Figure 9.14 Distribution of small long-bone splinters in the Grotte du Lazaret. After de Lumley et al. 1969.

to indicate that the areas immediately adjacent to the hearths served as major centres of industrial and processing activities on the site, involving both the in situ flaking of flint nodules and the deliberate smashing of bones for extraction of marrow. Interestingly, a similar concentration of flint debitage and bone splinters was recorded around the edges of a large stone block at the western edge of the central activity area, suggesting that this served as a seat or anvil stone for similar activities at some point during the occupation sequence. The distribution of larger fragments of bones, represented mainly by articular ends of long bones, met-apodials etc., shows some similarity to that of the more fragmented bones, but is generally wider over the more western parts, further from the two major hearths. This suggests that these zones could have been used for more general butchery or processing of animal carcases, or perhaps as marginal areas for the discard of larger and more complete bone fragments.

4. The total number of retouched stone tools and discarded cores recovered from the excavations is unfortunately too small to allow a detailed analysis of the distribution patterns. From the data provided by de Lumley there is no clear indication of very different patterns of distribution of any of these forms from those of the general flaking debris, and no reason to infer a significantly contrasting pattern for different types of retouched tools (racloirs, points, denticulates, etc.). In view of

Figure 9.15 Distribution of small sea shells and foot bones of fur-bearing animals in the Grotte du Lazaret. De Lurnley suggests that these may indicate the location of bedding areas, consisting of piles of seaweed covered with animal skins. After de Lumley et al. 1969.

the small sample sizes, however, it is hardly possible to comment in any detail on these aspects of the distributions.

5. Finally, de Lumley recorded some interesting if rather enigmatic data on the distribution of small marine molluscs in the deposits - principally those of Littorina ner-itoides (Fig. 9.15). He argues that these must have been deliberately introduced into the site and suggests that they may have been attached to masses of seaweed possibly used as bedding for the site occupants. As he points out, the distribution of these molluscs seems to be tightly concentrated around the edges of the two main hearth areas and he suggests that these would be obvious places for sleeping, immediately adjacent to the hearths. He goes on to argue that the distribution of foot bones of various fur-bearing animals (mainly wolf and fox) show a broadly similar distribution (Fig. 9.15), and suggests that these could derive from the remains of animal skins used as coverings for the bedding areas. Clearly, there are other possible explanations for these patterns (such as the introduction of seaweed as a source of food) and it would be premature to accept de Lumley's interpretations without caution. Nevertheless, the distribution of these components shows an obvious pattern and must have specific implications for the character of the activities carried out in the cave.

Figure 9.16 De Lumley's reconstruction of the probable organization of space within the Lazaret cave. The line of stones (marked in black) is thought to indicate the base of a tent covering, supported by a series of vertical stakes (marked by vertical shading) surrounded by rings of stones. After de Lumley et al. 1969.

Figure 9.16 De Lumley's reconstruction of the probable organization of space within the Lazaret cave. The line of stones (marked in black) is thought to indicate the base of a tent covering, supported by a series of vertical stakes (marked by vertical shading) surrounded by rings of stones. After de Lumley et al. 1969.

6. The question of a deliberately constructed 'hut' or 'tent' in the Lazaret cave has generated a good deal of controversy. The evidence cited by de Lumley included an apparently linear concentration of small stone blocks immediately surrounding the main zone of occupation, the sharp lateral limits of the lithic and bone distributions, coinciding fairly closely with the stone distribution and the presence of eight roughly circular clusters of small stones which he argued could have served as the basal supports of wooden stakes or poles (although there was no evidence of post-holes penetrating below the level of the stones) (Fig. 9.16).

These features have been questioned by other workers on the grounds that the stone 'arrangements' could possibly reflect natural areas of rock falls from the cave roof or at best simply an attempt to clear stones away from the main occupied area to its edges. On the basis of the published evidence it is hardly possible to resolve these questions. One can only note that the whole issue of a deliberately constructed living structure in the Lazaret cave remains controversial, and can hardly be accepted in isolation as a demonstration of the architectural abilities of Neanderthal groups (Fig. 9.17).

Leaving aside these reservations over the


Figure 9.17 De Lumley's reconstruction of the hypothetical hut structure in the Lazaret cave. After de Lumley et al. 1969.

claimed living structure, there can be no doubt as to the importance of the distributions documented in de Lumley's meticulous excavations of the Lazaret cave. As noted above, they show striking similarities in several respects to those recorded in the Vaufrey cave and may indicate a broadly similar pattern of human use of the site - in both economic and social terms. The very small and sharply defined area of occupation leaves little doubt that the human groups were also small and the overall distributional pattern would seem to indicate a succession of relatively brief episodes of occupation in the cave apparently associated, as at Vaufrey, with a spectrum of different subsistence and tech nological activities. To find these patterns at broadly the same date and in two very different environmental and ecological contexts is possibly one of the most interesting features of the current archaeological record of the Middle Palaeolithic.

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