Exploring the land: a comparison of land-use patterns in the Middle and Upper Paleolithic of the western Mediterranean

Alexandra Miller, C Michael Barton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


By examining the patterning of artifacts across a physical landscape, prehistoric behavior regarding choice in land-use can be delineated. Using survey data from three valleys in eastern Spain, the Polop Alto, the Penaguila, and the Alcalá, we evaluate patterns in land-use for the Middle and Upper Paleolithic. Significant differences between the two time periods would support the idea that the transition from the Middle to the Upper Paleolithic coincided with changes in land-use. Geographic variables, including slope, aspect, and elevation of occupied portions of the landscape are used to determine land-use patterning; lithic analysis is also used to determine the extent of mobility and artifact curation, behaviors that are closely tied to land-use. Results indicate that occupation of the valleys of Mediterranean Spain was spatially patterned in relation to topography. A significant difference exists between intensively occupied and moderately occupied areas within time periods. However, there is little evidence for a difference in land-use between the Middle and Upper Paleolithic for any of the three valleys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1427-1437
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Land-use
  • Mediterranean Spain
  • Middle Paleolithic
  • Mobility
  • Survey data
  • Upper Paleolithic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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