Info

Figure 5.10 Frequencies of raw materials deriving from different sources in the assemblages from Grotte Vaufrey layer VII (upper) and Fonseigner layer D (lower). While the distribution at Grotte Vaufrey shows a pattern of progressively decreasing frequencies with increasing distance of transport, the pattern at Fonseigner seems to reflect the preferential exploitation of a number of sources of more distant (and more high-quality) flint. After Geneste 1989a.

Similar patterns can be seen in the graphs for several of the occupation levels at Fonseigner (Fig. 5.9, lower), which also show secondary peaks at between 15 and 40 km from the site location (Geneste 1989a). One should be cautious about jumping too readily to an economic cost explanation for these patterns, since in some cases secondary resource peaks could arise almost accidentally as a reflection of foraging patterns which, for reasons totally unrelated to the procurement of lithic raw materials, attracted groups more frequently to certain geographical zones and therefore geological outcrops than others. However, it seems significant that all the specific raw materials which do account for secondary peaks in the quantity/distance relationships represent some of the best quality and most highly valued sources of flint. Thus, we may have evidence for deliberate selection of these particular sources and perhaps procurement strategies that were targeted specifically on these locations. If so this could be seen as further evidence for logistical organization in the Middle Palaeolithic with corresponding implications for the planning capacities of the human groups (Geneste 1989a).

4. Finally, these patterns have now been documented for a wide range of Middle Palaeolithic industries in the Perigord region, extending chronologically to the penultimate glaciation (i.e. in the various levels at Grotte Vaufrey) and including virtually all the major industrial variants of the Mousterian (MTA, Typical, Quina/Ferrassie and at least some occurrences of Denticulate Mousterian) (Geneste 1985, 1989a: Fig. 12; Turq 1989a). The only apparent exceptions have been documented in some of the open-air locations in the northern Dordogne region. According to Geneste (1985: Table 16; 1989a), several of these sites (e.g. Le Roc and other sites in the Euche valley: Fig. 5.13) show an almost total reliance on local sources of flint with little evidence for the importation of materials from more distant sources. As he points out, this could indicate either that these particular sites were located effectively on major flint-bearing outcrops, or alternatively could imply very short-term episodes of occupation (Geneste 1989a: 83). Presumably, such short-term occupations would be less likely to involve the exploitation of varied, longdistance resources than would the much longer-term palimpsest occupations represented in most cave and rock-shelter sites. These characteristics of the raw material tend to underscore the specialized nature of the occupations represented in many of the open-air sites in the Perigord region (see Chapter 8). It may also be significant, as Geneste points out, that several of these apparently specialized, short-term open-air occupations (as at Le Roc and other sites in the Euche valley) seem to relate specifically to the Denticulate variant of the Mousterian.

Utilization of raw materials on occupation sites

The varying frequencies with which different materials were transported across the landscape and introduced into sites is only one aspect of raw material procurement strategies. Equally significant are the precise forms in which these materials were transported and their varying patterns of use in the different sites. Geneste argues that this is reflected most clearly in the representation of different technological stages in the overall reduction sequences of the different raw materials (see Chapter 3) and can best be analysed in terms of the three main zones (Geneste 1985,1988,1989 a,b):

(a) The most significant zone for the relative abundance and accessibility of raw materials is that located closely adjacent to the sites within a distance of at most 4-5 km. For materials derived from this zone, Geneste argues that virtually all stages of lithic reduction sequences are represented, from initial importation of raw, unmodified blocks of material, to the final production, use and discard of retouched tools (Fig. 5.11). In some cases, as at Grotte Vaufrey, these complete reduction sequences have been documented by refitting flakes to their parent nodules and by the presence in several sites (e.g. Fon-seigner and Grotte Vaufrey) of complete nodules which were apparently introduced and stored on the sites for future use. High frequencies of decortication flakes (i.e. those retaining large amounts of cortex from the original nodules) again reflect large-scale working down of nodules within the occupation sites.

