but some of them could
very well also be ‘exogenous’ goods brought to be
consumed there and the patterns of slaughter de-
tected in some studied structures indicate the kill
of very young animals (Costa 2013), which is more
consistent with feasting and wealth exhibition
than cattle subsistence management. On the other
hand, the majority of exogenous materials at Per-
GLJ·HVFDQEHFODVVLȴHGLQWKHFDWHJRU\RIȆSUHVWLJH
goods’ and, in barter transactions, the spheres of
exchange tend not to mix and are frequently hier-
archic (Kopytoff 1986, 70 f.), so subsistence goods
tend not to be used in the exchanges involving
prestige goods. However, to what extent was cattle
a subsistence or a prestige good?
In alternative, Perdigões could have played
the role of a redistribution centre, especially if we
take into consideration its geographical position
between regions such as the Portuguese Estrema-
dura, the Spanish Extremadura, the Lower Gua-
dalquivir Valley and the Huelva and Algarve areas.
In this hypothesis, what was exiting the site would
be, in general terms, the same that was coming
in, only in different directions. This redistribution
role however, is not easy to empirically demon-
strate and if it was effective it would only operate
at higher scales of the network for the evidence for
the local settlements shows that these exogenous
items are always quite rare.
Yet, the fact that the majority of exogenous ma-
terials (even raw materials as the ivory tusks) are
present in funerary contexts indicates that Per-
digões was more than just an intermediary plat-
form of circulation of goods. It might have been a
place of consumption, where the absence of evident
counterpart production suggests that we might be
in presence of a place where wealth squandering
social practices were performed in the context of
social emulation and identity management strat-
egies. In fact, the evaluation of the ‘exogenous’ in
a site is not independent of the nature of the site
and vice versa. Perdigões revealed a number of in-
GLFDWRUVȂORFDWLRQDUFKLWHFWXUDOGHVLJQVVSHFLȴF
social practices, rarity of clear long lasting domes-
tic structures (Valera et al. 2014b) – of a place for
social interaction, where ritualised practices were
performed. These involved significant collective
work as a form of communal valorisation and im-
portant consumation of exogenous and exotic ma-
terials in collective funerary contexts, where no
sense of individuality can be observed. Ongoing
isotopic studies on human remains from Perdigões
IXQHUDU\FRQWH[WVVKRZWKDWWKHUHZDVDVLJQLȴFDQW
The ‘Exogenous’ at Perdigões 219
presence of outsiders. The study of human teeth
from Tombs 1 and 2 showed that, although they
SUHVHQWSURȴOHVLQWHJUDWHGLQWKH(XURGRQWSDWWHUQ
(European population), they also present morpho-
logical frequencies that indicate genetic exchanges
with African populations (Cunha 2015). These pre-
liminary approaches to the populations of Per-
digões during the 3rd mill. BC sustain the idea that
the site may have been an important place for the
convergence of people and materials with differ-
ent provenances, and that some of the ‘exogenous’
objects present there may have come directly from
more or less distant places, brought by foreigners
and consumed in funerary practices involving local
and foreign people. That is, they did not all arrive
at Perdigões as commodities in transit in an ex-
change network, but rather as goods intended to be
consumed in ritualised practices (that could have
involved local exchange between groups, possibly
FORVHUWRDUHFLSURFLW\VSLULWWKDQDSURȴWRULHQWHG
one) and deposited (buried) there. The value of
these products would then result from a combina-
tion of several factors: the costs of production they
originally represented, the value acquired during
their life as commodities (exchangeable goods) be-
fore and after their arrival at the site, and the social
role they were given to perform during their con-
suming phase in the funerary contexts. The latter
taking them out of the exchange circuit of the living
and introducing them into the circuits of the after-
life. We do not have access to all the biographic tra-
jectories of these items, namely during the phase in
which they circulate as commodities. We only have
WKHLUFRQWH[WVRIȴQDOFRQVXPSWLRQDQGPD\LGHQ-
tify with different degrees of accuracy the contexts
of their origin and production. So, it is not easy to
determine the value that might have been incorpo-
rated into them during circulation. But that does
not mean that we should ignore it.
