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Villard-de-Lans, France

Moreau L.,Archaeological Research Center and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution | Moreau L.,University of Cambridge | Brandl M.,Austrian Academy of Sciences | Filzmoser P.,Vienna University of Technology | And 7 more authors.
Geoarchaeology | Year: 2016

Identifying the geological and geographical origin of lithic raw materials is critical to effectively address prehistoric forager raw material economies and mobility strategies. Currently, Paleolithic archaeology in Belgium lacks a systematic sourcing strategy to effectively substantiate detailed interpretations of prehistoric hunter-gatherer behavioral change across time and space. This pilot study evaluates the potential to "fingerprint" flint from the Mons Basin, western Belgium, using the laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) technique and a multivariate statistical analysis of 87 geological samples and 39 Gravettian period chipped stone artifacts. We reappraise two hypotheses raised by previous scholars based on visual raw material identification: (1) the Gravettian occupants of Maisières-Canal supplied themselves with "black flint" from one single source; (2) the sites Rhens and Koblenz-Metternich yielded artifacts indicative of long-distance transfer of western Belgian flint into the German Rhineland, ca. 260 km from the primary source area. Our results demonstrate the validity of LA-ICP-MS data with flint and compositional data analysis for fingerprinting discrete geological formations from the Mons Basin. We suggest multiple source provisioning for Maisières-Canal. Geochemical characterization of other potential flint sources is required to validate the long-distance transfer hypothesis of western Belgian "black flint" into the German Rhineland. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Angelin A.,French School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences | Angelin A.,University of Toulouse Jean Jaures | Bridault A.,21 Allee Of Luniversite | Brochier J.L.,Center dArcheologie Prehistorique du Rhone aux Alpes | And 8 more authors.
Quaternary International | Year: 2015

Discovered in 1986, La Grande Rivoire is a rockshelter located in the north of the prealpine mountain range of Vercors (Northern French Alps). It lies at 580m asl, on the west side of the Furon valley, at the foot of a cliff. The 6-m stratigraphy reveals a continuous chronocultural sequence starting from the First Mesolithic to the Gallo-Roman period. The present communication aims at characterizing the earliest occupation of the site attributed to the First Mesolithic (ca. 8500-7000cal. BC). The new multidisciplinary data are intended to contribute to the understanding of the regional chronocultural evolution.The deposits are constituted of very rich organic materials, possibly resulting from the degradation and combustion of plant litters. Their natural and/or anthropogenic origin still remains unclear. The excellent state of preservation of the faunal remains (superficially covered of an ashy encrustation) and the bone refittings would indicate a low post-depositional impact on the faunal material in this sector. The highly intentionally fragmented long bone remains indicate (intensive?) carcass exploitation of various large game species, among which red deer seems to predominate. Plant remains analysis gives also information on wild picking products, especially hazelnuts. Osseous material industry is dominated by waste products occurring from sectioning action of red deer antler by notching. Few examples of bone and tooth working highlight the use of removal by diffuse percussion during shaping. Preliminary observations conducted on the lithic assemblages show that domestic tools are mostly manufactured on local raw materials of poor quality. Exogenous raw materials of better quality are mainly used for the fabrication of microliths using the microburin technique; the latter tending to disappear at the end of the sequence. Usewear analysis on arrowheads shows that triangles are present throughout the sequence and always hafted as barbs while Sauveterre points and segments are only present in the oldest decapages. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.


Hardy B.L.,Kenyon College | Moncel M.-H.,French Natural History Museum | Daujeard C.,French Natural History Museum | Fernandes P.,Paleotime | And 6 more authors.
Quaternary Science Reviews | Year: 2013

Neanderthal behavior is often described in one of two contradictory ways: 1) Neanderthals were behaviorally inflexible and specialized in large game hunting or 2) Neanderthals exhibited a wide range of behaviors and exploited a wide range of resources including plants and small, fast game. Using stone tool residue analysis with supporting information from zooarchaeology, we provide evidence that at the Abri du Maras, Ardèche, France, Neanderthals were behaviorally flexible at the beginning of MIS 4. Here, Neanderthals exploited a wide range of resources including large mammals, fish, ducks, raptors, rabbits, mushrooms, plants, and wood. Twisted fibers on stone tools provide evidence of making string or cordage. Using a variety of lines of evidence, we show the presence of stone projectile tips, possibly used in complex projectile technology. This evidence shows a level of behavioral variability that is often denied to Neanderthals. Furthermore, it sheds light on perishable materials and resources that are not often recovered which should be considered more fully in reconstructions of Neanderthal behavior. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Richard M.,French Natural History Museum | Falgueres C.,French Natural History Museum | Pons-Branchu E.,French Climate and Environment Sciences Laboratory | Bahain J.-J.,French Natural History Museum | And 10 more authors.
Quaternary Geochronology | Year: 2015

The establishment of a chronology for late Middle Palaeolithic sites on the right bank of the Rhône valley in southeastern France is important for the knowledge of Neandertal dynamics and their demise in this area. The suite of dating methods that are directly applicable to fossils is limited for this period, especially around 50 ka where radiocarbon dating is beyond its technical limits. Currently applied to Middle and Lower Pleistocene periods, the use of combined ESR/U-series dating on Upper Pleistocene samples led to new issues, such as the acquisition of an age for samples yielding low equivalent doses and low uranium content in dental tissues. The gamma dose rate measurement thus plays a key role in age calculation. Beyond the discussion on methodological issues, the present study contributes to the establishment of a chronological framework that covers the Neandertal occupations between MIS 5 and MIS 3 for this area. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Richard M.,French Natural History Museum | Falgueres C.,French Natural History Museum | Pons-Branchu E.,French Climate and Environment Sciences Laboratory | Bahain J.-J.,French Natural History Museum | And 10 more authors.
Quaternary Geochronology | Year: 2015

The establishment of a chronology for late Middle Palaeolithic sites on the right bank of the Rhône valley in southeastern France is important for the knowledge of Neandertal dynamics and their demise in this area. The suite of dating methods that are directly applicable to fossils is limited for this period, especially around 50 ka where radiocarbon dating is beyond its technical limits. Currently applied to Middle and Lower Pleistocene periods, the use of combined ESR/U-series dating on Upper Pleistocene samples led to new issues, such as the acquisition of an age for samples yielding low equivalent doses and low uranium content in dental tissues. The gamma dose rate measurement thus plays a key role in age calculation. Beyond the discussion on methodological issues, the present study contributes to the establishment of a chronological framework that covers the Neandertal occupations between MIS 5 and MIS 3 for this area. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

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