(b) Striking contrasts to the preceding patterns can be seen in the materials transported over much longer distances, ranging between 20-30 km and up to 80-100 km. These far-travelled materials are almost invariably represented on the sites in specialized forms, consisting of essentially 'terminal' products in the lithic reduction sequences - i.e. either fully retouched tools or in some cases primary flake blanks (most frequently Levallois flakes or similar large flakes) probably employed directly as tools without further retouching (Fig. 5.11). Significantly, all forms of cores are virtually lacking in these materials and there is usually little evidence for systematic reduction or primary flaking of materials within the occupation sites. The use of these materials therefore seems to reflect a highly specialized form of exploitation in which only pieces immediately usable as tools were carried over long distances and deliberately introduced into the occupation sites.

(c) The most complex zone in terms of utilization of different materials is that located within the intermediate distances, ranging between ca 5 km and 20 km. As one might expect, materials transported over these distances show a mixture of the strategies documented in the two contrasting zones discussed above (Fig. 5.11). On rare occasions these materials were transported as largely complete nodules. More commonly, they were transported either as partially shaped cores (i.e. the initial stages of cortex removal had been carried out elsewhere) or as selected primary flakes or fully retouched tools. Interestingly, more heavily reduced core forms are generally either lacking or under-represented in these materials. As Geneste stresses, however, the patterns of use and procurement of these intermediate materials are less well defined than those for the immediate and distant sources and seem to

Figure 5.11 Patterns of utilization of raw materials deriving from varying distances in the assemblages from Grotte Vaufrey layer VIII (left) and Fonseigner (layer D) (right), analysed according to the 'chaîne opératoire' scheme of Geneste 1985 (see Table 3.1 and Fig. 3.1). Both assemblages show that the raw materials imported from the 'intermediate' (graph B) and 'distant' (graph C) sources are represented in afar more selective form than those derived from very local sources. After Geneste 1989a.

Figure 5.11 Patterns of utilization of raw materials deriving from varying distances in the assemblages from Grotte Vaufrey layer VIII (left) and Fonseigner (layer D) (right), analysed according to the 'chaîne opératoire' scheme of Geneste 1985 (see Table 3.1 and Fig. 3.1). Both assemblages show that the raw materials imported from the 'intermediate' (graph B) and 'distant' (graph C) sources are represented in afar more selective form than those derived from very local sources. After Geneste 1989a.

point to different procurement strategies presumably dictated largely by varying patterns of mobility and duration and intensity of occupation in the different sites.

2. Another way of viewing these patterns is in terms of the varying degrees of utilization of the materials on occupation sites, either as systematically retouched tools or as clearly utilized flakes. Again, Geneste argues that some sharply defined patterns can be seen in response to the variable distances over which the materials were transported (Fig. 5.12). In the case of purely local materials (from distances of at most 5 km), the proportion of these utilized products rarely exceeds ca 5 percent and more usually shows values of ca 1-2 percent (Table 5.2). For more distant sources the intensity of utilization increases to around 10-20 percent for materials from the intermediate zone (ca 5-20 km) and between 60 and 100 percent for the most travelled sources derived from distances of between 30 and 80-100 km (Fig. 5.12; Table 5.2). As noted above, this pattern indicates that materials from these distant sources were almost invariably brought to sites either as fully retouched tools or else in forms which could be used or transformed immediately into tools within the sites.

3. Similar patterns can be seen in the relative frequencies in which various core forms were introduced into the occupation sites at increasing distances from raw material sources - with the highest frequencies generally coinciding with the most local materials and the lowest frequencies with the furthest travelled materials. Some informative data have been documented by Geneste (1985: 507-9) in a series of open-air sites located in the small valley of the Euche in the northern Dordogne (Figs 5.13, 5.14). In these sites virtually all raw materials were introduced from one or other of two major flint outcrops, one located close to the village of Remanon near the confluence with the Dronne valley and the

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment