Remains of 7,300-Year-Old Neolithic Cabins Discovered in Spain!
Remarkable findings have been unearthed in the Neolithic site of La Draga de Banyoles. Excavation work has revealed the well-preserved remnants of ancient wooden cabins, shedding light on the lifestyles of farming communities that once settled around L'Estany approximately 7,300 years ago.
La Draga Neolithic Site
La Draga is an Early Neolithic lakeshore site located in Banyoles in Catalonia, Spain, and it is the only prehistoric lake site known on the Iberian Peninsula. It has undergone several excavations around the site since 1990, when it was discovered during construction work for the 1992 Olympics which took place in Barcelona.
From an archaeological standpoint, La Draga stands out due to the exceptional preservation of waterlogged organic materials—such as bones, wood, fibers, textiles, seeds, leaves, and mushrooms—unearthed during excavations. These findings have provided invaluable insights into the ancient environment and societal dynamics of the area.
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Homes of the First Settlers at La Draga
A report by IPHES describes the findings of the latest excavation, which began on September 4.
The primary focus of the excavation was on the northernmost area of the site, known as sector B. This area is notable for its favorable conditions for preserving organic material.
"The work at the La Draga site has made it possible to document structural elements of wooden constructions in a very good state of conservation," explained co-directors of the research project, Toni Palomo, Raquel Piqué, and Xavier Terradas.
"They are mainly large wooden planks more than three meters long that occupy practically the entire surface of the excavated area. The excavation process should allow us to make very precise interpretations of the shape of these cabins, the construction techniques and the time of their construction, as well as their relationship with areas excavated in previous campaigns."
Remnants of cabins have been well preserved, for organic material over 7000 years old. (Banyoles City Council/IPHES)
The investigation is a collaborative effort spearheaded by the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), the Superior Council for Scientific Research (CSIC-IMF Barcelona), the Museum of Archaeology of Catalonia (MAC), and the Center for Archaeology Underwater of Catalonia (CASC). Key contributors from the Archaeobotanical Unit of the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution (IPHES-CERCA) include Dr. Jordi Revelles and Dra. Marian Berihuete, among others.
In connection with the WOODPDLAKE research project, efforts have been made to monitor the state of conservation of organic material. The European project aims to understand the impact of climate change on the lake deposits of southern Europe, with a broader objective of shaping conservation policies for this crucial European heritage.
Underwater Surveys at Banyoles Lake
Beyond the main excavation site, the campaign also conducted both terrestrial and underwater surveys on the western shore of Banyoles Lake. "The soundings carried out have allowed us to document signs of great interest in order to reconstruct what the environment was like in prehistoric times," commented Dr. Jordi Revelles.
Underwater survey being conducted at the nearby Banyoles Lake (Banyoles City Council/IPHES)
This four-year archaeological campaign, spanning 2022-2025, is greenlit by the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage of the Generalitat and coordinated by the Archaeological Museum of Banyoles. Funding sources for these discoveries include the Archaeological Museum of Banyoles, the Department of Culture of the Generalitat de Catalunya, the CSIC, the UAB, the MAC, and the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación.
Items found during recent excavation work at the La Draga site (Banyoles). (Banyoles City Council/IPHES)
Top image: Preserved 7,300-year-old cabins discovered at La Draga Neolithic site in Catalonia, Spain. Source: Banyoles City Council/IPHES
By Gary Manners