A comparison of the lithic industries
from two Azilian sites in Aquitaine:
how to Interpret Different Degrees
of Technical Simplification?
Célia FAT CHEUNG
The Azilian is generally characterized by a simplification of lithic industries, associated with a regional exploitation of raw materials. The variability of these manifestations is studied here through an analysis of the lithic assemblages of two regions where this culture appears to have evolved differently. Two sites are compared, the Pagès rockshelter (Lot, France) and Troubat cave-rockshelter (Hautes-Pyrénées, France), both located in the Aquitaine region, but in very different environmental contexts. Through this comparison, it is possible to address questions concerning adaptations to the environment (reductions sequences that are simple, but applied to two specific environmental contexts) and distinct cultural practices. These differences can be seen in the reduction techniques, even if they remain simple in both cases. At the Pyrenean site, they reveal practices linked to environmental constraints, which are also integrated with regional cultural practices, and reflected in the techno-economic organization.
To cite this articleFat Cheung C., 2014 – A Comparison of the Lithic Industries from Two Azilian Sites in Aquitaine: How to Interpret Different Degrees of Technical Simplification?, P@lethnology, Varia, 28 p.
Blank Extraction Techniques in Bone Technology
Hunter-Gatherers from low Paraná Wetland (Argentina)
Natacha BUC, Alejandro ACOSTA, Leonardo MUCCIOLO
The aim of this paper is to test the main extraction techniques used in the bone tool manufacturing sequences of hunter-gatherers in the Low Paraná wetland. For this purpose, we analyze archaeological assemblages, mainly based on their manufacturing waste-products, in light of the results of a previous experimental program.
The results of this work confirm that two main extraction techniques were used in the area: fracturing and perimetral sawing. At the regional level, homogeneous technical strategies are seen among different archaeological sites, suggesting that despite some functional variability, hunter-gatherer societies of the Low Paraná wetland shared manufacturing concepts during the Late Holocene.
To cite this articleBuc N., Acosta A., Mucciolo L., 2014 – Blank Extraction Techniques in Bone Technology. Hunter-Gatherers from Low Paraná Wetland (Argentina), P@lethnology, Varia, 20 p.
Discoid debitage stricto sensu :
a method adapted to highly mobile Middle Paleolithic groups?
Over the past ten years, descriptions of the Discoid debitage concept have become increasingly precise, resulting in the distinction of at least two methods. In addition, increasingly systematic petroarchaeological studies since the latter half of the 1980’s have contributed to our knowledge of the mobility patterns of human groups. At the same time, increasing numbers of multidisciplinary and functional studies have enabled Paleolithic researchers to better understand the role of environmental and functional factors in the technical choices made by human groups.
Discoid debitage is currently perceived as an adaptive response to mediocre raw materials. In this paper, I propose a new interpretation of the Discoid debitage stricto sensu method, not as a simple adaption of technical traditions to environmental constraints, but as a reflection of the technical traditions of human groups. The chronological longevity (from at least OIS 5 to 3) and the multiplication of assemblages attributed to this method at the end of the Middle Paleolithic could reflect a concordance between the increasing mobility of human groups and the environments that they occupied, enabling them to have more freedom in their movements.
To cite this articleThiébaut C., 2013 – Discoid Debitage Stricto Sensu: Method Adapted to Highly Mobile Middle Paleolithic Groups?, P@lethnology, Varia, 18 p.
The recycling and reuse of cores
and bifaces during the Middle Paleolithic
in Western Europe:
Functional and Cultural Interpretations
Céline THIÉBAUT, Émilie CLAUD, Vincent MOURRE, Maria-Gema CHACÓN,
Guillaume ASSELIN, Michel BRENET, Benoît PARAVEL
In several Middle Paleolithic assemblages in Western Europe, cores and bifaces with percussion zones that are not related to their usual mode of functioning have been observed. We used experimental cores and bifaces as percussion tools on different materials. The stigmata produced during percussion on stone materials closely resemble those observed on archaeological objects. Though the use of these pieces as hammerstones or retouchers is difficult to firmly demonstrate, this is the most probable hypothesis. The characteristics of the traces observed are similar to those observed on classic hammerstones. While the recycling of bifaces and cores into hammerstones, sometimes followed by their reuse, depending on their original function, is infrequently observed in Middle Paleolithic assemblages, it appears to be a recurrent characteristic that is independent of environmental constraints or economic or technical contexts. This practice thus seems to be associated with cultural choices, perhaps of a universal nature.
