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DOI: 10.5593/SGEM2016/HB33/S02.028

POSSIBLE INDICATIONS OF PREHISTORIC OCCUPANCY AT THE MADEIRA ARCHIPELAGO

V. Seglins
Friday 11 November 2016

References: 16th International Multidisciplinary Scientific GeoConference SGEM 2016, SGEM Vienna GREEN Extended Scientific Sessions, www.sgemviennagreen.org, SGEM2016 Conference Proceedings, ISBN 978-619-7105-81-0 / ISSN 1314-2704, 2 - 5 November, 2016, Book 3 Vol. 3, 221-226pp, DOI: 10.5593/SGEM2016/HB33/S02.028

ABSTRACT

The island of Madeira, which is located in the Atlantic Ocean, was discovered by the Portuguese sailors in early 15th century while the island was not inhabited yet. It is quite unusual since other archipelagos of the Atlantic Ocean, like Canary Islands and Azores, were inhabited during the Prehistoric period. Although the seismic and volcanic activity in Madeira might have been sufficient grounds for making people leave these islands at some point. Our research indicates that stones of shapes that are unusual for the nature and aggregations of such stones can be found on the island; which might suggest of ancient prehistoric megalithic structures and their remains present in Madeira. It is also proved by several piles of stone found and various carvings on stone cliffs which can be seen more often, along with traces of works on cave walls and fragments of drawings. Still, none of these is a direct evidence of the presence of ancient humans. While the significant number and variety of these traces imply that the largest island of Madeira, perhaps, was inhabited already during the late Stone Age or early Bronze Age. But it was abandoned later on, most probably due to the changes in the amount and quality of drinking water resources caused by the seismic activity; although the quality of water has not affected the flora, which mainly uses rainfall and shallow groundwater. As a result many endemic species can be found in Madeira, while the natural environment has become inappropriate for large animals and people.

Keywords: stone surface morphology, stone piles, carvings, painting fragment, water resources.

PAPER DOI: 10.5593/SGEM2016/HB33/S02.028, POSSIBLE INDICATIONS OF PREHISTORIC OCCUPANCY AT THE MADEIRA ARCHIPELAGO

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