Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, Vol 5, No 1 (1992)

Environmental Exploitation and Social Structure in Prehistoric Southeast Spain

Matilde Ruiz, Roberto Risch, Paloma Gonzalez Marcen, Pedro Castro, Vicente Lull, Robert Chapman
Issued Date: 21 Mar 2007


Our main concern is not only to understand past environments and societies, but also to consider the present dramatic aridification process which threatens large parts of the southeast of the Iberian peninsula and North Africa. The introduction of a more technical 'archaeology' in recent years has produced a growing body of palaeo-environmental data. Its interpretation proceeds in a rather mechanical and isolated way, producing monolithic 'histories' of different aspects of the same reality. Our proposal for an archaeological theory is based on three factors which interact to form a totality (termed the socioecological system): the socioeconomic formation, the social exploitation of natural resources and the natural environment. The dialectical relationship between the socioeconomic formation and the natural environment takes place by means of social exploitation. As the empirical evidence in the archaeological record is the result of the interaction of these three factors, we analyse as a case study the eco-archaeological implications of the material record from Gatas, a Bronze Age settlement in southeast Spain.

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DOI: 10.1558/jmea.v5i1.3


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