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.