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La Chapelle-aux-Saints (Quina Mousterian)

From Geneste 1989a; Turq 1989a, 1992b; Demars 1982, 1990b. Unless noted otherwise, the sites are cave/rock-shelter localities. For the location of the sites, see Fig. 5.5.

From Geneste 1989a; Turq 1989a, 1992b; Demars 1982, 1990b. Unless noted otherwise, the sites are cave/rock-shelter localities. For the location of the sites, see Fig. 5.5.

over 40 separate occupation levels (Table 5.1; Fig. 5.5). The majority of these studies derive from the work of Jean-Michel Geneste centred mainly on a series of sites in the northern part of the Dordogne area around the valley of the Dronne and its tributaries (Geneste 1985, 1988, 1989a, 1990; Geneste & Rigaud 1989). Further analyses have been carried out by Geneste for a number of sites further to the south in the valleys of the Vezere and the Dordogne (Le Moustier, Grotte Vaufrey and Le Dau) and by Alain Turq for a range of sites located immediately to the south of the Perigord region between the valleys of the Dordogne and the Lot (Turq 1988a, 1989a, 1992b; Turq & Dolse 1988). To the east of the region, Demars (1982, 1990b) has provided similar data for the sites of Chez-Pourrez and La

Chapelle-aux-Saints in the Department of Correze. With one exception, all these sites appear to belong to the classic sequence of Mousterian industries in the region (i.e. dating from some point during the last glacial) and include representatives of all the major industrial variants (i.e. Typical, Denticulate, Mousterian of Acheulian tradition (MTA), Quina and Ferrassie) (see Table 5.1). The one notable exception is the site of Grotte Vaufrey, which includes a long sequence of industries attributed to the later stages of the penultimate glaciation (Geneste 1985, 1988; Geneste & Rigaud 1989). A valuable aspect of these studies is that the data relate to assemblages from both many of the classic cave and rock-shelter locations and also from a variety of open-air sites located on the intervening plateaux.

The data provided in the recent provenanc-ing studies relate in essence to two different aspects of procurement strategies: first, the specific sources of raw materials exploited and the relative frequencies with which these were distributed between different Middle Palaeolithic sites; and second, the precise forms in which these different materials were transported across the landscape and successively reduced or transformed into different technological products. The results of the studies can best be discussed in these terms.

Provenance and distribution of raw materials

The results of the recent provenancing studies reveal three striking features: (1) the strong predominance of materials derived from very local sources in the great majority of Mousterian sites - that is materials derived from distances of at most 4-5 km from the individual site locations; (2) the additional presence in most sites of a surprising range of materials derived from many additional sources - often located along different axes extending in several directions away from the sites (Figs 5.5-5.8); and (3) the occasional presence in almost all sites of more sporadic raw materials derived from much greater distances of up to 80-100 km (Table 5.2). There are localized exceptions to most of these generalizations but as a broad characterization of Middle Palaeolithic procurement patterns in southwestern France, these are the most significant patterns to emerge from recent work (Geneste 1985, 1988, 1989a, b; Turq 1988a, 1989b, 1992b). In more detail, the patterns can be analysed as follows:

Table 5.2

Quantities of raw materials transported over varying distances in Middle Palaeolithic sites in southwestern France, with the degree of utilization of the different raw materials for retouched and utilized tools

Distance over which flint Percentage transported Percentage transported (km) utilized

Perigord Lot/Quercy Perigord

Data for the Perigord sites are from Geneste 1989a: 80-82 and 1989b: 63; data for the Lot and Quercy region are from Turq 1989a: 189; * denotes data from Geneste 1989b: 63.

Figure 5.6 Raw material sources exploited from the Middle Palaeolithic sites of La Plane (upper: MTA) and La Borde (lower: Denticulate Mousterian). After Turq 1989a, 1990.

Figure 5.6 Raw material sources exploited from the Middle Palaeolithic sites of La Plane (upper: MTA) and La Borde (lower: Denticulate Mousterian). After Turq 1989a, 1990.

1. The tendency to rely predominantly on purely local raw materials has now been documented in effectively all Middle Palaeolithic industries recently analysed in the Peri-gord region. According to the data provided by Geneste (1985,1988,1989a,b) Turq (1988a, 1989a) and Demars (1982, 1990b) the component of raw materials derived from sources of at most 4-5 km from the occupation sites invariably accounts for at least 70 percent of the total lithic assemblages and in several cases rises as high as 95-98 percent (especially in the case of open-air sites, which are often located effectively on the outcrops of raw material) (Table 5.2). As Geneste points out, this could be seen as a simple reflection of the immediate foraging radius from the sites in question - indicating areas which were rapidly and economically exploited within at most one or two hours of travel during a normal working day (Geneste 1985; 1989a). As such the overwhelming predominance of local materials can be seen as a largely predictable aspect of procurement strategies which were 'embedded' in the more general patterns of economic and subsistence activities carried out from particular site locations.

Figure 5.7 Raw material sources exploited from the Quina-Mousterian cave sites of La Chapelle-aux-Saints (upper) and Mas-Viel (lower). After Demars 1990b, Turq 1989a.

Figure 5.7 Raw material sources exploited from the Quina-Mousterian cave sites of La Chapelle-aux-Saints (upper) and Mas-Viel (lower). After Demars 1990b, Turq 1989a.

Closely related is the tendency for many sites to be located virtually on the sources of relatively rich and accessible raw materials. Well documented cases have been recorded, for example, at the site of Plateau Cabrol (Lot-et-Garonne) located on top of local outcrops of Santonian flint (Turq 1977a, 1978, 1988a, 1989a) and at other sites such as Combe-Capelle (Dordogne) where a rich seam of high quality flint nodules occurs immediately adjacent to the site (Peyrony 1943). Similar situations have been documented by Geneste (1985), Duchadeau-Kervazo (1986) and Turq (1989a) at a range of open-air sites in both the northern and southern Dordogne regions. In these cases there can be little doubt that the immediate accessibility of rich and relatively high quality raw material must have been a primary factor influencing the choice of these particular site locations (see Chapter 8).

2. Far more interesting and unexpected is the presence in the majority of Middle Palaeolithic sites of a surprising variety of raw materials, deriving from distances ranging from 20-30 km to as much as 80-100 km from the site locations. These materials are invari-

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Figure 5.8 Raw material sources exploited in the different levels of the Grotte Vaufrey. Layers IV-VIII date from the penultimate glacial perod. After Geneste 1988.

Figure 5.8 Raw material sources exploited in the different levels of the Grotte Vaufrey. Layers IV-VIII date from the penultimate glacial perod. After Geneste 1988.

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