6. Final Remarks
During the last three decades interaction in general
DQGPRUHVSHFLȴFDOO\H[FKDQJHKDVEHHQDGGUHVVHG
in Iberian Late Prehistory through functionalist and
materialist approaches in the context of the devel-
opment of social complexity associated to the prob-
lem of increasing social inequality and, for some,
the emergence of pristine forms of State. Though,
UHȵH[LYHDQDO\VLV RIWKHUHVHDUFKSURFHVVKDV XQ-
GHUOLQHGDFHUWDLQȆLQȵDWLRQȇRIFRPSOH[LW\*LOPDQ
1999; 2013; Chapman 2003), questioning the exist-
ence of clear social stratification and centralised
political organisations (Díaz-del-Río 2006; Gilman
2013; García Sanjuán/Murrillo-Barroso 2013), while
nonlinear historical trajectories are advocated,
stressing the diversity of situations that can be ob-
served all over the peninsula. Nevertheless, it is
clear that at least since the last centuries of the 4th
mill. and during almost the whole of the 3rd mill. BC
there is evidence of a generalised increment of so-
cial complexity that reached higher levels in some
Iberian regions, the Southwest being one of them.
In that historical trajectory interaction played a
central role, more central than some are prepared
to accept, for it was through interaction that the so-
cial relations, their developments, resistances and
achievements, were forged. In this perspective, ex-
change is not a by-product of production increase,
demographic growth and social inequalities. It is at
the heart of their processes of development, setting
their parameters and making them possible.
The appreciation of this centrality is demon-
strated in the recent increase of Iberian research
on human mobility by isotopic analysis, of ar-
chaeometric studies of provenance of raw mate-
rials and objects, and of exchange networks. In a
way, these studies represent the recognition of the
need to generate new data in order to evaluate,
contrast and question theories and institutional-
ised discourses. The large ditched enclosures are
privileged contexts to develop this line of inquiry
centred in the social roles of interaction and ex-
change in the historical trajectory generated by the
Neolithic and Chalcolithic communities in South-
west Iberia. So hopefully, Perdigões will be able
to produce important information for the ongoing
debate on the development of social complexity in
this region during the next few years.
António Carlos Valera
Head of Era Arqueologia Research Unit (NIA)
Head of research on Complex Societies at
ICArEHB, University of Algarve
antoniovalera@era-arqueologia.pt
António Carlos Valera
220
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... The quantity of exogenous items and of human and faunal remains that these contexts exhibit turns them into important contexts to approach the role of mobility in the social organization of Neolithic and Chalcolithic societies. The nature of these sites, though, have been the matter of intense debate, balanced between the propositions that consider them macro-villages integrating pristine forms of state (Nocete, 2001;Morán, 2014) and those that present them mainly as places of aggregation, identity management, social emulation and political negotiation, with an intense ceremonial ambience and involved in large scale interaction networks (Márquez Romero and Jiménez Jáimez, 2010;Valera, 2010Valera, , 2017a. In the context of this debate, addressing mobility in these sites is not just a question of accessing its role and evaluating the importance of interaction in the social organization of the times, but also to question what this variable can tell us about the nature of these large and enduring sites. ...
... Results regarding the exogenous materials at Perdigões, their provenance and networks of circulations are already available in several publications (Odriozola et al., 2010;Valera et al., 2015a;Valera, 2017a;André, 2016/ 2017), in addition, stable (carbon and nitrogen) and radiogenic (strontium) isotope data regarding animal mobility and diet was recently published (Žalaite et al., 2018). In this study, Sr isotopic composition of human tooth enamel was used to investigate mobility of the individuals buried in Perdigões. ...
