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Life and death in the Neolithic variscite mines at Gavà (Barcelona, Spain)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 January 2015

Ferran Borrell
Affiliation:
Departament de Prehistòria, Mòdul de Recerca A, Campus Nord, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra (Barcelona), Spain (Email: silmarils1000@hotmail.com)
Josep Bosch
Affiliation:
Museu de Gavà, Plaça de Dolors Clua 13, 08850 Gavà (Barcelona), Spain (Email: jbosch@aj-gava.cat; tonamajo@gmail.com)
Tona Majó
Affiliation:
Museu de Gavà, Plaça de Dolors Clua 13, 08850 Gavà (Barcelona), Spain (Email: jbosch@aj-gava.cat; tonamajo@gmail.com)

Abstract

Mining has commonly been thought of as hard manual labour undertaken by the lower echelon of a hierarchical society, but was this always the case? Recent excavations of the variscite mines at Gavà have revealed burials contemporary with the peak of mining activity that represent a community of miners exploiting the subterranean resources for trade and manufacturing variscite beads with a nuanced symbolism. Skeletal evidence demonstrates the physicality of mining while grave goods reveal a community that worked collectively to mine, manufacture and trade goods, with miners themselves benefiting from the fruits of their labours.

Type
Research
Copyright
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd., 2015 

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