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Le Grand Abri aux Puces, a Mousterian site from the Last Interglacial: paleogeography, paleoenvironment, and new excavation results

By Ludovic Slimak, Jason Lewis, Evelyne Crégut-Bonnoure, Laure Metz, Vincent Ollivier, Pierre André, Julia Chrzavzez, Yves Giraud, Marcel Jeannet and Frédéric Magnin

Abstract

International audienceLe Grand Abri aux Puces (GAP), located on the right bank of the Ouvèze River of southern France, has been known to contain well-preserved stone tools and faunal remains, but our work in 2008 was the first professional, controlled excavation at the site and has exposed at least 1 archaeological layer with a very rich and diverse faunal assemblage (23 macrofaunal species, as many for the microfauna, 27 land snail species), abundant charcoals (fragments are large and preserve small twigs with their pith and bark still intact), and stone tools with immaculate surface preservation (retaining their original freshness and preserving microscopic use wear). The information issuing from paleontology, micropaleontology, malacology, and anthracology all place the principle GAP human occupation unambiguously in a temperate climatic phase. Different biometric and biochronological characters of the fauna converge to place the layers found thus far from before the last glacial, and most likely in MIS 5e (127e117 kya). The lithic elements, mainly composed of tools of superior quality, demonstrating particular technical investment, and made from widely distributed raw material sources, lead us to hypothesize brief passages of hunting groups in the cave focused around an anticipated activity. This hypothesis will be refined and tested during further excavations

Topics: Paleogeography, Paleoenvironment, France, Eemian, Lithics, Fauna, Mousterian, [SDU.STU.GM]Sciences of the Universe [physics]/Earth Sciences/Geomorphology, [SDE.ES]Environmental Sciences/Environmental and Society, [SDU.STU.HY]Sciences of the Universe [physics]/Earth Sciences/Hydrology, [SDU.STU.ST]Sciences of the Universe [physics]/Earth Sciences/Stratigraphy, [SDU.STU.TE]Sciences of the Universe [physics]/Earth Sciences/Tectonics, [SHS.ARCHEO]Humanities and Social Sciences/Archaeology and Prehistory, [SHS.GEO]Humanities and Social Sciences/Geography, [SHS.ENVIR]Humanities and Social Sciences/Environmental studies, [SDE.MCG]Environmental Sciences/Global Changes, [SDU.ENVI]Sciences of the Universe [physics]/Continental interfaces, environment, [SDU.STU.CL]Sciences of the Universe [physics]/Earth Sciences/Climatology, [SDU.STU.GC]Sciences of the Universe [physics]/Earth Sciences/Geochemistry, [SDU.STU.GL]Sciences of the Universe [physics]/Earth Sciences/Glaciology
Publisher: 'Elsevier BV'
Year: 2010
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.jas.2010.06.010
OAI identifier: oai:HAL:hal-01766607v1
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