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See detailPrésentation du projet Economie et pratiques des sociétés gravettiennes dans le Nord-Ouest de l’Europe (ECOPRAT)
Touzé, Olivier ULg; Salomon, Hélène ULg; Goutas, Nejma et al

Poster (2016, December 17)

Nous présentons dans cette contribution un projet collectif porté par le Service de Préhistoire de l’Université de Liège et l’équipe Ethnologie préhistorique de l'unité mixte de recherche du CNRS ... [more ▼]

Nous présentons dans cette contribution un projet collectif porté par le Service de Préhistoire de l’Université de Liège et l’équipe Ethnologie préhistorique de l'unité mixte de recherche du CNRS Archéologie et Sciences de l'Antiquité. Le projet « ECOPRAT » entend contribuer au renouvellement des connaissances relatives aux sociétés gravettiennes du Nord-Ouest européen, et prolonger ainsi la dynamique de recherche actuelle touchant ces sociétés (Bodu et al., 2013). Il s’inscrit dans une perspective pluridisciplinaire envisagée grâce à l’association d’études technologiques, tracéologiques et archéozoologiques. Quatre sites majeurs du Nord-Ouest européen ont été retenus : les gisements de plein air de Maisières-Canal (Prov. Hainaut, Belgique) et d’Ormesson – Les Bossats (Seine-et-Marne, France), et les grottes de Goyet (Prov. Namur, Belgique) et du massif d’Arcy-sur-Cure (Yonne, France). Les sites sélectionnés possédant des historiques de recherche spécifiques, la stratégie d’analyse adoptée pour chacun d’eux est développée en adéquation avec l’état des connaissances actuelles. Les recherches sont ainsi guidées par l’obtention de données inédites qui doivent permettre, à terme : 1) une lecture renouvelée et croisée des industries lithiques et osseuses, ainsi que des ensembles fauniques et des matières colorantes découverts dans ces gisements, 2) un rééquilibrage quantitatif et qualitatif de l’intégration des différentes sources documentaires disponibles, la recherche s’étant davantage concentrée depuis plus d’un siècle sur les données de l’industrie lithique. Les deux gisements de plein air réunissent les conditions indispensables au développement d’une approche interdisciplinaire permettant de croiser objets et méthodes d’étude, afin de proposer une lecture fine des comportements techniques et économiques des sociétés gravettiennes. A cet égard, cette contribution est l’occasion de présenter les premiers résultats obtenus sur le site de Maisières-Canal. Les recherches réalisées jusqu’à présent permettent de réévaluer l’importance de l’industrie sur matières dures d’origine animale, au sein de laquelle le travail de l’ivoire de mammouth se révèle particulièrement significatif. En outre, le corpus faunique traduit une exploitation récurrente du lièvre, ce type de comportement s’avérant singulier au regard de ce qui est habituellement documenté chez les sociétés du Gravettien. Parmi les différentes activités susceptibles de laisser une trace archéologique, l’usage de matières colorantes apparaît particulièrement discret dans le cadre spatio-temporel considéré. Cet usage est cependant avéré dans les grottes d’Arcy-sur-Cure (grottes du Renne et du Trilobite), lesquelles permettront ainsi d’entreprendre une étude ciblée de ce phénomène. Enfin, les grottes de Goyet offrent la possibilité de contribuer à la connaissance de la séquence gravettienne du Nord-Ouest européen. Si le long historique des fouilles menées dans ces grottes, ainsi que les mélanges manifestes affectant les collections, ne permettent pas d’envisager une étude approfondie des comportements gravettiens, des observations préliminaires permettent en revanche de s’interroger sur le potentiel de ces sites pour la reconstitution de cette séquence. A l’instar de ce qu’ont montré les travaux récemment conduits sur le Gravettien de Spy (Pesesse & Flas, 2013), il est en effet vraisemblable que les grottes de Goyet aient été occupées à plusieurs moments de la période gravettienne. BODU P., CHEHMANA L., KLARIC L., MEVEL L., SORIANO S., TEYSSANDIER N. (dir.), 2013. Le Paléolithique supérieur ancien de l’Europe du Nord-Ouest : réflexions et synthèses à partir d’un projet collectif de recherche sur le centre et le sud du Bassin parisien, Actes du colloque de Sens, 15-18 avril 2009. Paris : Société préhistorique française (Mémoires de la Société préhistorique française, 56), 516 p. PESESSE D., FLAS D., 2013. Which Gravettians at Spy? In : ROUGIER H., SEMAL P. (eds), Spy Cave. 125 years of multidisciplinary research at the Betche-aux-Roches (Jemeppe-sur-Sambre, Province of Namur, Belgium). Volume I. Bruxelles : Institut royal des Sciences naturelles de Belgique, Société royale belge d'Anthropologie et de Préhistoire, NESPOS Society (Anthropologica et Praehistorica, 123), pp. 257-268. [less ▲]

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See detailLe gisement paléolithique multistratifié d'Ormesson (Seine-et-Marne) : Palethnologie ou pâle ethnologie ?
Bodu, Pierre; Ballinger, Michèle; Dumarçay, Gaëlle et al

