July 25, 2021

They find evidence of human settlement 5,000 years ago in the marshes of Doñana

They find evidence of human settlement 5,000 years ago in the marshes of Doñana


A study published in the journal "Journal of Archaeological Science" has confirmed the existence of a human population 5,000 years ago in the marsh of Hinojos, in the current Doñana Natural Area, as reported by the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC).

In this discovery, researchers from the CSIC, the universities of Huelva, Granada and Barcelona and the Foundation of the Employee's Home (Fuhem), discovered in the subsoil of the wetland evidence of a human settlement of the third millennium before our era. .

According to the researcher of the CSIC Juan José Villarías-Robles, of the Institute of Language, Literature and Anthropology, the identification of pollens and microscopic remains of the activity of humans and animals in sedimentation samples accumulated during the Holocene has allowed to estimate the different landscapes of Doñana in the past.

"The results have come to corroborate independently of the geological, archaeological and chronological research carried out by our team before," he adds.

As pointed out by the researcher of the CSIC José Antonio López-Sáez, from the Institute of History, the settlers of this settlement, whose tracks are buried under many meters of subsequent sedimentation, practiced at least agriculture and livestock.

Between the years 2200 and 2000 a. C. there was a rapid marine transgression and the coastline moved into the continent thanks, in part, to the subsidence of the surface by the tectonics of the soil at the mouth of the Guadalquivir. This geological episode, which coincided with a tsunami in the Gulf of Cadiz, suddenly put an end to that community and its culture and transformed the landscape in a radical way.

The disappearance of this settlement, according to the study, took place when a new climatic phase of the Holocene had begun in the Mediterranean countries, drier and warmer than the previous one. According to Antonio Rodríguez-Ramírez, researcher at the University of Huelva, "the subsidence of the land would continue progressively until the first centuries of our era, so that the geomorphology of the coastal and estuarine formations of the Natural Space (which is visible today above sea level) would have an age of only about 2000 years maximum ".

"The settlement in today's Doñana marshes did not recover until about 1,000 years after the marine transgression of the late third millennium BC, partly because of these new Holocene climatic conditions and partly because in the following millennium they took place in the Gulf of Cádiz, two other Atlantic tsunamis in the coast: one around 1450 before our era and the second, some 300 years later, "adds Villarías-Robles.

It was only after this last episode that the area was able to experience a new cultural development, that of the final phase of the Bronze Age in the southwest of the Peninsula, which is what Phoenician explorers and traders found, which marked the passage of the Peninsula from prehistory to history, according to the researcher.

The existence of human settlement in the current marshes of Doñana in the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age periods, as well as traces of episodes of extreme destructive waves of the Atlantic in the littoral of the Guadalquivir under the millennia III and II a. C., contradict the model accepted to date by the majority of historians and archaeologists on the formation of the marshes of the Guadalquivir and the current landscape of the Doñana Natural Area.

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