Musee National de Prehistoire

Les Eyzies, France

Musee National de Prehistoire

Les Eyzies, France
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Frouin M.,University of Oxford | Frouin M.,Bordeaux Montaigne University | Guerin G.,Bordeaux Montaigne University | Lahaye C.,Bordeaux Montaigne University | And 19 more authors.
Quaternary Geochronology | Year: 2017

In this study we compare different infrared stimulated luminescence (IRSL) signals for dating archaeological deposits. The IRSL and the more recently developed post-IR IRSL (pIR-IR) methods were investigated using polymineral fine grains extracted from the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic western excavation area in the site of La Ferrassie (Dordogne, SW France). The IRSL data measured at 50 °C (IR50) are compared to those obtained with the elevated pIR-IR signals measured for two stimulation temperatures, 225 °C (pIR-IR225) and 290 °C (pIR-IR290). The signals are documented in terms of bleaching and fading rates. In addition, comparisons of the IR50 ages corrected either with the H + L method (Huntley and Lamothe, 2001) or with the dose rate correction method (DRC, Lamothe et al., 2003) are presented. Results show that the polymineral fine grains give a reasonable estimate of the burial age of the samples. The IR50 and pIR-IR225 provide the most reliable ages when they are corrected using the DRC method (because of saturation effects). The polymineral ages are then compared with the previously obtained ages on K-feldspar coarse grains, quartz OSL (Guerin et al., 2015) and radiocarbon ages with the aim of accessing information on the depositional processes. It appears that further comparison of polymineral fine grains to coarse grains is beneficial to evaluate bleaching. Moreover, the polymineral results either confirm or refine the chronology of the La Ferrassie sequence proposed by Guérin et al. (2015), that is, the Mousterian layers range from marine isotope stage (MIS) 5 to the middle of MIS 3. In particular, i) the base of Layer 3 is pushed back to the end of MIS 4 or beginning MIS 3 and ii) the chronological attribution of Layers 4 and 5 is confirmed as MIS 3. Finally, the chronology of the Aurignacian layer (Layer 7) is strengthened by all the feldspars results. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.

White R.,New York University | Bourrillon R.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Mensan R.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Clark A.,University of Arizona | And 6 more authors.
Quaternary International | Year: 2017

The rich record of Aurignacian graphic arts from sites in the Vézère Valley of SW France holds a key place in our understanding of systems of representation in the European Early Upper Paleolithic. One of the main sites yielding representational objects is Abri Cellier, which has long been on the short-list of major art-bearing sites attributed to the European Aurignacian. Collie's 1927 excavations yielded 15 engraved and/or pierced limestone blocks that have served as a key point of reference for the study of Aurignacian art in SW France. As part of a broader re-excavation of key Aurignacian sites in the Vézère Valley, we returned to Abri Cellier in 2014, with detailed archives in hand, in the hopes of finding intact deposits that would allow a better understanding of the archaeological sequence at the site and its relationship to other Aurignacian sites in the so-called "classic zone." While disappointingly little is left of the site, the 2014 season allowed the addition of 16 new engraved, painted or pierced blocks to the 15 already known from the 1927 excavations. We present here a brief history of excavations at the site, a stratigraphic analysis, an overview of archaeological materials recovered, a series of 14C ultrafiltration dates, a brief discussion of the peculiar characteristics of Aurignacian block art in SW France, a detailed analysis of the engraved surfaces of the blocks discovered in 1927 and in 2014 and finally a comparison of the newly-revised Cellier block assemblage with those from other Aurignacian sites in the Vézère. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.

