Catalan Historical Review, No 1 (2008)

La Draga (Banyoles, Catalonia), an Early Neolithic Lakeside Village in Mediterranean Europe

Josep Tarrús i Galter


The site of La Draga is located on the eastern shore of the Estany de Banyoles (Lake Banyoles). The excavation work carried out so far has lasted from 1990 to 2005. It was coordinated by the Museu Arqueològic Comarcal de Banyoles and the Centre d'Arqueologia Subaquàtica de Catalunya.

Three different areas were investigated: the upper area, or Sector A; the lower area, beside the Lake, or Sector B; and the Neolithic lakeshore, or Sector C, which is now under water. Appropriate methods of excavation, including extraction pumps and underwater divers, were applied to each sector.

La Draga is an early Neolithic village (Cardial-ware phase) which dates from the end of the 6th millennium BC. Its material culture is similar to that found at other contemporary sites in southern France, Catalonia and Valencia. One feature, however, makes it unique in the Iberian Peninsula: the remains of large rectangular huts with oak posts, numerous wooden and basketry items, and vast quantities of animal bones and cereal grains have been preserved there.

Two monographs about the site have been published so far, one in 2000 and the other in 2006. It has been the subject of many papers given at conferences and published in specialized journals in Catalan, Spanish and French. This is the first text of any length to be published directly in English.

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