The aim of the "European Atlantic Prehistoric Shell-middens" database is to describe all the archaeological components that make up a shell-middens, from flint to crab claw. It covers an Atlantic geographical area stretching from the north of Scandinavia to the south of Portugal, and covers the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods. It was created in order to synthesise and map data from the various archaeological disciplines involved in shell collecting. It was born out of the disparity between the media used to publish data on the complex system that is a shellfish heap.
The time frame chosen allows us to work on a pivotal period in our evolution, namely Neolithisation, or the transition from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to that of farmers. This database will enable us to work on this transition by examining the origin of the periodic allocation of sites, as well as the patterns of residence and subsistence of these prehistoric coastal populations. It is also a much-awaited tool for working on the palaeobiogeography of the flora and fauna that make up these clusters.
This database has already been used for several scientific articles (Gutiérrez-Zugasti et al. 2011, Dupont 2006, Dupont et Marchand 2021, Dupont et. al. soumis-1, soumis-2). The aim of putting it online is to make it a dynamic tool, to facilitate queries, and to publish it in order to legitimise the publications that come out of it. Our aim is to make it a collaborative tool for the community of archaeologists and even biologists, based on data from more than 400 shell middens along Europe's Atlantic coast.
The database currently contains 421 samples and consultation of the site is subject to registration.