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Prehistoric Portugal

"prehistoric portugal"Modern day Portugal has a long and varied history with the prehistoric history of the country dating back to before the time of writings.

Cave evidence in Portugal shows that there have been humans living in the country in the Middle Palaeolithic age dated to be around 50,000 years BP.

There is evidence of archaeological industries in Portugal that lasted around 28,000 or 26,000 BCE and it was during this time that the Mousterian culture, associated with Neanderthals was replaced by the Aurignacian culture associated closely with modern humans as we know.

Neanderthals were living in Portugal with evidence of their lives being found in Figueira Brava, Salemas and Columbeira.

One of the earliest remains of human life living in Portugal is known as the Lapedo child who was found in Lagar Velho in Leiria.  It is argued that this child was a hybrid between Neanderthal and Cro-Magon people, however this is still being disputed today.

Most of the evidence in Portugal shows that the earliest inhabitants of the country lived in an area of the northern Iberian peninsula and that they lived a subsistence lifestyle with organised societies.

Neolithic people living in Portugal moved on to domesticating animals and with some even growing crops and others surviving with fishing.

It was during the first millennium BC that groups of Celts came to Portugal and invaded the lands from central Europe.  At this point many of the native people of Portugal married with the invading celts and led to cross population and the formation of various tribes and ethnic groups.

In the south of Portugal evidence has been found of people living by the sea in areas such as modern day Tavira.  Tavira is seen to be one of the first commercial coastal settlements in Portugal.

Another important prehistoric site in Portugal is Perdigões in Reguengos de Monsaraz where 20 small ivory statues, reported to date back more than 4,500 years, were found in 2011.

Évora also has important historical evidence of early Portuguese settlers and it is here that there are megaliths from the late 6th millennium to the early 3rd millennium.

During the chalcolithic period between 300 and 2500 BCE the Beaker culture was present in Portugal with a significant site from the period being found in Castro de Vila Nova de São Pedro.

There were settlements at this time in Alcoutim and also in Vila Nova de Foz Côa with evidence being found to support this in these areas.

Some of the most ancient script ever found in western Europe was found in the Algarve region dating back to the 5th century BC and showing the presence of people in the region during the iron age.