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Figure 6.1 Overall distribution of side-scraper (racloir) frequencies in southwestern French Mousterian assemblages, according to Bordes & de Sonneville-Bordes 1970.

lois flakes, blades and either strict or broad facetted striking platforms) was based on the total lithic assemblages (i.e. including both retouched and unretouched artefacts) and was expressed as a series of technological indices, indicating the percentage of pieces which fell into individual technological categories.

Bordes' division of the Mousterian industries into five major industrial groupings is equally well known (1953a, 1961b, 1963, 1968a, 1972, 1981, 1984). This taxonomy was based from the outset primarily on the overall frequencies of racloir forms, expressed in relation to the combined frequencies of all other retouched tool types, within the tool assemblages as a whole. In his 1953 paper he pointed out that a frequency distribution of these racloir indices in the documented Mousterian industries from both northern and southwestern France showed a disconti-nous, essentially trimodal pattern, which argued for a division of the assemblages into at least three separate groups. A later plot of the same parameter based on a larger group of 88 assemblages revealed a slightly more complex pattern but still suggested a discontinuous distribution of the racloir index incorporating three or four well separated modes (Fig. 6.1) (Bordes & de Sonneville-Bordes 1970: Fig. 15). The character of this racloir index was therefore taken by Bordes as a reasonable, a priori justification for the recognition of three of his major industrial variants - those of the Denticulate, Typical and Charentian (i.e. combined Ferrassie and Quina) Mousterian groupings - though with a possible division of the rather amorphous Typical Mousterian group into two subgroups (Fig. 6.2). The separation from this complex of the Mousterian of Acheulian tradition (MTA) grouping was adopted directly from the earlier taxonomic scheme of Denis Peyrony (1920, 1930) and (as discussed below) was based strictly on the presence in these industries of two distinctive 'type fossils', in the form of cordiform hand axes and typical (i.e. extensively retouched) backed knives. The final component of his taxonomic scheme involved the subdivision of the broader grouping of Charentian industries (i.e. assemblages showing a strong predominance of various racloir forms) into the two subgroupings of Ferrassie and Quina Mousterian based on the dominance of Levallois versus non-Levallois techniques respectively

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Denticulate (11)

Typical (25)

Ferrassie (7)

Quina (22)

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Racloir index

Figure 6.2 Racloir frequencies recorded in different industrial variants of the southwestern French Mousterian, according to Bordes & de Sonneville-Bordes 1970. The bi-modal distribution of the racloir index in the Typical Mousterian was taken by Bordes to indicate a probable division of these industries into at least two separate entities.

in the two variants. This separation between the Ferrassie and Quina variants was the only part of Bordes' scheme which depended on the strictly technical as opposed to typological features of the assemblages.

In its most essential form, therefore, Bordes' system of taxonomy, dividing the French Mousterian complex into five major variants is a predominantly quantitative scheme, which relies on the overall, relative frequencies of the major retouched tool forms in the different assemblages (Fig. 6.3). It is this aspect of Bordes' taxonomy which has been emphasized most frequently in the subsequent literature and which has formed the central focus of recent debates on the behavioural and cultural significance of these industrial divisions, discussed in detail in Chapter 10. What has not been so widely recognized is that whilst these quantitative features were usually employed by Bordes as the primary criteria for distinguishing between the different Mousterian taxa, he frequently made use of several other more idiosyncratic and qualitative rather than quantitative features in support of his taxo-nomic distinctions, which may be summarized as follows:

1. 'Type-fossil' forms. The classic use of type-fossil forms in Bordes' taxonomy (as in the earlier taxonomy of Denis Peyrony) was in the definition of the MTA grouping. As Bordes pointed out on numerous occasions, fully typical forms of cordiform and related hand-axe types (e.g. Figs 4.22, 4.25, 4.26) are not only quantitatively rare in all other variants of the Mousterian complex (most notably in the case of the Ferrassie, Quina and Denticulate variants) but apparently totally lacking in all recently well excavated assemblages (Bordes 1953a: 460-3; 1961b: 804-5; 1968a: 101-2; 1981: 78-9; Bordes & de Sonne-ville-Bordes 1970: 61-3). Especially significant is the total absence of hand axes from all except the uppermost five Mousterian levels in the long and complex Mousterian sequence at Combe Grenal, which comprises 50 levels of all other industrial variants of the Mousterian complex and yielded an aggregate of over 10,000 retouched tools (Bordes 1972). The occurrence of typical cordiform hand axes therefore seems to be in every sense a classic fossile directeur of the MTA industries. The same may be true of typical (i.e. extensively retouched) forms of backed knives (Fig. 4.19). As both Bordes (e.g. 1954-55, 1961b, 1981, 1984) and Peyrony (1920, 1930) pointed out, these forms have a close association with typical cordiform hand

Quina

Quina

Figure 6.3 Cumulative frequency curves of tool-type frequencies characteristic of three of the major variants of the southwestern French Mousterian complex (Quina, Typical and Denticulate Mousterian). After Bordes & de Sonneville-Bordes 1970. For a list of the numbered tool types, see Table 6.1.

i u^-^H i i i i i i ; i i i i i i t i i i l 1 I I I I I t I I ' I I I I I I I 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 18 21 22 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 51 52 53 54 Bp 57 59 62 l'7 20 2'4 . , 56 58 61

Side scrapers

Notches and denticulates i u^-^H i i i i i i ; i i i i i i t i i i l 1 I I I I I t I I ' I I I I I I I 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 18 21 22 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 51 52 53 54 Bp 57 59 62 l'7 20 2'4 . , 56 58 61

Side scrapers

Notches and denticulates

Figure 6.3 Cumulative frequency curves of tool-type frequencies characteristic of three of the major variants of the southwestern French Mousterian complex (Quina, Typical and Denticulate Mousterian). After Bordes & de Sonneville-Bordes 1970. For a list of the numbered tool types, see Table 6.1.

MTA assemblages

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