Radiocarbon Dating the Beginning of the Neolithic in Iberia

New Results, New Problems


  • Haidé Martins University of Bristol
  • F. Xavier Oms University of Barcelona
  • Luísa Pereira Universidade do Porto and IPATIMUP
  • Alistair W. G. Pike University of Southampton
  • Keri Rowsell University of York
  • João Zilhão University of Barcelona and Centro de Arqueologia da Universidade de Lisboa



barley, chronology, early farming, goat, Iberia, Neolithic, radiocarbon, sheep, wheat


Radiocarbon dating of samples of charred cereal, biomolecularly confirmed sheep bone, human bone from burials, and diagnostic artifacts places the appearance of the ‘Neolithic package’ in Iberia ca. 5500 Cal BC. The earliest dates are statistically indistinguishable from Catalonia to Portugal and, whenever their archaeological context is secure, the associated pottery includes a significant, if not majority cardial-decorated component. These patterns are consistent with models of maritime pioneer colonization whereby the arrival of domesticates results from the dispersal of farming groups carrying the Cardial cultural tradition.

Author Biographies

  • Haidé Martins, University of Bristol
    Haidé Martins is a PhD student at the University of Bristol, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology. Her dissertation work concerns ‘The Neolithic in the Greater Mediterranean Context’.
  • F. Xavier Oms, University of Barcelona
    F. Xavier Oms is a Neolithic archaeologist specializing in the origins of farming in northeastern Spain. He holds a doctorate in Prehistory from the University of Barcelona.
  • Luísa Pereira, Universidade do Porto and IPATIMUP
    Luísa Pereira is a Researcher of Genetic Diversity at the Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology, University of Oporto. She has published extensively on the past and evolution of human populations and their genetic diversity.
  • Alistair W. G. Pike, University of Southampton
    Alistair W.G. Pike is Reader in Archaeological Sciences at the University of Southampton. He specializes in U-series dating and the application of stable isotopes to the study of the diet and mobility of past human populations.
  • Keri Rowsell, University of York
    Keri Rowsell is a PhD student at the BioArCh facility, Department of Archaeology, University of York.
  • João Zilhão, University of Barcelona and Centro de Arqueologia da Universidade de Lisboa
    João Zilhão is ICREA Research Professor at the University of Barcelona. His work on the Middle-to-Upper Palaeolithic transition led him to develop an interest in the formation processes operative in Neolithic cave and rock-shelter sites.






How to Cite

Martins, H., Oms, F. X., Pereira, L., Pike, A. W. G., Rowsell, K., & Zilhão, J. (2015). Radiocarbon Dating the Beginning of the Neolithic in Iberia: New Results, New Problems. Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, 28(1), 105-131.