Hunting for Camps
at an Azilian Site in Western
Grégor MARCHAND, Nicolas NAUDINOT,
Sylvie PHILIBERT, Sandra SICARD
A preventive excavation conducted in the Chaloignes Valley (Mozé-sur-Louet, Maine-et-Loire, France) in 1999, over a surface of approximately 9200 m2, revealed ten homogeneous loci and a group of lithic scatters disturbed by post-depositional processes. Due to the absence of organic materials and the inclusion of all the loci within the same stratigraphic unit, we are forced to base nearly all hypotheses on the lithic remains alone. The challenge is to understand the economic organization and mobility strategies of human groups in the west at the end of the glacial period, obviously in association with their hunting practices. Several lines of evidence indicate frequent occupations by small groups, rather than base camps with complementary zones. An analysis of the usewear and fractures of weapon armatures show that these objects were used for hunting or war activities in all of the loci. Meanwhile, a techno-functional analysis of locus 1, where weapon elements were repaired, shows that other objects of material culture were also manufactured there. It appears that the notion of a hunting camp is inappropriate to describe Azilian activities that are apparently highly influenced by the mobility of the groups.