... So, the difference observed between the local monuments and Perdigões could be a chronological one, related to an increase of mobility and of outsiders during the Chalcolithic, manifesting the ability of Perdigões to attract people and a higher integration in large scale interaction networks during the Chalcolithic. The development of large scale interaction during the 3rd millennium BC has been noted and underlined, based on the increasing circulation and consumption of exotic exogenous materials and shared ideological products, in contrast with more restricted levels of interaction during the second half of the 4th millennium BC (Valera, 2017a. The size of the structures and the density of occupation also grew at Perdigões during the Chalcolithic, as well as the architectonic complexity and the number of funerary collective contexts with tens of individuals, indicating a higher demographic input at the site. ...
Article
To access the role of mobility in the social trajectory of Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic societies in the South of Portugal (Southwest Iberia) a project was design to address the human, animal and object/raw material flow present at Perdigões enclosure. Perdigões, located in the inner Alentejo region, has a long chronology from Late Middle Neolithic to Late Chalcolithic/Early Bronze Age (middle 4th and 3rd millennium BC). It is a large complex of ditched enclosures (with at least 16 ditches), presenting several funerary contexts, an abundance of faunal remains and significant concentrations of exogenous materials in tombs. In this study human and animal mobility are addressed through 87 Sr/ 86 Sr isotopic analysis. 69 individuals dating from Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic, with provenance from 9 different archaeological contexts inside the enclosures (tombs, ditches and pits) were analysed. Human data are presented along with previously published strontium isotope ratios from fauna (n = 28; Canis familiaris, Bos taurus, Sus sp., Ovis/Capra, Cervus elaphus, Equus sp.) from the same chronological range and several contextual provenances (Zalaite et al., 2018). Plant samples (n = 20) that cover local and peripheral lithologies were used for establishing local bioavailable strontium isotope ranges. To compare with the Perdigões results, 9 human samples from 3 megalithic monuments (Cebolinhos 1, Comenda 1 and Vidigueiras 2) of the local settlement network were also analysed. The results show a significant scaled mobility of humans and animals in Perdigões, a contextual variation between the funerary contexts within the site and a significant contrast with the individuals from local megalithic monuments. These results, combined with other archaeological data at the site, agree with the interpretation of the site as a large aggregation centre integrated in large scale interaction networks.
... The quantity of exogenous items and of human and faunal remains that these contexts exhibit turns them into important contexts to approach the role of mobility in the social organization of Neolithic and Chalcolithic societies. The nature of these sites, though, have been the matter of intense debate, balanced between the propositions that consider them macro-villages integrating pristine forms of state (Nocete, 2001;Morán, 2014) and those that present them mainly as places of aggregation, identity management, social emulation and political negotiation, with an intense ceremonial ambience and involved in large scale interaction networks (Márquez Romero and Jiménez Jáimez, 2010;Valera, 2010Valera, , 2017a. In the context of this debate, addressing mobility in these sites is not just a question of accessing its role and evaluating the importance of interaction in the social organization of the times, but also to question what this variable can tell us about the nature of these large and enduring sites. ...
... Results regarding the exogenous materials at Perdigões, their provenance and networks of circulations are already available in several publications (Odriozola et al., 2010;Valera et al., 2015a;Valera, 2017a;André, 2016/ 2017), in addition, stable (carbon and nitrogen) and radiogenic (strontium) isotope data regarding animal mobility and diet was recently published (Žalaite et al., 2018). In this study, Sr isotopic composition of human tooth enamel was used to investigate mobility of the individuals buried in Perdigões. ...
... So, the difference observed between the local monuments and Perdigões could be a chronological one, related to an increase of mobility and of outsiders during the Chalcolithic, manifesting the ability of Perdigões to attract people and a higher integration in large scale interaction networks during the Chalcolithic. The development of large scale interaction during the 3rd millennium BC has been noted and underlined, based on the increasing circulation and consumption of exotic exogenous materials and shared ideological products, in contrast with more restricted levels of interaction during the second half of the 4th millennium BC (Valera, 2017a. The size of the structures and the density of occupation also grew at Perdigões during the Chalcolithic, as well as the architectonic complexity and the number of funerary collective contexts with tens of individuals, indicating a higher demographic input at the site. ...