Conference (2016, June 01)

Il est exceptionnel de pouvoir appliquer la démarche palethnologique, si fréquemment développée pour le Magdalénien, aux gisement du Paléolithique supérieur ancien dans le Bassin parisien, dans la mesure ... [more ▼]

Il est exceptionnel de pouvoir appliquer la démarche palethnologique, si fréquemment développée pour le Magdalénien, aux gisement du Paléolithique supérieur ancien dans le Bassin parisien, dans la mesure où ils sont rares, c'est indéniable, mais aussi en raison d'un état de conservation généralement médiocre de la plupart d'entre eux. Le site d'Ormesson, situé en Seine-et-Marne, à proximité de la vallée du Loing et de la ville de Nemours, constitue depuis 2009, année de la première fouille, un gisement-laboratoire pour l'approche palethnographique de différentes populations de la fin du Paléolithique moyen au Badegoulien. A travers cet exemple devenu désormais une référence pour le Paléolithique supérieur ancien, nous nous poserons la question suivante : Palethnologie ou pâle ethnologie ? [less ▲]

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See detailThe bison valley: Ormesson (Seine-et-Marne, France), a key open-air site for the study of Palaeolithic groups from the Middle Palaeolithic to the Badegoulian
Touzé, Olivier ULg; Bodu, Pierre

Conference (2016, January 14)

In the Paris Basin, open-air Palaeolithic sites generally belong to the final Magdalenian with examples such as Pincevent, Etiolles and Verberie. It is on these sites that the palethnographic approach of ... [more ▼]

In the Paris Basin, open-air Palaeolithic sites generally belong to the final Magdalenian with examples such as Pincevent, Etiolles and Verberie. It is on these sites that the palethnographic approach of A. Leroi-Gourhan and his disciples was elaborated. However, for a long time, periods prior to the end of the Upper Palaeolithic did not focus a lot of attention, certainly because of the absence of well-preserved sites, but also because of a relative lack of interest on behalf of researchers who were working on this vast area. Thanks to a collective research project developed in the early 2000’s at the French National Center for Scientific research (CNRS), entitled “The Early Upper Palaeolithic of the centre and the south of the Paris Basin”, new data were collected leading to the development of an excavation program on the site of Ormesson (Seine-et-Marne) that began in 2009. After seven years of functioning, this program, initially focused on a Gravettian occupation dated 26500 uncal. BP and linked to bison hunting, has permitted the identification of four others occupations ranging from the end of the Middle Palaeolithic to the Badegoulian, and also including the Châtelperronian and the Middle Solutrean periods. The excellent state of preservation of these occupations leads us, besides the study of the environmental context (topography, plant environment, fauna, availability of raw materials, etc.), to a better understanding of subsistence economies and settlements functioning developed during 30000 years of human presence at this site. [less ▲]

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See detailOn the processing of red pigment by late mousterian Neanderthals in Ormesson, Seine-et-Marne, France, 47000 years ago
Salomon, Hélène ULg; Bodu, Pierre; Geurten, Stéphanie et al

E-print/Working paper (2016)

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See detailThe Discoid techno-complex (MIS 3) at Ormesson and across the Paris sedimentary Basin: consistency and flexibility of a singular technical choice with relation to the lithological context
Leroyer, Mathieu; Bodu, Pierre; Salomon, Hélène ULg et al

Conference (2014)

During the last decade new excavations and reexaminations of old collection have refreshed our vision of the end of the Middle Palaeolithic. Among those advances, the identification of a "Discoid techno ... [more ▼]

During the last decade new excavations and reexaminations of old collection have refreshed our vision of the end of the Middle Palaeolithic. Among those advances, the identification of a "Discoid techno-complex” during the MIS 3 Interpleniglacial event, which differs deeply with other sub-contemporaneous technological practices, reinforce the idea that this period witnessed distinct stone knapping traditions. However, such claims must be established within different geographical and lithological context, in order to invalidate more parsimonious explanations of technical variability. The newly excavated open-air camp site in Ormesson has provided multiple well preserved archaeological layers. The older is dominated by Discoid flaking method and dates to the MIS 3. These occupations took place in a geographical context where flint is not present in situ but was easily available from different sources within the “daily range” of the site. For instance Gravettian and Châtelperronian have preferentially used Campanian flint available 5 km from the site along the Loing River. So far the lithic chaînes opératoires in the Discoid Mousterian layer are characterised by a more limited technical involvement both in term of flint procurement (lower flint quality) and knapping gesture. At the same time, the Neandertal occupants invested considerable effort to extract, import and select the raw ochreous material, whose numerous remains have been found associated with stone tool in the Layer 4. The fact that they did not take advantage of the same trips not only for ochre but also for better flint supply seems problematic. Another characteristic of Ormesson Discoid assemblage is, for the moment, the scarcity of retouched implements, in particular of notches and denticulates which frequently characterize the techno-complex in South-western France. Are such characteristics representative of a state of progress in the excavations? Are they relevant of local techno-economic tactics, or subtle cultural specificities? In addition to ongoing excavation progress at Ormesson, a complementary way to solve these questions will be to enlarge the scope of the analysis to the whole Paris Basin. In that space, Discoidal assemblages have been now studied from very contrasting geographical and lithological contexts. For instance, Arcy-sur-Cure cave sites, on one side, Beauvais and Mennecy open-air sites on the other side, are respectively located at the very margin and near the center of the limestone dominated basin. As a consequence we observe great variations of flint availability from these different contexts. The preliminary comparison of the datas available confirms the existence of similar knapping methods and goals during a limited period, broadly centered on the MIS 3. But it also suggests some intrinsic adaptability of the Discoid typo-technological system to raw material nature and availability. When replaced in that perspective, the different characteristics of stone tool production currently recognized at Ormesson don’t appear, so far, to underline any cultural peculiarity on that site and fit with a coherent vision of the Discoid techno-complex also in Northern part of France. In return, the singular preservation of Ochre at Ormesson, offers a punctual opportunity to integrate what we increasingly know about these knapping habits with more obscure but anyway complementary aspects of a cultural system. [less ▲]

