Palaeofloods and ancient fishing weirs in NW Iberian rivers

W. Viveen, J. Sanjurjo-Sanchez, A. Goy-Dizc, A. Veldkamp, J.M. Schoorl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


A 15-m-thick, fluvial sedimentary record of the NW Iberian lower Miño River was studied. Grain-size analyses were performed and twelve samples were dated using optically stimulated luminescence dating techniques, documenting a 1300-yr-old reconstructed fluvial record that does not match with known climate fluctuations in the area, but is linked instead to the construction of a series of ancient fishing weirs (pesqueiras). The sedimentation phases are in agreement with known episodes of increased population density, which suggests active use of the pesqueiras. A number of sedimentation hiatuses in the fluvial record point towards damage to the pesqueiras during large-scale flooding in the Miño River basin, and a sudden drop in population probably due to the arrival of the plague in the 13th century AD. The oldest sedimentation phases started just after 700 AD, and we infer that the first pesqueiras were constructed around this time. This timing coincides with the transition of the NW Iberian landscape towards a more intensively used agricultural landscape, as evidenced from other geo-archeological investigations. The results demonstrate that the pesqueiras are several hundreds of years older than known from historical records, but not so old as to date back to the Roman occupation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-65
JournalQuaternary Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • regenerative-dose protocol
  • north-atlantic oscillation
  • quartz
  • luminescence
  • climate
  • single
  • australia
  • peninsula
  • sediments
  • records

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