Article
To access the role of mobility in the social trajectory of Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic societies in the South of Portugal (Southwest Iberia) a project was design to address the human, animal and object/raw material flow present at Perdigoes enclosure. Perdigoes, located in the inner Alentejo region, has a long chronology from Late Middle Neolithic to Late Chalcolithic/Early Bronze Age (middle 4th and 3rd millennium BC). It is a large complex of ditched enclosures (with at least 16 ditches), presenting several funerary contexts, an abundance of faunal remains and significant concentrations of exogenous materials in tombs. In this study human and animal mobility are addressed through 87Sr/86Sr isotopic analysis. 69 individuals dating from Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic, with provenance from 9 different archaeological contexts inside the enclosures (tombs, ditches and pits) were analysed. Human data are presented along with previously published strontium isotope ratios from fauna (n = 28; Canis familiaris, Bos taurus, Sus sp., Ovis/Capra, Cervus elaphus, Equus sp.) from the same chronological range and several contextual provenances (Zalaite et al., 2018). Plant samples (n = 20) that cover local and peripheral lithologies were used for establishing local bioavailable strontium isotope ranges. To compare with the Perdigoes results, 9 human samples from 3 megalithic monuments (Cebolinhos 1, Comenda 1 and Vidigueiras 2) of the local settlement network were also analysed. The results show a significant scaled mobility of humans and animals in Perdigoes, a contextual variation between the funerary contexts within the site and a significant contrast with the individuals from local megalithic monuments. These results, combined with other archaeological data at the site, agree with the interpretation of the site as a large aggregation centre integrated in large scale interaction networks.
... About the meanings, though, we can only speculate, and the elements that integrate de depositions certainly had many genres of activity that they referred to simultaneously (Robb 2010). But taking in consideration some of the observed internal relations, it could be suggested that the use of pottery in this filling sequence could stand as a metaphor for the social relations in construction in the period (first half of the 3 rd millennium BC) and in the site (that has been interpreted mainly as an aggregation centre for social negotiation and interaction, ceremonial practices, and identity management - Valera et al. 2014a;2015;Valera 2017). Naturally, this hypothesis cannot be demonstrated, and its value stands in terms of the plausibility it may acquire in face of the information that is being obtained for the Perdigões, where several contexts have been providing evidences of practices of social emulation and identity management Valera 2017) that could impregnate and be expressed by different contexts, from the most complex funerary structure, to the ways a pit is filled. ...
... But taking in consideration some of the observed internal relations, it could be suggested that the use of pottery in this filling sequence could stand as a metaphor for the social relations in construction in the period (first half of the 3 rd millennium BC) and in the site (that has been interpreted mainly as an aggregation centre for social negotiation and interaction, ceremonial practices, and identity management - Valera et al. 2014a;2015;Valera 2017). Naturally, this hypothesis cannot be demonstrated, and its value stands in terms of the plausibility it may acquire in face of the information that is being obtained for the Perdigões, where several contexts have been providing evidences of practices of social emulation and identity management Valera 2017) that could impregnate and be expressed by different contexts, from the most complex funerary structure, to the ways a pit is filled. ...
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This paper presents the sequence of depositions inside Pit 50 of Perdigões ditched enclosure, dating from the first half of the 3rd millennium BC, and discusses the patterning that emerges from the detailed analysis of the distribution and levels of integrity of pottery and faunal remains along the infilling sequence. It is argued that these patterns are intentional and incorporate metaphorical meanings. Some interpretative hypothesis are put forward, taking in consideration the global scenario provided by Perdigões enclosure, from which this particular context recursively retrieves and provides significance. keywords: Structured depositions, Pottery depositions, Faunal depositions, Chalcolithic, Perdigões.