To cite this articleThiébaut C., Claud É., Mourre V., Chacón M.-G., Asselin G., Brenet M., Paravel B., 2010 – The Recycling and Reuse of Cores and Bifaces during the Middle Paleolithic in Western Europe: Functional and Cultural Interpretations, P@lethnology, Varia, 41 p.
MAN OR CARNIVORES?
STUDY PROTOCOL OF MIXED BONE ASSEMBLAGES:
the Example of Les Pradelles mousterian Site
(Marillac-le-Franc, Charente, France)
Sandrine COSTAMAGNO, Cédric BEAUVAL, Brigitte LANGE-BADRÉ,
Bernard VANDERMEERSCH, Alan MANN, Bruno MAUREILLE
In many archaeological assemblages, the presence of traces made by humans and made by carnivores on faunal assemblages raises the question of the respective roles played by these two agents in the accumulation and modification of the bones. This article presents a critical review of the different criteria taken into consideration in distinguishing between hunting and scavenging by men and by carnivores. The Mousterian site of Les Pradelles is analysed on the basis of this synthesis. From this study, it emerges that the anthropic impact on bones decreases from the base to the summit of the stratigraphical sequence, lower levels corresponding to sites of habitat (in a very broad sense) and upper levels corresponding to carnivore dens. In the lower sequence, the capacity of Neandertals to hunt all sizes of ungulates is clearly demonstrated. This study also shows the necessity of diversifying actualistic approaches in order to document the complexity of archaeological deposits. Finally, it indicates that the refitting method recommended by C. W. Marean (Bartram, Marean, 1999; Marean, 1998; Marean, Kim, 1998) for the determination of shaft fragments is not always necessary for the distinction between hunting and scavenging in assemblages of bones extensively ravaged by carnivores, the determination of shaft fragments using morphological criteria being, in most cases, largely sufficient.
To cite this articleCostamagno S., Beauval C., Lange-Badré B., Vandermeersch B., Mann A., Maureille B., 2009 – Man or Carnivores? Study Protocol of Mixed Bone Assemblages:the Example of Les Pradelles mousterian Site (Marillac-le-Franc, Charente, France), P@lethnology, Varia, 361-387.
“Hunters” and “Herders” in the Central Sahara:
the “archaic Hunters” expelled from the paradigm
Jean-Loïc LE QUELLEC
With regard to the chronology of the rock art of the whole Saharan sub-continent, a very common opinion is that, starting from the VIIth millennium BP or even earlier, an older “Culture of the Hunters” had been replaced by groups of “Herders”, and that this change appeared in rock art as a modification of styles, techniques and, above all, of the set of themes associated with the imaginative world of these two populations. A series of recent publications renews this proposal for the Fezzan province, by presenting “archaic Hunters” as existing before 8000 BP, or even as dating from the very Late Pleistocene. After analysing the methodology and the arguments adopted by its authors, this thesis will finally be confronted with, and largely contradicted by, new observations carried out on the two plateaux of the Libyan Messak, i.e. in one of the supposed ‘homes’ of the aforesaid “Hunters Culture”.
To cite this articleLe Quellec J.-L., 2009 – “Hunters” and “Herders” in the Central Sahara: the “Archaic Hunters” Expelled from the Paradigm, P@lethnology, Varia, 388-397.
Issues and perspectives of the Alpine Neolithic:
the case of the Maurienne (Savoie – France)
In this paper, we question the significance of “Alpine” research on the Neolithic, applying both a theoretical and practical approach based on the example of the Maurienne valley (Savoie). The adjective “Alpine”, accompanied by that of “Neolithic”, might have only a geographic sense. We nonetheless believe that it makes an implicit reference to the “Alpine economy”, a concept developed by geographers to describe a modern economic system concentrated on the raising of bovids for the production of cheese. Though comparisons between the modern era and the Neolithic are dangerous, the concept of mobility seems to be a common point and a corollary of that of identity. The necessity of a regional approach led us to conduct research in the high Maurienne, an east-west axial valley on the internal Alps. An ancient, relatively abundant documentation and fieldwork conducted by several volunteer archaeologists shows several occupation points in this territory between 500 and 1500 m in altitude, with a few points as high as 2200 m. The first dated occupations are attributed to the Vasi a Bocca Quadrata culture (2nd half of the Vth millennium BC), but it is not until the Final Neolithic that two excavated sites give insight into the settlement patterns. Information concerning the resources exploited by human groups is rich in this case and reveals regional markers. Therefore, rather than think of an Alpine Neolithic, we prefer to speak of a Neolithic occupation in the Alps.