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

  • Ferran Borrell (a1), Josep Bosch (a2) and Tona Majó (a2)

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.

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