... Perante a situação, de imediato se instala a dúvida, já por várias vezes expressa, de se esta diversidade traduz práticas e contextos independentes entre si (e que até se procuram deliberadamente contrastar), ou se de alguma forma eles estão ligados, numa espécie de cadeia operatória porque passam os restos mortais, configurando-se as práticas funerárias mais como um processo faseado e distendido no tempo, do que como um conjunto de procedimentos confinados e circunscritos à volta do momento da morte. São os contextos funerários nos Perdigões arenas de gestão de identidades grupais e de processos de emulação social Valera 2017), ou espaços de grande porosidade e mistura? Ou são, precisamente através desta dualidade, espaços de negociação de uma tensão entre tendências de diferenciação e de agregação social? ...
... O Sepulcro 2 apresenta o mesmo tipo de materiais e em quantidades semelhantes, ainda que com algumas diferenças: em marfim estão presentes lúnulas (ausentes no Sepulcro 1) e as pontas de seta e sobretudo as grandes lâminas de sílex ocorrem em número significativamente mais reduzido (Mendonça, Carvalho 2016), o mesmo acontecendo com os recipientes cerâmicos, não existindo materiais metálicos. Em ambos os sepulcros, contudo, estão presentes matérias primas exógenas, como o sílex (nomeadamente oolítico), o calcário, o marfim, o cinábrio, conchas marinhas, a variscite ou o âmbar siciliano (Valera 2017). Quando comparamos com o Sepulcro 3, sobressai neste último a total ausência de objectos em marfim (bastante abundantes nos Sepulcros 1 e 2), em calcário e em âmbar, assim como a raridade de pontas de seta e dos elementos de adorno. ...
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This is the monographic study of Tomb 4 of Perdigões enclosure, dated to the third quarter of the 3rd millennium BC, contextualized in the problematic of funerary contexts at this large ditched enclosure.
... As relações entre a Península de Lisboa e o Alentejo interior têm vindo sucessivamente a ser sublinhadas com base em questões estilísticas ou estudos de matérias-primas, nomeadamente relativos à circulação do anfibolito, do sílex, do cobre, de objetos em calcário ou de conchas e sal (Gonçalves, 1989;Lillios, 1997;Müller e Cardoso, 2008;Dias et. al., 2017;Valera, 2017aValera, , 2017bValera e André, 2017). Estas relações são bidirecionais e nada impede que, no que ao marfim respeita, pelo menos uma parte do que chega à Estremadura venha por uma rota interior via bacia do Guadiana. ...
... A estilística e o tipo de objetos em marfim presentes no interior alentejano parecem, assim, fazer-nos olhar mais para Este do que para Oeste, parecendo enquadrar-se mais no ambiente conceptual da Extremadura e Andaluzia ocidental, situação que reforça a ideia anteriormente expressa relativa à vinculação do marfim a fluxos de relações variados entre regiões. Note-se que o interior alentejano se encontra numa posição de placa giratória entre, por um lado, as regiões do curso médio do Guadiana e do baixo Guadalquivir, que apresentam uma forte pujança durante o 3º milénio a.C., e, por outro, a Estremadura, o que em grande medida permite compreender a presença nos Perdigões de materiais exógenos de múltiplas proveniências (o cinábrio de Almaden, a variscite de Serra Morena, o sílex do maciço bético, o mármore da zona de Borba -Vila Viçosa, o calcário estremenho, as conchas atlânticas, o âmbar siciliano e o marfim de origem africana (Valera, 2017a), que chegou eventualmente acompanhado pelas conchas de Patella candei recolhidas em vários dos sepulcros já intervencionados (Valera e André, 2017). O marfim é, pois, mais um destes materiais exóticos, cujo desempenho social cabe agora a questionar. ...