Hodgkins J.,University of Colorado at Denver | Marean C.W.,Arizona State University | Marean C.W.,Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University | Turq A.,Musee National de Prehistoire | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Human Evolution | Year: 2016

Neandertals disappeared from Europe just after 40,000 years ago. Some hypotheses ascribe this to numerous population crashes associated with glacial cycles in the late Pleistocene. The goal of this paper is to test the hypothesis that glacial periods stressed Neandertal populations. If cold climates stressed Neandertals, their subsistence behaviors may have changed-requiring intensified use of prey through more extensive nutrient extraction from faunal carcasses. To test this, an analysis of Neandertal butchering was conducted on medium sized bovid/cervid remains composed of predominately red deer (Cervus elaphus), reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), and roe deer (Capreolus caprelous) deposited during global warm and cold phases from two French sites: Pech de l'Azé IV (Pech IV, Bordes' excavation) and Roc de Marsal (RDM). Analysis of surface modification on high survival long bones and proximal and middle phalanges demonstrates that skeletal elements excavated from the cold levels (RDM Level 4, Pech IV Level I2) at each cave have more cut marks and percussion marks than elements from the warm levels (RDM Level 9, Pech IV Level Y-Z) after controlling for fragment size. At both sites, epiphyseal fragments are rare, and although this pattern can result from carnivore consumption, carnivore tooth marks are almost nonexistent (<0.1%). Alternatively, processing epiphyseal ends for bone grease may have been a Neandertal survival strategy, and epiphyses were more intensively percussed in cold levels than in warm levels at both RDM and Pech IV. The exploitation of low marrow yield elements such as phalanges does not show a consistent pattern relating to climate, but may have been a general Neandertal behavioral characteristic, suggesting that these hominids were regularly on the edge of sufficient nutrient availability even during interglacials. Overall, the faunal assemblages from Roc de Marsal and Pech IV provide some support for the hypothesis that Neandertals were processing faunal remains more heavily during glacial periods, suggesting a response to increased nutritional stress during colder time periods. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

Massilani D.,University Paris Diderot | Guimaraes S.,University Paris Diderot | Brugal J.-P.,Usr 3336 Ifra Institute Francais Of Recherche En Afrique | Brugal J.-P.,Aix - Marseille University | And 13 more authors.
BMC Biology | Year: 2016

Background: Climatic and environmental fluctuations as well as anthropogenic pressure have led to the extinction of much of Europe's megafauna. The European bison or wisent (Bison bonasus), one of the last wild European large mammals, narrowly escaped extinction at the onset of the 20th century owing to hunting and habitat fragmentation. Little is known, however, about its origin, evolutionary history and population dynamics during the Pleistocene. Results: Through ancient DNA analysis we show that the emblematic European bison has experienced several waves of population expansion, contraction, and extinction during the last 50,000 years in Europe, culminating in a major reduction of genetic diversity during the Holocene. Fifty-seven complete and partial ancient mitogenomes from throughout Europe, the Caucasus, and Siberia reveal that three populations of wisent (Bison bonasus) and steppe bison (B. priscus) alternately occupied Western Europe, correlating with climate-induced environmental changes. The Late Pleistocene European steppe bison originated from northern Eurasia, whereas the modern wisent population emerged from a refuge in the southern Caucasus after the last glacial maximum. A population overlap during a transition period is reflected in ca. 36,000-year-old paintings in the French Chauvet cave. Bayesian analyses of these complete ancient mitogenomes yielded new dates of the various branching events during the evolution of Bison and its radiation with Bos, which lead us to propose that the genetic affiliation between the wisent and cattle mitogenomes result from incomplete lineage sorting rather than post-speciation gene flow. Conclusion: The paleogenetic analysis of bison remains from the last 50,000 years reveals the influence of climate changes on the dynamics of the various bison populations in Europe, only one of which survived into the Holocene, where it experienced severe reductions in its genetic diversity. The time depth and geographical scope of this study enables us to propose temperate Western Europe as a suitable biotope for the wisent compatible with its reintroduction. © 2016 Massilani et al.

The chronostratigraphic sequence of the Moulin du Roc site (St-Chamassy, Dordogne, France) includes several Tardiglacial (upper and late Magdalenian) and of Holocene (Sauveterrian and late Neolithic) layers. Archaeological investigations delivered, after sifting, many micromammals (Chiroptera, Soricomorpha and Rodentia) remains. Important taxonomic diversity and its evolution in the different layers enable us to propose an environmental reconstitution of this area at different time of the history of the Moulin du Roc site.

