The Mesolithic Site of Les Fieux (Miers, Lot):
a Hunting Camp on the Gramat Karst Plateau?
Nicolas VALDEYRON, Thomas BRIAND, Laurent BOUBY,
Auréade HENRY, Rym KHEDHAIER, Benjamin MARQUEBIELLE,
Hélène MARTIN, Anna THIBEAU, Bruno BOSC-ZANARDO
The Mesolithic site located in the western entrance of the cave of Les Fieux (Miers, Lot), excavated in the 1970’s by F. Champagne, has often been interpreted as a hunting camp. This hypothesis is mostly based on features of the lithic industry, which is largely dominated by weapon elements. The results of a multidisciplinary study of the Mesolithic assemblages now provide an opportunity to question the validity of this hypothesis. While the data collected (in the fields of anthracology, zooarchaeology, carpology, lithic technology and usewear, bone technology, sedimentology, etc.), do not completely invalidate it, they do suggest a few nuances. The activities identified are more varied than would be expected for a simple hunting camp, as are the animal carcass exploitation strategies, indicating an in situ consumption of animal products and thus a functional complexity that is not fully compatible with this interpretation.
To cite this article
Valdeyron N., Briand T., Bouby L., Henry A., Khedhaier R., Marquebielle B., Martin H., Thibeau A., Bosc-Zanardo B., 2011 – The Mesolithic Site of Les Fieux (Miers, Lot): a Hunting Camp on the Gramat Karst Plateau?, 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, 331-341.
What are these barbs for?
Preliminary Study on the Function
of the Upper Magdalenian Barbed Weapon Tips
Based on previous works by M. Julien (1982) and G.C. Weniger (1995), this paper presents some preliminary hypotheses on the possible functions of the osseous barbed points from the Upper Magdalenian (ca. 13 500-12 000 cal BC). Taking as a starting point the statement that their appearance and development coincide with an increased interest in small animal hunting (fish, birds, lagomorphs), we attempted to correlate the relative abundance of barbed points with the representation of small game, but the data from our test area (Northern Pyrenees) did not provide conclusive results. A survey of the barbed points of Northern American hunter-gatherers known by ethnography shows a clear functional trend: “simple” barbed points are mostly used for fowling, for hunting big and small land game, and for war; while “true” harpoons are mostly used for fishing and hunting sea mammals and aquatic mammals. However, when based on a rigorous operational definition of harpoons, the morphology of the Magdalenian barbed points appears not to allow their positive classification as harpoon heads. Thus, their function remains largely undetermined. We therefore suggest several possible directions for future research on this topic.
To cite this article
Pétillon J.-M., 2009 – What are these Barbs for? Preliminary Study on the Function of the Upper Magdalenian Barbed Weapon Tips, 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, 66-97.