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total sites sites on raw material outcrops

Numbers of artifacts

Figure 8.7 Occurrence of Middle Palaeolithic sites in relation to sources oflithic rata materials, as documented by Duchadeau-Kervazo (1982) in the northern Perigord region. It will be seen that the richest sites (in terms of numbers of artefacts) show a strong tendency to be associated with raw material outcrops.

Numbers of artifacts

Figure 8.7 Occurrence of Middle Palaeolithic sites in relation to sources oflithic rata materials, as documented by Duchadeau-Kervazo (1982) in the northern Perigord region. It will be seen that the richest sites (in terms of numbers of artefacts) show a strong tendency to be associated with raw material outcrops.

associated bedrock formations than are cave and rock-shelter sites, and the overall distribution of open-air sites extends well beyond the major limestone belt which contains almost all the known occurrences of cave and rock-shelter locations. Thus, dense scatters of finds have been recorded, for example, immediately to the west of the major limestone formations in the vicinity of Bergerac (apparently related to the distribution of rich flint outcrops in this area: Gui-chard 1976) and also sporadically further west around the Garonne estuary and along the Atlantic coast (Lenoir 1983). To the south, further scatters of finds extend into the limestone regions of the Gausses du Quercy and onto many of the river terraces of the Tarn, the Garonne and their tributaries (Fig. 8.11) (Le Tensorer 1976,1981; Jaubert 1984, 1985; Turq 1988a, 1989a). To the north, similar distributions can be traced into the Departments of Vienne, Deux-Sèvres and Maine-et-Loire (Mazière & Raynal 1976; Gruet 1976; Pradel 1954 etc.). Finally, there are some less well documented extensions of open-air sites well to the east of the limestone regions, on areas of sandstone or crystalline formations around the western margins of the Massif Central (Mazière & Raynal 1976; Delporte 1976; Jaubert 1985) (Fig. 8.11). Thus, the distribution of Middle Palaeolithic open-air sites covers a broad region of southwestern France, running from the central foothills of the Massif Central westwards to the Atlantic coast and southwards to the Pyrenees. The most conspicuous concentration of sites nevertheless corresponds - as for cave and rock-shelters - predominantly with the major belt of limestone and associated flint-bearing outcrops running from north-west to southeast through the central Perigord region.

3. A third series of interrelated patterns can be seen in the more specific location of open-air sites in the Perigord region. All of the earlier studies have emphasized that open-air sites tend to occur predominantly in relatively high level exposed locations, usually on the highest parts of the interfluvial plateaux between the major river valleys. Concentrations of this kind have been recorded, for example, by Rigaud (1982) on the high plateaux between the Vézère and Dordogne; by Turq (1977a, 1978, 1988a, 1989a, 1992b) and Le Tensorer (1973, 1981) in the regions between the Dordogne and the Lot; and by Duchadeau-Kervazo (1982, 1986) in the northern Dordogne and southern Charente. What has become clear recently, however, is that this pattern applies predominantly to the larger, richer and more intensively occupied sites and is probably less true of smaller and more ephemerally occupied sites. Duchadeau-Kervazo (1986: 61) has pointed out that

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Crystalline Liassic

Jurassic Cretaceous

Tertiary (Lacustrine) Tertiary (Continental)

Figure 8.8 Principal geological outcrops in the areas between the Dordogne and Lot valleys. After Turq 1989a.

in the northern Perigord area virtually all sites containing more than 100 artefacts occur in these higher plateaux locations, whereas smaller and poorer sites (represented by between 1 and 100 artefacts) are more widely distributed over both high level and more low-lying areas, either on slopes of river valleys or in some cases within the floodplain zone. Similar patterns have been documented in detailed surveys by Geneste (1985) on some smaller tributary valleys of the Dronne drainage (notably those of the Euche and Buffebale: see Fig. 5.13) and by Turq (1988a, 1989a) in the areas between the Lot and Dordogne. Some of the possible implications of these patterns for the character of the activities carried out in the different locations will be discussed further below.

4. Finally, there would seem to be strong correlations once again between the distribution of open-air sites and the immediate availability of lithic raw material supplies. Thus Turq (1989a: 182-5, 194-6) has demonstrated that within the southern Perigord region, the densest concentrations of open-air sites seem to coincide with the limestone outcrops offering the most abundant and high quality materials - notably those of the Senonian formation, and other outcrops close to the junction between the Bathonian and Bajocian deposits (Figs 8.8-8.10). Ducha-deau-Kervazo (1984, 1986) has emphasized similar patterns in the northern Perigord -i.e. with a major concentration of sites on the various Senonian deposits and much lower densities on the adjacent Jurassic limestone

Flint abundant

Flint frequent

Flint rare

Zone without flint

Figure 8.9 Geological distribution of flint sources in the areas between the Dordogne and Lot valleys, after Turq 1989a. The richest flint sources correspond with the various Cretaceous and Tertiary limestone outcrops, as shown in Figure 8.8. The alluvial deposits of the major river valleys also provide a potential source of secondary flint supplies.

and crystalline formations. One of the most conspicuous examples of this effect is apparent on the various Maestrichtian deposits in the Bergerac region, where there is a major concentration of sites clearly related to the high quality outcrops of zoned and banded flint in these formations (Guichard 1976).

A further illustration of the same pattern is provided by the frequency with which open-air sites (especially the larger and more intensively occupied sites) occur either on or in immediate proximity to rich and high-quality raw material sources - for example at sites on the Plateaux Cabrol (Lot-et-Gar-onne), at La Plane (Lot), Le Dau and Coursac

(Dordogne) and further to the north at the well-known site of Fontmaure, located directly on exposures of high-quality jasper in the Vienne (Turq 1977a, 1978, 1989a; Rigaud 1969, 1982; Geneste 1985; Pradel 1954). Indeed, Turq (1988a: 99) has estimated that approximately 80 percent of the larger and more intensively occupied sites in the southern Perigord area were located either directly on or very close to major raw material supplies. Overall, the coincidence between raw material distributions and the occurrence of the richer and more intensively occupied open-air sites is one of the most striking characteristics of Middle Palaeolithic site distributions in southwestern France.

Figure 8.10 Overall distribution of Middle Palaeolithic sites (including both cave/rock-shelter and open-air sites) in the areas adjacent to the Dordogne and Lot valleys. After Turq 1989a. The major concentrations of sites can be seen to correspond fairly closely with the areas of richest flint supplies, as documented in Fig. 8.9. The outlines of the major geological outcrops correspond with those shown in Fig. 8.8.

Figure 8.10 Overall distribution of Middle Palaeolithic sites (including both cave/rock-shelter and open-air sites) in the areas adjacent to the Dordogne and Lot valleys. After Turq 1989a. The major concentrations of sites can be seen to correspond fairly closely with the areas of richest flint supplies, as documented in Fig. 8.9. The outlines of the major geological outcrops correspond with those shown in Fig. 8.8.

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