Center National Of Prehistoire

Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon, France

Center National Of Prehistoire

Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon, France

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Bourdier C.,University Toulouse Jean Jaures | Fuentes O.,UMR Arscan 7041 Ethnologie Prehistorique | Pincon G.,Center National Of Prehistoire | Pincon G.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Baleux F.,French National Center for Scientific Research
Quaternary International | Year: 2017

This paper focuses on the issue of the audience of European Palaeolithic rock art, with a special interest given to the question of perceptibility. The carved, engraved and painted rock art from the Middle Magdalenian occupations of Roc-aux-Sorciers rock shelter (Angles-sur-l'Anglin, France) constitutes our case-study. Our methodology is based on an integrated approach of the rock art that combines an internal analysis of some intrinsic characteristics (techniques, dimensions, shapes, composition) and a study of the physical context it sets in. We particularly consider the characteristics of the environment of the site, its location in the landscape and its accommodation capacity. Thus are examined the visibility of the site and the decorated surfaces as well as the visibility and lisibility of the parietal carvings and engravings. We use GIS analysis processes to determine the view sheds and test several quantitative approaches taken from optics and visual ergonomics to calculate visibility and lisibility distances. If some analytical tools prove to be appropriate and relevant, the application of the formulas from the optical field needs to be qualified for some results are clearly overestimated. This preliminary research brings interesting results although supplementary analytical criteria will be necessary to consolidate them (lightning, painted register, perception of relief forms). Roc-aux-Sorciers was a site with a natural collective vocation given its high accommodation capacity from 75 to 100 people, easily accessible and highly visible in the landscape on a wide area. This study shows two strategies of visibility of the rock art, towards the outside or the inside of the site depending on whether the observer looks at the decorated back wall or ceiling. Moreover, two levels of visibility and legibility separate on the one hand the monumental carved frieze dedicated to a large and public audience, on the other hand the register of small fine engravings which discovery is more individual. Thus this study yields evidence of four levels of perceptibility of Roc-aux-Sorciers rock art: from an area of 1 km around the site until a close observation of the walls which can meet different audiences and hence recover diverse uses of the parietal iconography for these populations. Beyond, it is part of the territorial structuring and mobility of these people that could to be organized around these elements of distant visibility and perception of this decorated site which the Magdalenians were aware of. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA


Bertran P.,Inrap | Bertran P.,University of Bordeaux 1 | Allenet G.,Center National Of Prehistoire | Brenet M.,University of Bordeaux 1 | And 10 more authors.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2016

A deep sequence of Last Glacial peats and slope deposits at the foot of the Lascaux hill was investigated using a large array of methods (geology, geophysics, 14C and OSL dating, palynology, macro-remain analysis, entomology). The peaty levels, OSL dated to between ~73 and 60 ka, are found within a doline developed in a fluvial terrace of the Vézère River. These gyttja and chalky gyttja deposits covered by fen peat yielded abundant beetle and plant (seeds, pollen) remains. Palaeoecological reconstructions suggest a cool steppe with willow stands compatible with an interstadial of marine isotopic stage (MIS) 4, probably Ognon II (GI-19.2). Aquatic and hygrophilous plants (sedges), which reflect local vegetation, and their dependent insects are equally well represented in the record. The peats are covered by a sequence of slope deposits: a coarse-grained lower unit deposited during late MIS 4, overlain by a heavily decalcified sandy unit with a boreal soil complex correlated with early MIS 3, and finally, a coarse-grained, calcareous unit formed during late MIS 3 and MIS 2 in connection with slope dynamics typical of periglacial environments. The palaeosols yielded a small Middle Palaeolithic lithic assemblage. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.


