Economic activity and natural resources

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Foto de la Sala 3 - La actividad económica y los recursos naturales

Farming, livestock farming, fishing, shellfish gathering... were the productive and  hunting activities undertaken by the prehistoric population of Gran Canaria. But not all activities were of equal importance, nor did all the population have the same access to the means of production (land, livestock...) or to the products obtained through their exploitation.   This exhibition room is designed to explain to visitors the characteristics of the economic system of the ancient Canarians.

Agriculture was the most important field of activity among prehistoric Canarians. Wheat and especially barley were the most widespread crops, as well as legumes (broad beans, lentils and peas).
Fig trees were also commonly grown, and their fruit played an important role in the diet of prehispanic Canarians.

Given their widespread distribution and storage capacity, collective granaries provide evidence  of the important social and economic role played by agriculture. They were generally large chambers dug into volcanic tuffa, along whose walls and floors silos were arranged in varying number and dimensions. The scale model displayed in this room represents a granary at  El Pósito, in Temisas (Agüimes), and it illustrates some of the characteristics of these precincts.

Two activities, livestock farming and the exploitation of marine resources, also played a significant role within this essentially agricultural model, supplying the protein content necessary to complement a primarily cereal-based diet.

Livestock consisted mainly of goats, sheep and pigs. The first two, the most numerous livestock, were, according to archeological studies, exploited mainly for dairy products. Once slaughtered, the animal was fully made use of, as the wide-ranging bone artifacts on display show.  (spatulae, brawdals, etc.).
Together with livestock farming, fishing and shellfish gathering were essential activities as well. Both fish skeletal remains found at archeological sites and some of the tools used to capture them, such as hooks and possibly fragments of fishing nets, are on display in this room. 

The Canarians also undertook predatory activities on land, such as the gathering of certain vegetable resources (dates, the fruit of the mocan tree) or the hunting of wild animals (lizards and birds), although these activities were of lesser importance than those described above.

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