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The Cova Gran Archeological Project: Pleistocene and Holocene Human Settlement in the Southeastern Pyrenees (Catalonia, Spain)

Location: Santa Linya, Spain

June 30, 2013 to August 3, 2013

Session dates: 
Single session

Application Deadline: 
Monday, July 1, 2013

Deadline Type: 
Exact date

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



Institute for Field Research, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Connecticut College

Project Director:

Dr. Jorge Martinez-Moreno, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Dr. Rafael Mora, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Dr. Alfonso Benito Calvo

Project Description

This project will explore dramatic subsistence and social organization changes during the Palaeolithic, which are key to understanding last 50,000 years of human evolution. The South-eastern Pyrenees have a rich archaeological heritage, with human settlement spanning from the Late Middle Paleolithic to the Early Upper Paleolithic, Late Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic. This project focuses on the Cova Gran-Santa Linya site, which permits to analyze differences between Neanderthals and Modern humans around the MIS 3/2 limit. Cova Gran also contains deposits belonging to the late Upper Paleolithic, and the transition from hunter-gatherer to shepherd-farmers can be studied as well.

Working alongside colleagues and students from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (, students will gain experience of a range of archaeological techniques and methods. Furthermore, this course will ensure direct to the core work with the archaeological record, heritage management and scientific research.

Period(s) of Occupation: Paleolithic, Neolithic

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Entire duration of field school

Minimum age: 
18 years old

Experience required: 
No prior experience required

Room and Board Arrangements

Students will stay at the Alberg la Cova hostel (visit the hostel website by clicking here.), at the heart of Sant Llorenc de Montgai village. The village is approximately 30 km north of Lleida (Catalunya, Spain). The building has excellent facilities with communal space, kitchen, shower, laundry and free internet access. Sleeping bags are not necessary but students are welcome to bring them. Students will share communal bedrooms (6-8 people in each room). All team members must participate in setting tables for meals and do the washing up and clean common shared spaces after lunch and dinner (living room, bedroom and the yard).
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided by the program Mon-Sat. On Sundays, students may choose to take their meals at the different local restaurants in the area. While the project may accommodate some dietary needs, you must communicate directly with project directors to ensure your needs can be met in the field. In general, vegetarian diets may be afforded but other types of diet may be more challenging to be managed.
Please let us know when you apply for this program if you have special dietary needs, as well as any medical or physical conditions. We will advise you accordingly. The project is used to catering for vegetarians, those with gluten intolerance etc.

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
Connecticut College
Number of credits offered 8 semester credit units


Contact Information
Ran Boytner
1855 Industrial Street Unit 106
Los Angeles
United States
Recommended Bibliography: 

Benito Calvo, A.,  Martínez-Moreno, J., Jordá Pardo, J.F., de la Torre, I., Mora, R. 2009. Sedimentological and archaeological fabrics in Palaeolithic levels of two Upper Pleistocene sites of the South-eastern Pre-Pyrenees: Cova Gran and Roca dels Bous. Journal of Archaeological Science 36: 2566-2577.

Benito-Calvo, A., Martínez-Moreno, J., Mora, R., Roy, M.,  Roda, X. 2011. Trampling experiments at Cova Gran de Santa Linya, Pre-Pyrenees, Spain: their relevance for archaeological fabrics of the Upper–Middle Paleolithic assemblages. Journal of Archaeological Science 38: 3652-3661.

Casanova, J., Martínez-Moreno, J., Mora, R., de la Torre, I. 2009. Stratégies techniques dans le Paléolithique moyen du Sud-est des Pyrénées. L’Anthropologie 113 : 313-340. (optional)

Martínez-Moreno, J., Mora, R., de la Torre, I. 2004. Methodological approach for understanding Middle Palaeolithic settlement dynamics at la Roca dels Bous (Noguera, Catalunya, Northeast Spain). N. Conard (ed.): Settlement Dynamics of the Middle Paleolithic and Middle Stone Age II. Kerns Verlag. Tübingen: 393-413. (optional)

Martínez-Moreno, J., de la Torre, I. Mora, R., Casanova, J. 2009 Technical variability and changes  in the pattern of settlement at Roca dels Bous (southeastern Pre-Pyrenees, spain) N. Conard & A. Delagnes (eds.): Settlement Dynamics of the Middle Paleolithic and Middle Stone Age III. Kerns Verlag. Tübingen: 485-507.

Martínez-Moreno, J., Mora, R., de la Torre, I. 2010. The Middle-to-Upper Palaeolithic Transition in Cova Gran (Catalonia, Spain) and the extinction of Neanderthals in the Iberian Peninsula. Journal of Human Evolution 58: 211-226.

Martínez-Moreno, J., González Marcén, P., Mora Torcal, R. 2011. Data matrix (DM) codes: A technological process for the management of the archaeological record.  Journal of Cultural Heritage 12: 134-139.

Martínez-Moreno, J., Mora, R., Torre, I., Benito,A. 2012. The role of flakes in the Early Upper Palaeolithic 497d assemblage of Cova gran de Santa Linya (Southeastern Prepyrenees, Spain). In Pastoors, Peressani & Weniger (ed): Flakes not blades. Discussing the role of flake production at the onset of the Upper Paleolithic: 85-104. Wissenschaftliche Schriften des Neanderthal Museums.

Mora, R., Martínez-Moreno, J., Casanova, J. 2008. Abordando la noción de “variabilidad musteriense” en Roca dels Bous (Prepirineo suroriental, Lleida). Trabajos de Prehistoria 65: 13-28. (optional)

Mora, R., Martínez-Moreno, J. 2010. ArqueoUAB: A systematic archaeographic approach for the analysis of Palaeolithic sites. F. Melero & Pedro Cano (Editors): Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archeology-CAA’2010.

Mora, R., Benito-Calvo, A., Martínez-Moreno, J., González Marcen, P.,  de la Torre, I.  2011. Chrono-stratigraphy of the Upper Pleistocene and Holocene archaeological sequence in Cova Gran (south-eastern Pre-Pyrenees, Iberian Peninsula). Journal of Quaternary Science 26: 635–644.