Genty D.,CEA Saclay Nuclear Research Center | Konik S.,Center National Of Prehistoire | Valladas H.,CEA Saclay Nuclear Research Center | Blamart D.,CEA Saclay Nuclear Research Center | And 7 more authors.
Radiocarbon | Year: 2011

Lascaux Cave is renowned for its outstanding prehistoric paintings, strikingly well-preserved over about 18,000 yr. While stalagmites and stalactites are almost absent in the cave, there is an extensive calcite flowstone that covered a large part of the cave until its opening for tourists during the 1950s. The deposit comprises a succession of calcite rims, or "gours," which allowed seepage water to pond in large areas in the cave. Their possible role in preservation of the cave paintings has often been evoked, but until now this deposit has not been studied in detail. Here, we present 24 new radiocarbon accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) and 6 uranium-thorium (U-Th) analyses from the calcite of the gours, 4 AMS 14C dates from charcoals trapped in the calcite, and 4 AMS 14C analyses on organic matter extracted from the calcite. Combining the calibrated 14C ages obtained on charcoals and organic matter and U-Th ages from 14C analyses made on the carbonate, has allowed the calculation of the dead carbon proportion (dcp) of the carbonate deposits. The latter, used with the initial atmospheric 14C activities reconstructed with the new IntCal09 calibration data, allows high-resolution age estimation of the gour calcite samples and their growth rates. The carbonate deposit grew between 9530 and 6635 yr cal BP (for dcp = 10.7 ± 1.8%; 2 σ) or between 8518 and 5489 yr cal BP (for dcp = 20.5 ± 1.9%; 2 σ). This coincides with humid periods that can be related to the Atlantic period in Europe and to Sapropel 1 in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. However, geomorphological changes at the cave entrance might also have played a role in the gour development. In the 1940s, when humans entered the cave for the first time since its prehistoric occupation, the calcite gours had already been inactive for several thousand years. © 2011 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona.


Jaubert J.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Genty D.,University of Versailles | Valladas H.,University of Versailles | Camus H.,Hypogee Protee | And 23 more authors.
Quaternary International | Year: 2016

In this article, we present a first synthesis of the chronology of Cussac Cave (Dordogne, SW France). This deep cavern (1.6 km), discovered in 2000, is very well preserved (e.g. intact floors) and thus favorable to research, especially given its rare association of parietal art and human remains, deposited in at least three locations. The scientific team working since 2009 presents here a first diachronic reconstruction of the natural (geological, biological) and anthropogenic (cultural, spiritual) elements relevant to the sectors of the cave accessible for study.In addition to the nuclear dating methods commonly used in karst contexts and decorated sites (U-Th and 14C for speleothems, 14C-AMS for organic materials, bone and charcoal), we drew upon other disciplines to determine the relative chronology of the events that occurred in the cave: geosciences (karstology, sedimentary geology, geoarchaeology), biological anthropology, paleontology, zooarchaeology, anthracology, ichnology, lithic and osseous technology, and of course, the study of parietal art. Their integrated study enabled us to define a coherent and global chronological framework.The results confirm that bears frequented the cavity several times before any human incursions. Humans later ventured into the cave after it had already undergone several phases of karstogenesis, collapse, sedimentation, erosion and concretion formation. The nuclear methods and relative dating methods employed concur in favor of the hypothesis of human incursions only during the Middle Gravettian period, approximately 28-29,000 cal BP, to carry out spiritual, graphic and sepulchral activities. After the cave was abandoned by Gravettian people, some final sedimentary and biological events occurred (partial flooding, concretion formation, presence of mesofauna and microfauna, etc.), but were insufficient to significantly modify the decorated and sepulchral sanctuary. Later human frequentations (Late Glacial, Late Magdalenian, Late Neolithic) are quantitatively anecdotal and, most importantly, were limited to the cave porch and vestibular areas, which were sealed-off from the internal zone by rockfall debris and Late Glacial or Holocene concretion formations. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.


