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From Vilauba to Vila Alba: Changes and continuities in animal and crop husbandry practices from the Early Roman to the beginning of the Middle Ages in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula

Colominas, Lídia, Antolín, Ferran, Ferrer, Marc, Castanyer, Pere, Tremoleda, Joaquim
Quaternary international 2019 v.499 pp. 67-79
archaeobotany, fauna, goats, herding, land use, occupations, plant cultural practices, Iberian Peninsula
Archaeological excavations at the settlement of Vilauba (north-east of the Iberian Peninsula) carried out since 1984 until now have allowed the documentation of a rural villa occupied from the 1st century BC to the second half of the 7th century AD. During its extensive and continued occupation, the villa suffered several architectural changes as a result of the different needs in each period. The most important transformation in the organization of the building was during the 6th-7th centuries. The plan, organization and general characteristics of this settlement clearly contrast with the scheme of the villa from the preceding phases.With this paper, we want to analyse if these architectural changes can be linked with economic transformations. The analyses of faunal and seed remains from the different occupations of the villa show that important changes also took place in animal husbandry during the 6th-7th centuries. There was an emphasis on the exploitation of caprines while the archaeobotanical record shows continuity in the management of the fields already observable during the 4th-5th centuries. This shows to some extent the emergence of a different land use connected to animal exploitation after the arrival of the Visigoths to the site. The study and comparison of the available bioarchaeological data from the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula corroborates that there was a general transformation in animal herding practices during the 6th-7th centuries in the region.