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Full-text available
During the second half of the 4th and the 3rd millennium BC there was an increment of the circulation of raw materials and exotic objects, and large transregional exchange networks were developed in the context of a growing social complexity. Between the diversified raw materials and artefacts that fed those networks, ivory and ivory objects are to be highlighted. They not just provide a higher spatial amplitude to these networks, but they also assume diversified social roles in the ideological and exuberant forms of expression of these communities. In this paper, an updating of the inventory and cartography of sites with ivory is presented, together with new data regarding its chronology and circulation in Portuguese territory during the Recent Prehistory. Artefact categories are analysed along with their contextual relations, aiming to evaluate the role of the circulation of ivory in the increment of exchange networks and of its relevance in the social dynamics of the Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic.
... At Perdigões, cinnabar was also only used in the ritual procedures of some tombs (Tombs 1 and 2), and absent in others (e.g., Tomb 4 and the deposition of cremated remains in Pit 40 that were partially contemporaneous). These differences were also noted regarding other votive materials and stylistic options, indicating the use of these materials in group identity management and possibly social emulation practices (Valera, 2017;Valera, 2020). ...
Article
In this study, total mercury (THg) was analyzed in archaeological human bone from 23 sites dating to between the Middle Neolithic and the Antiquity. A total of 370 individuals from individual or collective burials were sampled, mostly using cortical bone from the humerus. These individuals were recovered from over 50 different funerary structures ranging from tholoi, pits, caves and hypogea. Although cinnabar (HgS) is a likely cause of mercury poisoning and toxicity for people exposed to this mineral from mining or use as a paint or pigment, not all sites investigated here had cinnabar associated with the burials or other excavated areas. We found unusual levels of THg in many of the sampled individuals that we assume were caused by exposure to cinnabar in life, and not by diagenetic processes or other exposures to mercury such as through diet which would only cause negligible accumulation of THg in bone. Our data, based on the largest sampling ever undertaken on contamination of human bone through archaeological evidence, provide a baseline for additional research on cinnabar and its use in Prehistory. Moderate to high levels of THg in human bone are mainly associated with societies dating from the second half of the 4th to late 3rd millennia B.C. (Late Neolithic to Middle Chalcolithic) in southern Iberia. By the Late Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age the use of cinnabar decreased significantly and became minimal or absent. The use and abuse of cinnabar appears to have been pervasive throughout the above‐mentioned period, and particularly between c. 2900‐2300 B.C. This occurred in connection with the high symbolic and probably sacred value of the substance, which was sought after, traded and extensively used in a variety of rituals and social practices.
... Las representaciones antropomorfas esquemáticas y naturalistas en los recintos de Perdigões han sido abordadas recientemente en múltiples artículos (Valera, 2012;2015a;2015b;2017;Valera et al., 2015;Milesi et al., 2013) que tratan los objetos exóticos e ideotécnicos del yacimiento en general o se centran en categorías específicas, como los "ídolos almerienses", las figuritas naturalistas o los ídolos falange. A pesar de que las ideas generales expresadas en tales artículos continúan siendo relevantes, necesitan actualizarse en algunos aspectos (como el catálogo y parte de la información contextual), debido a la continua investigación que se desarrolla en Perdigões en el contexto de su Programa Global de Investigación. ...