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.

El Amrani El Hassani I.-E.,Mohammed V University | Nespoulet R.,French Natural History Museum | Debenath A.,French Natural History Museum | Morala A.,Musee National de Prehistoire | And 3 more authors.
Bulletin de l'Institut Scientifique, Section Sciences de la Terre | Year: 2013

In the context of a prospecting program carried out in the Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zäer region in order to search lithological sources of prehistoric man's tools, a fieldwork mission in the hinterland of Rabat-Témara revealed a remarkable archaeological site. This site corresponds to a series of prehistoric caves within a Plio-Quaternary basaltic flow in the Oulmès region. The site occupies a strategic position, at an altitude of 716 m, and constitues a very favorable place for the settlement and development of prehistoric man activities. An original lithic industry is discovered on the surface of the natural deposit, at the entrance of the caves. This industry consists of hammers, nucleus, un-retouched and retouched blanks, with laminar and Levallois debitages. The material used for this industry is varied: flint, quartz vein, basalt, quartzite, ... A preliminary diagnosis of these prehistoric tools suggests a probable Middle and Upper Paleolithic age for human occupations of the Oulmès caves. The Levallois debitage more particularly, shows similarities with that previously known in the Aterian caves of the Moroccan Atlantic coast. The discovery of this site is a new step for the recognition of Late Pleistocene occupations of this area by the prehistoric man. In connection with the study of lithological resources used by the prehistoric man in the Rabat-Témara region, the study of these new sites will allow a better understanding of the occupation modalities and human mobility across the entire region of Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer, which is an area circumscribed by the Bou Regreg river watershed.

El Amrani El Hassani I.-E.,Mohammed V University | Morala A.,Musee national de Prehistoire | Morala A.,University of Bordeaux 1
Bulletin de l'Institut Scientifique, Section Sciences de la Terre | Year: 2012

The recent resumption of archaeological research in several prehistoric sites on the Atlantic littoral in the Rabat area (Morocco) led to the integration and development of new lines of investigation. One of them, the subject of this work, deals specifically with the study of lithological assemblages Paleolithic. This innovative orientation of research in archeology, which is based on lithic material characterization, is itself a carrier of information and very promising in the technical and economic field of knowledge of social behavior of human groups who had inhabited the sites. The first results of this methodological study are based on the work carried out during the last three research missions (2009-2011) in the framework of Franco-Moroccan co-directed by R. Nespoulet and M.A El Hajraoui on the sites of El Mnasra and El Harhoura in Témara.

Bocherens H.,University of Tübingen | Drucker D.G.,University of Tübingen | Madelaine S.,Musee National de Prehistoire | Madelaine S.,University of Bordeaux 1
Journal of Human Evolution | Year: 2014

The Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition around 35,000 years ago coincides with the replacement of Neanderthals by anatomically modern humans in Europe. Several hypotheses have been suggested to explain this replacement, one of them being the ability of anatomically modern humans to broaden their dietary spectrum beyond the large ungulate prey that Neanderthals consumed exclusively. This scenario is notably based on higher nitrogen-15 amounts in early Upper Palaeolithic anatomically modern human bone collagen compared with late Neanderthals. In this paper, we document a clear increase of nitrogen-15 in bone collagen of terrestrial herbivores during the early Aurignacian associated with anatomically modern humans compared with the stratigraphically older Châtelperronian and late Mousterian fauna associated with Neanderthals. Carnivores such as wolves also exhibit a significant increase in nitrogen-15, which is similar to that documented for early anatomically modern humans compared with Neanderthals in Europe. A shift in nitrogen-15 at the base of the terrestrial foodweb is responsible for such a pattern, with a preserved foodweb structure before and after the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition in south-western France. Such an isotopic shift in the terrestrial ecosystem may be due to an increase in aridity during the time of deposition of the early Aurignacian layers. If it occurred across Europe, such a shift in nitrogen-15 in terrestrial foodwebs would be enough to explain the observed isotopic trend between late Neanderthals and early anatomically modern humans, without any significant change in the diet composition at the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

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