couche VII couche VIII

20km couche VII couche VIII


ably present in very small frequencies (Table 5.2) and rarely account for more than ca 5 percent of the total lithic assemblages from particular occupation levels (Geneste 1985, 1988, 1989a,b; Turq 1988a, 1989a). As discussed further below, these materials also tend to be represented in specialized forms, reflecting artefacts brought to sites either as finished tools or as selected flake blanks intended for future tool production. Never theless, these materials often derive from widely separated sources, extending along several different trajectories away from the sites (see Figs 5.5-5.8). In the case of La Plane (Fig. 5.6), materials were brought to the site from at least 13 clearly separate sources, from varying distances to the north, south and west of the site location (Turq 1989a: Fig. 6). Similar patterns can be seen at the Grotte Vaufrey (Fig. 5.8) and Fonseigner where most occupation levels incorporate raw materials from at least five or six sources (Geneste 1988, 1989a; Geneste & Rigaud 1989). Exactly how these more distant flint sources were exploited raises several interesting issues to be discussed later. However, many Mousterian groups were able to gain access, if only sporadically, to sources of raw materials located far beyond any normal daily foraging radius from the documented occupation sites and which must have involved either large-scale territorial movements on the part of the individual Mousterian groups (see Fig. 5.17), or possibly some form of exchange relationships with neighbouring groups, extending over virtually all the Perigord and immediately adjacent areas (Geneste 1989a; Geneste & Rigaud 1989; Turq 1989a).

3. As Geneste (1989a) has indicated, when quantities of different raw materials are plotted against the distances over which they were transported, the patterns usually correspond to a roughly exponential decline curve. Well defined patterns of this kind have been documented, for example, by Geneste in several of the levels at Fonseigner and Grotte Vaufrey (Figs 5.9, 5.10) and by Turq in the material from La Plane and Mas-Viel (Geneste 1989a; Geneste & Rigaud 1989; Turq 1989a). None of this is particularly surprising and recalls the kind of fall-off patterns documented in the distribution of obsidian supplies in Neolithic sites in the Aegean and Near Eastern regions (e.g. Renfrew 1969). These patterns could be explained in two possible ways: either as an expression of deliberate energy-economizing behaviour by Middle Palaeolithic groups, which would inevitably place the major emphasis on the most local and easily accessible sources; or alternatively because flint supplies from increasingly distant geological sources were less likely to be encountered in the course of normal daily or seasonal foraging activities. What adds most weight to the deliberate cost-economizing interpretation is that virtually

Figure 5.9 Frequencies of raw materials deriving from varying distances represented in the assemblages from Grotte Vaufrey layers II-VIII (upper) and Fonseigner layers D-F (lower). After Geneste 1989a.

all the raw materials known to have been transported over substantial distances were relatively high quality varieties of flint presumably preferred and highly valued for their superior flaking qualities (Geneste 1989a). The specific forms in which these materials were transported and used in sites adds further weight to this interpretation, as discussed below.

Some of the most interesting features of the distance-decline curves shown in Figs 5.9 and 5.10, however, relate to exceptions to the exponential patterns of decline. This is particularly clear in the curve for level IV of the Grotte Vaufrey (Fig. 5.9, upper) which shows a sharp secondary peak in the quantity/dis-tance relationship centred on a distance of ca 35km from the site (Geneste 1988, 1989a).

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