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Historical records document medieval immigration from North Africa to Iberia to create Islamic al-Andalus. Here, we present a low-coverage genome of an eleventh century CE man buried in an Islamic necropolis in Segorbe, near Valencia, Spain. Uniparental lineages indicate North African ancestry, but at the autosomal level he displays a mosaic of North African and European-like ancestries, distinct from any present-day population. Altogether, the genome-wide evidence, stable isotope results and the age of the burial indicate that his ancestry was ultimately a result of admixture between recently arrived Amazigh people (Berbers) and the population inhabiting the Peninsula prior to the Islamic conquest. We detect differences between our sample and a previously published group of contemporary individuals from Valencia, exemplifying how detailed, small-scale aDNA studies can illuminate fine-grained regional …
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Se analizan casi setecientas representaciones figurativas muebles de carácter simbólico del Neolítico Reciente y del Calcolítico de Andalucía Oriental, clasificadas en seis categorías generales. La valoración de las materias primas, técnicas de manufactura, iconografía y contextos de recuperación de los ítems, junto con datos procedentes del arte rupestre y de la etnografía, ha permitido proponer que esta fenomenología arqueológica participó de un conglomerado de elaboraciones ideológicas para la justificación de las relaciones de género y del ejercicio del poder político. El dominio numérico de las figuritas femeninas pone de relieve el sometimiento y la explotación del colectivo femenino en la producción económica y en la reproducción de cuerpos humanos necesarias en la generación de plusvalías que permitieron la instauración de disimetrías sociales. Los ídolos falange y los tolva eran amuletos propiciatorios de la salud reproductiva de las mujeres en relación con las dos grandes etapas de su ciclo vital y con su participación en las ceremonias sociales. Paralelamente, las imágenes de las deidades femeninas y de las figuritas ginecomorfas se vinculan con el reforzamiento de la justificación ideológica del dominio patriarcal mediante su proyección en el orden cosmológico de la religión “institucionalizada” y en los rituales domésticos. Los ídolos almerienses y los planos reflejan el destacado papel social de ciertos individuos en la conexión entre los muertos y las divinidades en la vida de ultratumba. Los ídolos sobre hueso largo y sobre materias óseas duras expresan la legitimación de la autoridad ritual y la prevalencia conexa en la gestión de productos de alto valor económico y social, mediante la apropiación del motivo iconográfico oculado. Finalmente, las imágenes de las deidades masculinas evocan la sacralización de ciertos linajes de las élites dominantes en la consolidación del poder político y de la autoridad, en el marco de un proceso histórico que tendió a adoptar formas aristocráticas en detrimento de la significación de las divinidades femeninas en el universo cosmológico.
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Los megalitos de Gandul se consideran el cementerio del hábitat situado en la cercana Mesa de Gandul. Esta interpretación obedece al modelo binario de asentamiento-necrópolis proporcionado por el sitio de Los Millares, en Santa Fe de Mondújar (Almería). De ser así, cada asentamiento de la región debería contar con su zona funeraria; pero los datos no certifican esta norma. Otra posibilidad es considerar este conjunto dolménico un cementerio compartido por varios hábitats del entorno. Así, esta necrópolis respondería al patrón ya propuesto para Valencina, según el cual las poblaciones locales se organizaban en distritos funerarios. Este modelo caracterizaría a gran parte del sur ibérico. La propuesta dispone de marcadores fáciles de identificar en el registro arqueológico, y es compatible con la existencia paralela de otras estructuras sociopolíticas de los grupos humanos calcolíticos.
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Carbonate-rich archaeological artefacts are difficult to identify and correlate between them and with raw materials of such heterogeneous geological sources, especially when only non-invasive analysis is possible. A novel combination of X-ray and neutron-based non-invasive analysis is implemented and used for the first time to study prehistoric stone idols and vessels, contributing to culture identity, mobility and interaction in the recent Prehistory of Southern Iberia. Elemental composition was obtained by prompt gamma activation analysis (PGAA) and external beam particle-induced x-ray emission (PIXE); homogeneity of the stone artefacts and the presence/absence of internal fractures were obtained by neutron radiography (NR). These atomic and nuclear techniques, simultaneously used for complementary chemical information, have been demonstrated to be of great value as they provide non-destructive compositional information avoiding sample preparation, crucial in so singular and rare objects. The obtained results, especially of PGAA, are very promising and useful in general assessments of provenance. The stone artefacts show signs of both nearby and long-distance procurement, as well as of unknown attribution.
