First dwellers of the Ebro Basin

Strategic Area:

The research group “Primeros pobladores del Valle del Ebro” (First dwellers of the Ebro Basin) has been formed around the Prehistory section of the University of Zaragoza, Spain. The main nucleus is composed by researchers working at the University (professors, lecturers and scholarships holders) plus other collaborators from museums or private enterprises. 


Research Lines:

1. Palaeolithic: Anteneanderthals and neanderthals

  • Moros Cave, (Gavasa, Huesca). The oldest human man in Aragón (140.000-39.000 BP)
  • Fuente del Trucho (Colungo, Huesca). (37.000-19.000 BP)
  • Abauntz Cave (Arraiz, Navarra). (15.000-11.000 BP)

2. Rock art of the Mediterranean area

3. Mesolithic-Neolithic

4. Recent Prehistory


During the last 25 years we have challenged the old premise that qualified the Ebro Basin as an “archaeological desert” between the well-known areas of the Cantabrian and the Mediterranean, where a century of research had showed a dense population from the Palaeolithic.

Today we can assert that the Ebro basin was a territory heavily occupied during the Prehistory, where a full series of sites witness a notable human presence: we have found the oldest human remains (Neanderthal man in the Moros cave, Gabasa), the oldest human man presence (the Gravetian site of Arenal de Fonseca, Ladruñán), extraordinary samples of portable Magdalenian art (the three blocks from the Abauntz cave, Arraitz, one of which has been considered the oldest map found in Western Europe), a dense network of sites that provide the best-studied Mesolithic-Neolithic transition of the Iberian Peninsula, many megalithic stations and a notable territorial occupation during the late Bronze and early Iron ages in the Central Depression. Last but not least, our region, Aragón, is now one of the richest zones in post-Palaeolithic rock art of the Peninsula, with more than a hundred sites, many of them found and studied in the heart of our Group.


Facilities and equipment:

-Computers (Mac y PC) with applications of graphic design, technical drawing and geographic information. 

-Photography equipment (reflex and bridge) 

-Two metallographic microscopes and a polarized light microscope for the analysis of lithic tools, samples of anthracology and palynology

-Binoculars for studies of raw materials

-Electric generators, electric hammer drill, hammer, conventional lighting, metal halide lights, table lights, wiring

-Ultrasonic buckets for materials cleaning

-Flotation machine

Technological Offer/Services:

Dr. Pilar Utrilla

Dpto. Ciencias de la Antigüedad

Facultad de Filosofía y Letras