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Aix-en-Provence, France

Cauliez J.,UMR 5608 | Blaise E.,French Natural History Museum | Bressy C.,UMR 6636 | Convertini F.,French National Center for Scientific Research | And 10 more authors.
Bulletin de la Societe Prehistorique Francaise | Year: 2011

The open-air settlement of Limon-Raspail has been discovered in March 2005. It has been subject to a rescue excavation during spring 2005. This excavation was conducted under the direction of Jessie Cauliez and was headed by the Service Régional de l'Archéologie de Provence-Alpes-Côte- d'Azur. The site of Limon-Raspail is localized on a small hill at 350 m height and covers a surface of almost 15000 square meters. The site dominates the Mormoiron depression in the south and the one of Bédoin in the north. The excavation carried out on a surface of 250 square meters has allowed discovery of a settlement organized around thirty-five pits. It is assigned to the Final Neolithic and dated to a time span of between 2880 and 2580 cal BC at most. This interval is based on six radiocarbon AMS dates made from faunal remains and charcoal all stemming from distinct features. Multiple occupations are possible as some of the pits overlap. As a matter of fact, with this in mind, the homogeneity of the pottery and lithic assemblages as well as the uniformity of all the radiocarbon measurements indicate that the different phases of pit digging have occurred within a rather short time span and that the site of Limon-Raspail is consistent from the chronological and cultural viewpoint. These pit features mirror an area of activities related to a dwelling. As a matter of fact, a group of rather deep pits with narrow shape was unearthed in the excavated sector. A form of silo pit, they may be destined for storage purposes. Associated with these storage features, fire places are also discovered, for example shallow pits or depressions as well as hearth structures. Large amounts of daub and unbaked clay found on the site are used for multiple purposes (artefacts, hearth features, sealing of storage features, rendering of the bottom). The importance of daub remains discovered in the pits suggests the presence of earth architecture: the large size of the identified fragments and the important dimensions of wattle imprints on those fragments at least testify to the presence of important elevations of settlement walls. This monographic paper presents an exhaustive description of all artefacts (pottery, lithics, ornaments, bone industry, axe blades, grinding tools) and construction remains discovered at Limon-Raspail. In addition, the pottery and the axe blades have been part of an advanced petrographical analysis. Furthermore, the results of the use wear analysis of the lithic industry are published here. Finally, the determination of the faunal remains allows detailed conclusion on the adopted food economy during the Final Neolithic occupation of the site. At Limon-Raspail, the artefacts can hardly be compared to the current assemblages, representing three main cultural groups invoked since almost thirty years in the construction of the chronological and cultural framework in this area of Southeastern France: the Fraischamp, the North Vaucluse and the Rhône-Ouvèze group. Yet, the site of Limon-Raspail is neighbouring the eponymous sites of these three groups. On the other hand, the location of the settlement, at the northern margins of Province adjacent to the central Rhone valley enables us to make broader comparison with the Drôme region (Allan and Les Bruyères groups), with the Saône-Rhône axis (groups of Lüscherz and Clairvaux) and with the Piedmont in Italy (Mont Viso group). The central Rhone valley thus appears to be at the crossroads of interaction processes connecting the different groups of Southern France to those of more eastern and northern regions. Established in a buffer zone, the site of Limon-Raspail is the only representative of the mecanisms that contribute to the development of multipolar margin groups and to the junction of the different cultural flows that structure the Final Neolithic. Source

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