quarta-feira, 26 de novembro de 2014

0017 - New poster

A new poster on paleo pathologies on cremated human remains from Perdigões is available in the section of Posters.

terça-feira, 11 de novembro de 2014

0016 – Phalange Idols

A paper is being prepared about the phalange idols from funerary contexts of Perdigões enclosure. Some are decorated, others just polished and with change in their morphology to make it more anthropomorphic. While cleaning the peaces one of them presented a decoration characteristic of the anthropomorphic figurines of the 3rd millennium BC: the two solar eyes, the facial tattoos and, in this case, a horizontal belt. In the back the usual zigzag hair. Very similar to some decorated phalanges of La Pijotilla.

The paper will address the idols but also their specific support that reveals particular choices and has implications for an important issue of the period: the questions about social role of the horse.

quarta-feira, 24 de setembro de 2014

0015 - Two new posters on Perdigões

New posters on Perdigões ditched enclosures, recently presented at the World UISPP Congress, held in Burgos, are now available at the poster page (just up there).

terça-feira, 9 de setembro de 2014

0014 – New master thesis on Perdigões

A new master thesis was done in the context of the Global Program of Research of Perdigões. Daniela Pereira presented to the University of Coimbra a thesis in Biological Anthropology in which she studies a part of the cremated human remains recovered in the central area of Perdigões enclosure in the excavation of NIA-ERA Arqueologia.

New and important information about the human remains present in this unusual funerary context is now available, adding to the information from other features in the same area and that is in press at the moment.

terça-feira, 2 de setembro de 2014

0013 - A new page dedicated to posters

It is now available in this blog a page dedicated to publish posters about Perdigões research presented in scientific meetings. We start with this one, presented in 2006, and in the next days others will be available. See page above.

sexta-feira, 29 de agosto de 2014

0011 – Research in Perdigões ivory

After the papers on ivory lunulae (Valera, 2010), ivory anthropomorphic figurines (Valera and Evangelista, 2014) and ivory zoomorphic figurines (Valera, Evangelista and Castanheira, in press) a new is in preparation, summarizing and debating the ivory materials from Perdigões to be submitted to thematic volume of World Archaeology journal (António Valera, Thomas Schuhmacher and A. Banerjee will be authors).

In this context the study of figurines is being completed with this year findings at the cremation contexts. And these figurines don’t cease to amaze us. That is the case of this large head (34mm high) that presents 4 eye holes organized by two pairs. One of the eyes is still inlaid with white paste, reinforcing the argument that large and deep eye holes in some of these figurines were inlaid with some materials. In another figurine from Perdigões, one of the eyes still has a small stone fixed with some sort of clay.
(Photo by António Valera)
But this head also show us that some of these figurines were quite big. In the paper already published (Valera and Evangelista, 2014) we were able to determine the general percentage of the size of the heads relating the all body (through the measurement of several complete figurines from South Iberia). They seem to cluster in two groups, one around 18% and another around 13%. Assuming these percentages, this head would belong to a figurine with 19 cm (in the first cluster) or 26cm (in the second cluster).

So, there are some quite large ivory anthropomorphic figurines at Perdigões.

Bibliographic References:

VALERA, António Carlos (2010), "Marfim no recinto calcolítico dos Perdigões (1): "Lúnukas, fragmentação e ontologia dos artefactos", Apontamentos de Arqueologia e Património, 5, Lisboa, NIA-ERA Arqueologia, p. 31-42.

VALERA, A.C. E EVANGELISTA, L.S. (2014), “Anthropomorphic figurines at Perdigões enclosure: naturalism, body proportion and canonical posture as forms of ideological language”, Journal of European Archaeology, 17(2), pp.286-300.

VALERA, EVANGELISTA AND CASTANHEIRA, in press, “Zoomorphic figurines and the problem of Human-Animal relationship in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic Southwest Iberia”, Menga.

quarta-feira, 12 de março de 2014

0010 – The anthropological study of human remains from Perdigões tomb 1.

Secundary human depositions in tomb 1 of Perdigões (photo by Miguel Lago)

The Perdigões ditched enclosure has being continuously investigated since 1997 and during the last years, several funerary structures have been unearthed, with traces of a variety of mortuary practices that include inhumations and cremations found in different architectural solutions like tombs, pits or ditches. Among them is Tomb 1, a tholos type structure discovered in the eastern side of this site where a large amount of human remains were recovered.

The anthropological study of these remains is now in course at the department of Anthropology of the University of Coimbra by Lucy Evangelista that is doing a PhD with this material.

The intention with this doctoral thesis is to, through anthropological analysis of the human remains recovered from Tomb I and the identification of the funerary rules and attitudes present, contribute to the better understanding of the attitudes towards death that were taking place at Perdigões. In addition she will pursue to contextualize the information recovered from the laboratorial study within the global information already available, not only for the other funerary structures identified in the site, but also in a wider regional context where other coeval collections have been studied.

domingo, 9 de março de 2014

0009 – Constructing the temporality of Perdigões enclosure

A paper was recently published on Perdigões temporalities. It can be download here.

