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 article
Thiébaut C., 2013 – Discoid Debitage Stricto Sensu: Method Adapted to Highly Mobile Middle Paleolithic Groups?, P@lethnology, Varia, 18 p.
Mousterian Hunting Camps:
Interdisciplinary Approach and Methodological Considerations
William RENDU, Laurence BOURGUIGNON, Sandrine COSTAMAGNO,
Liliane MEIGNEN, Marie-Cécile SOULIER, Dominique ARMAND,
Cédric BEAUVAL, Francine DAVID, Christophe GRIGGO,
Jacques JAUBERT, Bruno MAUREILLE, Seong-Jin PARK
Recent studies concerning the exploitation of the environment by Neanderthals have revealed the existence of short-term seasonal Mousterian occupations focused on hunting activities. The exact nature of these activities has rarely been addressed through inter-disciplinary studies, however. An interpretive framework that draws upon criteria from paleontology, zooarcheology, techno-economy, archeopetrography and paleotopography helps distill the most salient aspects from each of these sites and ultimately leads to a better perception of the activities that took place at each one.
To cite this article
Rendu W., Bourguignon L., Costamagno S., Meignen L., Soulier M.-C., Armand D., Beauval C., David F., Griggo C., Jaubert J., Maureille B., Park S.-J., 2011 – Mousterian Hunting Camps: Interdisciplinary Approach and Methodological Considerations, 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, 61-76.
A Mousterian Dromedary Hunting Camp:
Level VI1aO at Umm el Tlel (El Kowm, Central Syria)
Christophe GRIGGO, Éric BOËDA, Stéphanie BONILAURI,
Heba AL SAKHEL, Aline EMERY-BARBIER, Marie-Agnès COURTY
The site of Umm el Tlel, located in the El Kowm basin in Central Syria, contains a long stratigraphic sequence extending from the Roman period to the Acheulean. The artifacts exceptional well preserved, particularly for the Mousterian. The existence of such a sequence on the steppe margins can be explained by the permanent presence of water.
The abundant artifacts collected throughout the Mousterian sequence have permitted us to show that there was a significant variability in regional technical behaviors and to identify the functions of this site.
Through a multidisciplinary approach, we thus propose to explain why we believe that the Mousterian level VI1a0 corresponds precisely to what most archaeologists consider as a “hunting camp”.
This level, excavated over a surface of 20 m2, yielded nearly 250 archaeological artifacts. Faunal remains are by far the most abundant and all are attributed to a single species: dromedary, or Arabian camel. The lithic artifacts consist of less than twenty objects, including 15 retouched flint flakes over 2 cm long and two limestone blocks. The whole assemblage was fossilized in silts of a palustrine origin, which were deposited very shortly after the Mousterian occupation. There was no subsequent post-depositional disturbance. We thus have an exceptional recording of a short duration occupation during which a small group of Mousterians came to hunt dromedaries at the edge of a lake.
To cite this article
Griggo C., Boëda É., Bonilauri S., Al Sakhel H., Emery-Barbier A., Courty M.-A., 2011 – A Mousterian Dromedary Hunting Camp: Level VI1aO at Umm el Tlel (El Kowm, Central Syria), 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, 103-129.
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 article
Thiébaut 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.