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Taking as a point of departure the in-depth analysis and description of an exceptional discovery, consisting of a large hammered gold sheet decorated with embossed motifs from the well-known Chalcolithic settlement of Valencina de la Concepcion (Seville, Spain), this article presents a general appraisal of the social and ideological role of gold in Copper Age Iberia. The information available for this find, including both its context and its inherent characteristics, opens up new perspectives for research into the technology, use, sociology and symbolism of gold during this time period. We describe and analyse this unique item in detail, including the characterization of the raw material used and the manufacturing process (via SEM-BSE and LA-ICP-MS), as well as an extensive reconstruction of the graphic motifs that are represented, by using digital imaging processing techniques (RTI). We compare this find with the data currently available for the (approximately) 100 Chalcolithic golden artefacts (or fragments of artefacts) found in Iberia to date. Finally, we present an appraisal of the social and ideological framework in which gold was used in Copper Age Iberia, discussing its relevance in aspects such as the dynamics of social complexity, worldviews or artistic creations.
Thesis
Dental morphological studies are based on the analysis of genetically controlled discrete traits, which are expressed on the morphology of teeth and bones of the oral cavity. Population studies at different geographical and chronological levels have demonstrated that frequency patterns of those traits differ in human populations. The similarities and differences in the distribution of those patterns can be statistically compared in order to calculate biological affinities of human populations. Three human osteological samples were used in this study as proxies for dental variability of archaeological populations in the Middle Guadiana Valley. These series are chrono-culturally affiliated to the Chalcolithic (also referred to as Copper Age). Two of them were exhumed from tombs 1 (PDG1) and 2 (PDG2) in the Archaeological Complex of Perdigões, Reguengos de Monsaraz, Portugal. The third one comes from the tomb of Cerro de las Baterías, La Albuera, Extremadura, Spain. The human remains were excavated from collective burials in which most of the skeletonized elements were disarticulated. Anthropic and natural taphonomic alterations were limiting factors of the study. The main limitation introduced by taphonomy is the impossibility to identify craniomandibular compatibilities. Consequently, individual dentitions could not be isolated. The main objectives of this research were: (I) to characterize the dental morphology of the samples; (II) to gather information on the biological affinities of these samples among themselves and to other series in comparative analyses at synchronic and diachronic levels; (III) to contribute to the resolution of their status in relation to major dental complexes; (IV) to identify possible exogenous contributions to the local phenetic profile; and (V) to provide useful data to future comparative studies on the dental morphology of local/regional populations. The Arizona State University Dental Anthropology System (ASUDAS) was used to identify and evaluate almost all discrete traits used in the morphological analysis of the osteological series. The only trait not included in that method is a recently described variation for the human dentition, identified in the process of this study: Hypotrophic Roots of the Upper Central Incisors (HRUCI). This morphological variation is characterized by the occurrence of UI1 roots that are equal in length to or shorter than their respective crowns. In total, thirty two dental non-metric traits were employed in this analysis. Nine of those were registered on more than one type of tooth. Simple descriptive statistics was used to calculate the frequency for each discrete trait and other data relevant to tooth morphology such as average tooth wear. Bivariate correlation (Kendall's tau-b) tests were used to evaluate the intra-observer error and inter-sample correlations. Principal Components Analysis (PCA) was used to calculate biological affinities of the samples among themselves and to other series published by different authors.
Article
This article discusses the social role played by ivory and ivory articles in the Perdigões enclosures (South Portugal) during the Chalcolithic (third millennium BC), in the context of the emergence and development of social complexity on the Iberian Peninsula. Perdigões is a Portuguese prehistoric site with some of the highest concentrations of ivory objects known in Iberia and with the greatest variety. The contexts, almost exclusively funerary, are discussed along with the results of provenance studies. Comparing the different contexts and the categories of objects made of ivory makes it possible to distinguishing a variety of active social dimensions (such as individual status, group identity, ideological referents, social or political roles, ontological and cosmological perceptions) to these items which drew on the importance of exotic raw materials in the reformulation of social relations that was taking place specifically at this site and in Iberia in general.