Valladas H.,French Climate and Environment Sciences Laboratory | Kaltnecker E.,French Climate and Environment Sciences Laboratory | Quiles A.,French Climate and Environment Sciences Laboratory | Tisnerat-Laborde N.,French Climate and Environment Sciences Laboratory | And 13 more authors.
Radiocarbon | Year: 2013

The Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement (LSCE) research program on prehistoric art conducts chronological studies of parietal representations with their associated archaeological context. This multidisciplinary approach provides chronological arguments about the creation period of parietal representations. This article presents chronological investigations carried out in several decorated caves in France (La Grande Grotte, Labastide, Lascaux, La Tête-du- Lion, Villars) and Spain (La Garma, Nerja, La Pileta, Urdiales). Several types of organic materials, collected from different areas of the caves close to the walls and in connection with parietal art, were dated to determine the periods of human presence in the cave, a presence that may have been related to artistic activities. These new radiocarbon results range from 33,000- 29,000 (La Grande Grotte) to 16,000-14,000 cal BP (Urdiales). © 2013 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona.


Guibert P.,Bordeaux Montaigne University | Brodard A.,Bordeaux Montaigne University | Quiles A.,Pole darcheometrie Institute Francais dArcheologie Orientale | Geneste J.-M.,French National Center for Scientific Research | And 4 more authors.
Quaternary Geochronology | Year: 2015

Direct chronological data of the ancient heating of calcitic walls at the Chauvet-Pont d'Arc Cave (Ardèche, France) were obtained at the Galerie des Mégacéros and at the Eboulis d'Entrée. Fragments of reddened limestone were extracted from the walls and were studied by thermoluminescence (TL). A novel measurement protocol of the equivalent dose (ED) was implemented and was optimized with respect to the nature of the material being dated (calcite), to the small quantities of sample available and to the relatively low heating of the rock surface in the past (close to 350°C). The presence of a high level of free radon in the cave and 210Pb in large excess in samples implied the development of a specific irradiation model allowing the evaluation of the mean annual dose over time, taking into account possible scenarios of radon and daughters migration from the bedrock. The following dating results were obtained (in ka before the present and associated total estimated standard deviation):- Galerie des Mégacéros, 36.9±2.3ka.- Eboulis d'Entrée, 34.3±2.9ka.These data are in agreement with the calibrated radiocarbon dates of the most ancient periods of human occupation in their respective areas. TL dates indicate that the fires which altered the walls were lighted during the first paleolithic human occupation period. Eventually, TL dating of the heated surface of the bedrock opens a new window on the chronology of human activities in the Chauvet-Pont d'Arc Cave and it makes an alternative contribution to the demonstration of the early chronology of its rock art. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Bourdier C.,University Toulouse 2 Jean Jaures | Fuentes O.,Center dInterpretation du Roc aux Sorciers | Pincon G.,Center National Of Prehistoire
Digital Applications in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage | Year: 2015

The 3D technologies have become essential in our researches on the Middle Magdalenian rock carving (18,500-17,000 cal. BP), complementary to the other traditional analytic tools. They play a noticeable role in our stylistic studies: the superimpositions of volumes and not only shapes make the form comparisons all the more accurate that margins of difference can be calculated. On the one hand, clarifying the degree of similarity between two carvings brings more data to the problem of the author(s) of the carvings, and thus it questions notions hardly tackled in prehistoric archaeology: the individual and the short time. These form comparisons prove to be very useful for other archaeological problems. Used for shape identification, they help for a better interpretation of the fragmentary representations and, beyond, for a more precise modelling of the chronological evolution of the parietal assemblages. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Bourdier C.,University Toulouse 2 Jean Jaures 5608 | Fuentes O.,Center dInterpretation du Roc aux Sorciers 7041 | Pincon G.,Center National Of Prehistoire
Digital Applications in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage | Year: 2015

The 3D technologies have become essential in our researches on the Middle Magdalenian rock carving (18,500-17,000 cal. BP), complementary to the other traditional analytic tools. They play a noticeable role in our stylistic studies: the superimpositions of volumes and not only shapes make the form comparisons all the more accurate that margins of difference can be calculated. On the one hand, clarifying the degree of similarity between two carvings brings more data to the problem of the author(s) of the carvings, and thus it questions notions hardly tackled in prehistoric archaeology: the individual and the short time. These form comparisons prove to be very useful for other archaeological problems. Used for shape identification, they help for a better interpretation of the fragmentary representations and, beyond, for a more precise modelling of the chronological evolution of the parietal assemblages. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

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