Based in a set of 35 radiocarbon dates, an image of progressive growing of the site is emerging. Starting with to central enclosures dating from Late Neolithic (second half of the 4th millennium), grew bigger with the intermediate wavy ditches dated from the second quarter of the 3rd millennium and finally with construction of the ditch 1 in the topo of the amphitheater slope in the second half of the 3rd millennium.

However, this image of a progressing growing must be seen as provisory, since several ditches still to be dated, namely the one that runs partially out of ditch 1 and is cut by it. If this ditch is older, Neolithic for instance, than the site was big since the beginning.

This is an important step into the Perdigões temporalities, but is still just a step. Further research is needed to provide a complete image of the diachronic development of this impressive set of enclosures 

terça-feira, 18 de fevereiro de 2014

0008 – Research in Perdigões Copper Metallurgy

A "bell beaker" dagger from Perdigões.

A new general line of research has been established for Perdigões Global Program of Research focus on copper metallurgy. Although there is some research being done for some while in the context of specific sub projects of this global program mainly orientated to other issues, now it will be developed a specific project for the problematic of copper metallurgy at Perdigões as a whole.

This project will be developed through the collaboration of the Global Program of Archaeological Research of Perdigões, directed by Nia-Era, and the Hercules laboratory of the University of Évora (Portugal).
The sub-project aims to determine the chemical composition of the metal artefacts;   to perform qualitative and quantitative crystallographic analysis on slag; the identification of micro structural characteristics to inform about the techniques and efficiency of production.

The methods to be used are pXRF, OM, SEM-EDS and XRD.

The team from Hercules Laboratory, that will be working in direct relation with the Perdigões Global Research Program, is constituted by Carlo Bottaini, José Mirão, António Candeias and Nick Schiavon.

We will be providing information about the development of the project.

quarta-feira, 5 de fevereiro de 2014

0007 – Stone idols and pots from funerary context: provenance and interaction

Stone idol from cremations pit 40 (Excavations NIA-ERA Arqueologia)

A new archaeometric project is being developed at Perdigões regarding the determination of the raw materials and their provenance for the stone idols and pots from some of the Perdigões funerary contexts.

In fact, the artefactual assemblages from the pits with human cremations present considerable differences when compared with those from the tholoi tombs, although the radiocarbon dating shows that these several feature were simultaneously in use for some time. Archeometric studies to determine the raw materials and their provenance can then be helpful to evaluate the nature of these differences inside Perdigões and also to further characterize the interaction network in which the site was involved.

This project will be carried out by the Nuclear and Technological Institute, Lisbon, in collaboration with the Budapest Neutron Centre. The techniques to be use in archaeological materials and raw material samples from several areas of Central-South Portugal are the Prompt Gamma Activation Analysis (PGAA), Neutron Tomography, External Beam PIXE and Small Angle Neutron Scattering (SANS).

The work will start tomorrow, at Budapest.

sexta-feira, 24 de janeiro de 2014


Dr. Steven D. Emslie, University of North Carolina, Department of Biology and Marine Biology, and Dr.William P. Patterson, Saskatchewan Isotope Laboratory, University of Saskatchewan, Canada initiated a collaboration with the Perdigões Research Project.

They propose to complete stable isotope analyses of δ13C and δ15N on human remains that have been recovered in Perdigões, in an attempt to understand past diets and variations in diets among the people that lived and circulated there. The well-preserved human bone at Perdigões will be ideal for analyzing collagen for both stable isotopes and mercury using small samples (< 5 g) from each skeleton.  These isotopes will provide information on the major trophic level from which these people were subsisting, and whether they had a diet based largely on wild plants and grains or included meat or perhaps some marine-based food sources. 

Recent research on strontium isotopes from human remains at this site suggests that the people at this site were from out site the regions where Perdigões is located.  The analyses of stable isotopes and mercury may provide additional support for this hypothesis as people migrating from different regions are likely to have considerable variation in δ13C and δ15N in their bone, averaged over a lifetime, as well as different exposures to mercury

A pilot study is undergoing using 20 small samples of human bone (from 20 individuals) from existing collections from Chalcolithic Tomb 1 and 2 and from Neolithic pit graves and Chalcolithic cremated remains.  The first results are quite surprising and will be presented at 37th Annual Meeting of the Joint Society of Ethnobiology & Society for Economic Botany Conference, Cherokee, NC, from May 11–14, 2014.

A larger sub-project will be designed for future research in the context of the Global Archaeological Research Programme of Perdigões.

sexta-feira, 3 de janeiro de 2014

0005 - Metallurgy of gold in Perdigões

It will be soon published a paper about the metallurgy of the gold small blades from tomb 2 of Perdigões. This work was presented at the 39th International Symposium of Archaeometry, in Leuven (2012), and is in press in the proceedings.  Are authors António Monge Soares, Luís C. Alves, José C. Frade, Pedro Valério, M. Fátima Araújo, António Candeias, Rui J.C. Silva and António C. Valera.