Combustion features and periglacial structures:
a New Taphonomic Analysis of Mousterian
Combustion Features at Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue (50)
The Mousterian site of Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue (Manche), excavated by Gérard Fosse in the early 1980’s, has yielded around thirty combustion features. These features were excavated, described and interpreted without sufficient consideration of the periglacial processes that occurred during and after the human occupations. Based on observations of modern periglacial processes in active contexts, archaeological examples from sites in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region and experiments conducted at high altitudes by A. Pissart (1973 to 1987) and researchers in the ACR program “Taphonomy of Middle Palaeolithic assemblages in periglacial contexts” and “The Palaeolithic in the Quercy” (2004-2007), we reveal evidence of formal convergences between the periglacial structures and the forms and functions of the combustion features attributed to the Mousterian at Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue.
To cite this article
Masson B., 2010 – Combustion Features and Periglacial Structures: a New Taphonomic Analysis of Mousterian Combustion features at Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue (50), in Théry-Parisot I., Chabal L., Costamagno S., The taphonomy of Burned Organic Residues and Combustion Features in Archaeological Contexts, Proceedings of the round table, May 27-29 2008, CEPAM, P@lethnology, 2, 5-23.
Dumping, sweeping and trampling:
Experimental Micromorphological Analysis
of Anthropogenically Modified Combustion Features
Christopher E. MILLER, Nicholas J. CONARD,
Paul GOLDBERG, Francesco BERNA
Six experimental fireplaces were constructed to investigate the ability of micromorphology to identify anthropogenic reworking of combustion features and to build a reference base of experimentally-derived conditions to calibrate micromorphological conditions. After burning, the fireplaces were either swept out, swept out and the material dumped, trampled, or a combination of these three. Micromorphological examination showed that these processes produce distinct characteristics readily identifiable at the microscopic scale. The application of this experiment to combustion-related features at the Paleolithic site of Hohle Fels in Germany showed that micromorphological examination of anthropogenic deposits—supported by experimental observations —provides an important context in which to evaluate other classes of artefacts.
To cite this article
Miller C. E., Conard N. J., Goldberg P., Berna F., 2010 – Dumping, Sweeping and Trampling: Experimental Micromorphological Analysis of Anthropogenically Modified Combustion Features, in Théry-Parisot I., Chabal L., Costamagno S., The taphonomy of Burned Organic Residues and Combustion Features in Archaeological Contexts, Proceedings of the round table, May 27-29 2008, CEPAM, P@lethnology, 2, 25-37.