Archaeological Signatures of Hunting Activities
Applied to Comparisons of Mousterian, Chatelperronian
and Aurignacian Industries in the Pyrenees:
The Nature of Hunting Tools and Site Functions
François BACHELLERIE, François BON, Marianne DESCHAMPS,
Laura EIZENBERG, Dominique HENRY-GAMBIER, Vincent MOURRE,
Christian NORMAND, Jacques PELEGRIN, Jérôme PRIMAULT,
René SCANDIUZZI, Céline THIÉBAUT
Comparisons of lithic industries originating from a sample of sites in the Pyrenees and their Vasco-Cantabrian extension show the existence of different degrees of functional specialization, and that this specialization was more pronounced in Chatelperronian contexts than in Aurignacian ones. In the Chatelperronian, specialized sites where hunting activities took a major place (“hunting camps”) are correlated to consisted of occupations that had diverse functions, while in the Aurignacian there was only one site type: multifunctional installations where hunting was an important activity, but not the only one. To correctly interpret these results, however, we must consider the difficulty of comparing the functional attributes of industries with very different weapon systems; it is necessary to take into account the relative visibility, from one assemblage to another, of hunting weapons armed with apical lithic points (Chatelperronian model) as opposed to instruments armed with antler or wood points, only some of which had retouched or non retouched bladelets attached to them (Early Aurignacian model).
This methodological discussion of the archaeological attributes of hunting activities depending on the contexts and the industries considered becomes even more pertinent when we go back even further in time to compare these data with those the Late Mousterian in this same region.
That being, the combination of two criteria – the nature of hunting equipment and the probable specialization of some sites in relation to this activity – allows us to address questions concerning the reasons for this apparent contrast between the Chatelperronian and the cultures by which it is preceded and followed. This approach can lead to new research perspectives on the evolution of human behavior at the time of change from the Middle to Upper Paleolithic.
To cite this article
Bachellerie F., Bon F., Deschamps M., Eizenberg L., Henry-Gambier D., Mourre V., Normand C., Pelegrin J., Primault J., Scandiuzzi R., Thiébaut C., 2011 – Archaeological Signatures of Hunting Activities Applied to Comparisons of Mousterian, Chatelperronian and Aurignacian Industries in the Pyrenees: The Nature of Hunting Tools and Site Functions, in Bon F., Costamagno S., Valdeyron N. (eds.), Hunting Camps in Prehistory. Current Archaeological Approaches, Proceedings of the International Symposium, May 13-15 2009, University Toulouse II – Le Mirail, P@lethnology, 3, 131-167.
Contributions of the 2004 Preventive Excavation
to Understanding the Aurignacian Occupations
at Solutré (Saône-et-Loire, France)
Grégory BAYLE, Céline BÉMILLI, Nelly CONNET
The Aurignacian levels of Crôt-du-Charnier at Solutré (Saône-et-Loire) were the object of a preventive excavation in 2004. This work yielded a considerable amount of faunal remains and thus confirmed the significant role of hunting and its associated technical activities at this site, such as butchery, hide working and the collection of bone materials.
The nature of the lithic industry, composed of a small number of pieces, indicates that human groups came to the site with a toolkit that was manufactured in large part elsewhere. The abundance of bone remains and the scarcity of lithic artifacts raises the following question: does this site, whose topography favored the passage of animals and thus would have made it an attractive location for hunting, correspond to a specialized occupation complementary to a more long-term occupation elsewhere?
In other words, how can we define the Aurignacian occupations of this site? Can we qualify them as “stops” or “camps”? The complexity of these definitions of the nature and function of prehistoric sites is discussed in the case study that we present here.
To cite this article
Bayle G., Bémilli C., Connet N., 2011 – Contributions of the 2004 Preventive Excavation to Understanding the Aurignacian Occupations at Solutré (Saône-et-Loire, France), in Bon F., Costamagno S., Valdeyron N. (eds.), Hunting Camps in Prehistory. Current Archaeological Approaches, Proceedings of the International Symposium, May 13-15 2009, University Toulouse II – Le Mirail, P@lethnology, 3, 169-181.
THE FUNCTION(S) OF ARCHAIC AURIGNACIAN BLADELETS:
Data and Thoughts Based on Examples
from Isturitz Cave (Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France)
Christian NORMAND, Magen O’FARRELL, Joseba RIOS GARAIZAR
Very early on, prehistoric groups in the western Pyrenees benefitted from the favorable geographic situation and vast dimensions of Isturitz Cave. The excavations conducted there in the beginning of the 20th century revealed evidence of frequent occupations during the Middle, and especially Upper Paleolithic. Starting in 1999, new research in the Saint-Martin gallery has focused on its Aurignacian stratigraphic sequence. The base of this sequence is composed of rich Archaic Aurignacian assemblages with a lithic industry largely dominated by bladelets. In this paper, we present the first results of usewear analyses of these bladelets, which reveal diverse functions. However, we also insist on the need to validate our hypotheses through experimentation.
To cite this article
Normand C., O’Farrel M., Rios Garaizar J., 2009 – The Function(s) of Archaic Aurignacian Bladelets:Data and Thoughts based on Examples from Isturitz Cave (Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France), in Pétillon J.-M., Dias-Meirinho M.-H., Cattelain P., Honegger M., Normand C., Valdeyron N., Projectile Weapon Elements from the Upper Palaeolithic to the Neolithic, Proceedings of session C83, XVth UISPP World Congress, Lisbon, September 4-9, 2006, P@lethnology, 1, 6-44.