A crew of scientists, led by researchers from the Universidad de Alcalá (UAH) and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), has found and analyzed the primary direct proof of basketry amongst hunter-gatherer societies and early farmers in southern Europe within the Cueva de los Murciélagos of Albuñol (Granada, Spain).
Their work, printed within the prestigious journal Science Advances, analyzes 76 objects manufactured from natural supplies (wooden, reed and esparto) found throughout nineteenth century mining actions within the Granada cave. The researchers studied the uncooked supplies and know-how and carried out carbon-14 relationship, which revealed that the set dates to the early and center Holocene interval, between 9,500 and 6,200 years in the past. That is the primary direct proof of basketry made by Mesolithic hunter-gatherer societies in southern Europe and a singular set of different natural instruments related to early Neolithic farming communities, similar to sandals and a picket mace.
As researcher of the Prehistory Division of the College of Alcalá Francisco Martínez Sevilla explains, ”the brand new relationship of the esparto baskets from the Cueva de los Murciélagos of Albuñol opens a window of alternative to understanding the final hunter-gatherer societies of the early Holocene. The standard and technological complexity of the basketry makes us query the simplistic assumptions now we have about human communities previous to the arrival of agriculture in southern Europe. This work and the challenge that’s being developed locations the Cueva de los Murciélagos as a singular web site in Europe to review the natural supplies of prehistoric populations”.
Cueva de los Murciélagos is situated on the coast of Granada, to the south of the Sierra Nevada and a pair of kilometers from the city of Albuñol. The cave opens on the correct aspect of the Barranco de las Angosturas, at an altitude of 450 meters above sea stage and about 7 kilometers from the present shoreline. It is without doubt one of the most emblematic prehistoric archaeological websites of the Iberian Peninsula as a result of uncommon preservation of natural supplies, which till this research had solely been attributed to the Neolithic. The objects manufactured from perishable supplies had been found by the mining actions of the nineteenth century and had been documented and recovered by Manuel de Góngora y Martínez, later changing into a part of the primary collections of the Nationwide Archaeological Museum of Madrid.
As detailed by María Herrero Otal, co-author of the work and researcher on the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, “the esparto grass objects from Cueva de los Murciélagos are the oldest and best-preserved set of plant fiber supplies in southern Europe up to now identified. The technological range and the remedy of the uncooked materials documented demonstrates the flexibility of prehistoric communities to grasp such a craftsmanship, at the least since 9,500 years in the past, within the Mesolithic interval. Just one sort of approach associated to hunter-gatherers has been recognized, whereas the typological, technological and remedy vary of esparto grass was prolonged in the course of the Neolithic from 7,200 to six,200 years earlier than the current”.
The work is a part of the challenge “De los museos al territorio: actualizando el estudio de la Cueva de los Murciélagos de Albuñol (Granada)” (MUTERMUR), which has been funded by the Group of Madrid and the Universidad de Alcalá. The target of this challenge is the holistic research of the positioning and its materials document, making use of the newest archaeometric strategies and producing high quality scientific knowledge. The challenge additionally included the collaboration of the Nationwide Archaeological Museum, the Archaeological and Ethnological Museum of Granada, the Metropolis Council of Albuñol and the homeowners of the cave.
“The outcomes of this work and the discovering of the oldest basketry in southern Europe give extra that means, if potential, to the phrase written by Manuel de Góngora in his work Prehistoric Antiquities of Andalusia (1868): ‘the now eternally well-known Cueva de los Murciélagos’”, the authors spotlight.