This colloquium will focus on Mesolithic shell middens of Portugal and shellmounds from Brazil, aimed at shedding light on biarchaeological differences between fluvial and maritime/lacustric settlements regarding four main subjects: a) type and degree of bony manifestations of disease and stress; b) degree of the association of anaemia to infectious diseases; c) occurrence and expression of occupational stress, considering technological variation and adaptive strategies and d) dental diseases and wear in the light of prevailing subsistence patterns.
The most spectacular examples are the Capsian escargotières of eastern Algeria and southern Tunisia, but archaeological sites containing abundant land snail shells that represent food debris are known from Cantabria, the Pyrenees, southern France, Italy, southeastern Europe including the Balkans, Cyprus and the Levant, the Zagros region, Ukraine and Cyrenaica.
Outside the Mediterranean area the occurrence of land snails as food debris in archaeological deposits is less common, but nonetheless present in a number of regions, including Brazil, Peru, Texas, the Caribbean, East Africa, Nigeria and Sudan.
The cognitive abilities of the ancient hominids seem to appear very progressively in so far as the material evidences that they left behind them are taken into account.
In fact, their technical productions, which appeared more than 2 million years BP, improved very slowly.
All these questions and many other deserve to be debated.
This is the reason why it seemed to us that it could be profitable to rassemble specialists of different disciplines paleoanthropologists, prehistorians, neuropsychologists, neurophysiologists, cognitivists, ethologists all interested in the question of the emergence of cognitive abilities in the first hominoids, so that they could confront their points of view and their knowledge.
As Computer methods are developed, new means are used to present the message: Multimedia, Hyper-text, or interactive Documentaries.
Following Mc Luhan (1994) ideas that the mean is the message, and Baudrillard philosophy that in our time all is simulation, we are challenged through the idea of what is our Past: a today’s construction or a scientific result through defined methods.
A colloquium with the participation of both senior and young prehistorians from India will bring into proper perspective the work so far done.
This will point out the limitations and throw light on the methodology and future programme for clearer understanding of the situation.
From Statistics to Artificial Intelligence, from GIS to 3D, today’s archaeological practice has changed, as computers become more and more included in our lives.