A study reveals a “migrant” buried in the “restricted” Chalcolithic necropolis of Los Millares

A study reveals a “migrant” buried in the “restricted” Chalcolithic necropolis of Los Millares

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Migratory phenomena are to a large extent marking the current geopolitics and taking part of the public debate of the moment, although nobody escapes that they are nothing new in the historical evolution of the human being, always driven by the need for resources for survival, the search for better living conditions or the flight from threats of various kinds, among other aspects.

In this context, a study entitled “Stable Isotope Analysis of Human Remains from the Los Millares Necropolis: Regional Comparisons and Dietary Variability”, Reflects how the incorporation of individuals into foreign companies to them goes back to the mists of time.

This work, undertaken by members of the US universities of Mount Mercy, Pittsburgh, Iowa and South Florida, revolves around the scientific study of bones belonging to 12 individuals buried in the necropolis of Los Millares, in order to try to identify their "dietary patterns" and compare them with contemporary records linked to human communities in the Iberian Peninsula.

In this regard, the authors of this scientific research recall that the archaeological site of Los Millares, located in the term of the current municipality of Santa Fe de Mondújar (Almería), between the ravines and escarpments that protect the valley of the Andarax river and the foothills of the Sierra de Gádor, constitutes “one of the most significant enclaves of the Copper Age in Europe, not only because of its size and its documented archaeological records, but also because of the theoretically central role it plays in the debates on the evolution of disparity and complexity”Of the late Prehistoric societies in the south of the Iberian Peninsula.

The Los Millares deposit, discovered in 1891 as a result of the construction of a railway line and initially investigated by the Belgian engineer Louis Siret (1860-1934), specifically houses the vestiges of what between 3,200 and 2,200 BC would have been a flourishing fortified population.

The great necropolis of Los Millares

In addition to the architectural remains of the town, among which highlights the imposing first line of the wall of the old fortified enclosure, dating from the Cobre Plenum, a time when the settlement would have reached its peak, the enclave has a necropolis formed by more than 80 circular tombs of tholos type, built with masonry and slate slabs and spread over an area of ​​about 13 hectares.

The authors of this study pay special attention to connotations that mark this necropolis, remembering "the wealth of funeral effects”Discovered during the first excavations in the tombs.

Moreover, as they recall, an investigation carried out in 1981 revealed that some 43 of the tombs studied contained "objects of prestige", like pieces of ivory or amber, "fine ceramic", Ostrich egg shells or seashells, although the same work reflected a"disparity"Between certain graves with"low"Presence of effects"exotic”And others with“higher”Number of them.

In any case, these researchers from US universities state that in relation to the “estimated population” that would have hosted the Los Millares settlement, “the limited number” of circular tombs such as those that make up its necropolis suggests “some form of restricted funeral treatment", Since the" approximately "1,980 individuals buried in the tholos would represent an average of 1.5 or 2 burials per year, depending on the specific period in which the enclave was inhabited.

Under this premise, this work revolves around the Stable isotope analysis of bones from 12 individuals Two children, two adolescents and eight adults were interred in circular graves in Los Millares, on the basis that "the isotopic values ​​of the bones reflect approximately the last ten years of an individual's life."

Thanks to the results of such analyzes as regards the collagen and apatite of the bones examined, to try elucidate the dietary patterns of the inhabitants of the Los Millares settlement and comparing them with samples from other contemporary communities of the Iberian Peninsula, the authors of this study identify "diets composed mainly of terrestrial proteins with little marine contribution, despite the relative proximity of the enclave to the Mediterranean Sea."

Dietary "divergences"

There are some more significant standard deviations than expected, suggesting dietary heterogeneity within this population, with variations in protein resources and plant consumption."Add these researchers from the United States, noting that among the"divergences"Dietetics detected stand out especially those identified in an individual whose age would range between 20 and 35 years.

And it is that when presenting his skeletal remains a "strong wealth" in certain elements included in apatite, whose values ​​reflect the "complete diet" compared to protein components that exclusively show those of collagenThese researchers interpret that the dietary “divergences” of this individual, more marked than in the rest, “may indicate that he was a migrant” who arrived in the region in which the Los Millares settlement is framed not long before his death.

In this regard, the study indicates a “recent research that has identified migrants in late prehistoric burials"Excavated in the Iberian Peninsula and recalls the"asian ivory artifacts”Discovered in the Los Millares enclave, as proof of the“long-distance trade and cultural contacts" what they were already working in the Copper Age.

Europa Press journalist, collaborator of "Sevillanos de Guardia" in Onda Cero Radio and collaborator writer in MRN Aljarafe.

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