Welcome to the 2021 archaeological season of ICArEHB!

The world has been upside down since the beginning of 2020, finding itself torn between a vaccination (that allows us to dream of the much-desired “end” of this pandemic) and new waves, strains and restrictions imposed by the evolution of COVID-19.

As in all areas of society, Archeology and archaeological research also suffered from the various impediments to circulation, and the widespread fear felt in 2020, leaving countless meetings, workshops, congresses and, mainly, fieldwork campaigns to be held. 

However, and to progressively return to “normalcy” and recover the precious “lost” time, some ICArEHB researchers will return to the field this summer. Although the epidemiological scenario in Portugal is not very favourable right now (July 2021), the return to the field represents, for some students, the first opportunity to actively experience the most practical aspect of archaeological work.

During this season we’ll have:

Gruta da Companheira (Portimão, PT)

June 26th to July 16th

ICArEHB members: Célia Gonçalves, João Cascalheira e Nuno Bicho

Gruta da Companheira is a small cave discovered in 2016 during the construction of Portimão’s water treatment facility. Two archaeological test pits excavated in the following years revealed the presence of abundant faunal remains and several stone tools with characteristics indicating the presence of Neanderthal occupations. Until July 16th ICArEHB’s team will continue the archaeological work at Companheira, by expanding one of the excavation areas and doing electric resistivity survey to map other possible rooms within the karstic system and possibly find the original entrance to the rooms where the archaeological materials were found. 

Image courtesy of João Cascalheira

Archaeological Complex of Perdigões (Reguengos de Monsaraz, PT)

July 5th to 31st 

ICArEHB members: António Valera (coordinator), Ricardo Godinho, Ana Catarina Basílio

The archaeological site of Perdigões corresponds to a complex of negative structures with 16 ha, which has approximately 1500 years of human occupation (between the end of the Middle Neolithic and the beginning of the Bronze Age). It is characterised by a massive density of archaeological structures, including ditches and numerous negative structures such as pits, timber circles, positive architectures (such as a hut or stone cairns), and even different funerary architectures (Tholoi, cist, and ditches). In recent years, the work has focused on the central area of the archaeological site, and it is here that, so far, there is a more significant overlap of the different chronological occupations of Perdigões. This Ditch Enclosure has more than 20 years of research, financed mainly by ERA Arqueologia S.A. and Herdade do Esporão.

Visits: Between July 12nd to 23rd

Image from perdigoes.org

Quinçay (Poitiers, FR)

July 13th to 28th

ICArEHB members: Vera Aldeias and Chase Murphree

A Chatelperronian cave site being excavated in collaboration with the University of Leiden (lead by Marie Soressi). The site was originally excavated from 1968 – 1990 by François Leveque, and this year’s campaign aims to explore combustion residues and understand the formation processes within the site, which helps archaeologists better understand the artefacts’ context. This summer, the team will implement a new labelling system for the stratigraphy, and it will also retrieve more micromorphological samples from the back of the cave, which has yet to be fully explored. This site is part of Chase Murphree PhD thesis, which will study the use of pyrotechnology by late Neanderthals and Modern Humans during the late Middle and Upper Paleolithic of Europe.

Image from universiteitleiden.nl

 Pech de l’Azé IV (Dordogne, FR)

August 8th to 28th  

ICArEHB members: Vera Aldeias, Chase Murphree e Cruz Vazquez

A Middle Paleolithic Cave site, lead by the University of Pennsylvania and Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology. At Pech, the work will focus on the Neanderthal combustion features in layer 8 of the site, applying a new excavation method to take large blocks of sediment encased in plaster that will be excavated in the lab. This way, archaeological and paleoenvironmental data will be collected as precisely as possible. Besides this, this campaign will also be used to take micromorphological samples from the plaster blocks that are going to be studied in collaboration with ICArEHB members.

Image from oldstoneage.com

Grub Kranawetburg (Vienna, AUS)

September 13th to October 2nd

ICArEHB members: Chase Murphree

It is a Gravettian open-air site located just north of Vienna, Austria. The excavation is led by Philip Nigst, from the University of Vienna. The site was initially excavated in the early ’00s and has multiple combustion features. During this year’s fieldwork micromorphological and biomarker samples will be taken to enable the study of stratigraphy and site formation processes at the site, as well as to study any potential combustion features or residues that might be uncovered during excavation. The excavation is also part of a training dig for the university of Vienna archaeology students. 

Ditched Enclosure of Santa Vitória (Campo Maior, PT)

September 13th to October 9th 

ICArEHB members: António Valera (Coordinator), Ana Catarina Basílio (Co-Coordinator)

The Santa Vitória site was the first Ditch Enclosure identified in Portugal, having been intervened during the ’80s and early ’90s of the 20th century. It contains two lines of sinuous (undulating) ditches excavated in the base rock and some pits in the internal and external areas delimited by the ditches, dating from the 3rd millennium BC and the beginnings of the 2nd millennium BC. With the return of the research to this enclosure, since 2018, it has been possible to understand that the filling dynamics of the structures are more complex, identifying some practices of deposition of standardised archaeological artefacts. This year’s work will focus on Ditch 2, the external ditch.

Image from Valera et al. 2019

All fieldwork follows the safety standards currently in force, with teams being numerically limited.

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