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See detailAn open-air site from the recent Middle Palaeolithic in the Paris Basin (France): Les Bossats at Ormesson (Seine-et-Marne).
Bodu, Pierre; Salomon, Hélène ULg; Leroyer, Mathieu et al

in Quaternary International (2014), 331

In northern France, most of the sites attributed to the Middle Palaeolithic are open-air sites in which mainly lithic artefacts are found, due to taphonomic conditions often unfavourable to the ... [more ▼]

In northern France, most of the sites attributed to the Middle Palaeolithic are open-air sites in which mainly lithic artefacts are found, due to taphonomic conditions often unfavourable to the preservation of fauna. The lithic assemblages found in most of those open-air sites suggest that the activities on the camp sites were diversified, although flint knapping was often intense due to the proximity of sources of raw siliceous materials. With the exception of very rare open-air sites, fauna is poorly preserved and spatial and economic analyses may often be based on the spatial distribution of lithic artefacts, in particular based on refits and their analysis. Therefore the palaeoethnological approach is difficult to implement in most open-air areas. In contrast, in the Paris Basin, the study of more recent sites from the Tardiglacial, such as the Magdalenian sites of Pincevent or Etiolles, falls within this approach. The recent discovery (2009) and excavation of the open-air site of Ormesson (Seine-et-Marne - France) was initially intended to document a Gravettian occupation floor dated around 26,000 years uncal BP and related to a preferential bison hunt. Whilst checking the thickness of the loess in which the Gravettian level was found, several other prehistoric settlements were discovered (Chatelperronian, Middle Solutrean) including two units attributed to the Middle Palaeolithic. One of them, level 4, seems to be particularly well-preserved. It occurs between one and three meters below the main Upper Palaeolithic occupation. The lithic industry from level 4 belongs to a technical tradition generally attributed to the Middle Palaeolithic: discoid technology. The freshness of the material and the presence of bone fragments attributed in part to horse support a general good state of preservation of this occupation. The Mousterian remains seem to cover at least 500 m2, as currently estimated. Even more exceptional is the close spatial relationship between the discoid industry, the bone pieces, remains of fireplaces and especially the numerous fragments and nodules of red colouring materials. These were brought to the site where they were utilised by the Mousterians. The used surfaces show indisputable scraping traces and facets. These recent discoveries will certainly contribute to the debate on the cognitive capacities of nearly the last representatives of the Middle Palaeolithic and this within a complex stratigraphy which will allow us to make comparisons between the different periods. [less ▲]

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See detailPIXE identification of the provenance of ferruginous rocks used by Neanderthals
Mathis, François ULg; Bodu, Pierre; Dubreuil, Olivier ULg et al

in Nuclear Instruments & Methods in Physics Research. Section B, Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms (2014), 331

Les Bossats, near Ormesson, France, is a newly discovered late Mousterian open air site dated to around 47,000 years ago by thermoluminescence. The archaeological level, fossilized by loess, revealed a ... [more ▼]

Les Bossats, near Ormesson, France, is a newly discovered late Mousterian open air site dated to around 47,000 years ago by thermoluminescence. The archaeological level, fossilized by loess, revealed a rich industry based on the discoid mode, associated with numerous fragments of red and yellow iron oxide-rich rocks showing clear traces of powder production (abrasion, striation, scraping), which are exceptional remains for this remote period. Archeological material and geological samples from the close environment were studied by PIXE and by petrographical observations made on thin sections. The geological sources were identified by means of PIXE analyses on two IBA facilities: AGLAE (2 MV tandem) at the C2RMF in Paris and the cyclotron of the IPNAS (University of Liège). We paid particular attention to the comparison of results obtained on both installations by using the same set of geological standards and by a fine evaluation of the limit of detection relative to each trace elements of interest for both experimental set ups. The elemental fingerprint of one geological source of iron-rich concretions corresponds clearly with the archaeological collection. At least, this investigation demonstrates that the colouring materials were minutely selected in the close neighbouring of the site by the Neanderthals. [less ▲]

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See detailNeanderthals see red : production of red powder in the Late Mousterian in Ormesson, France
Salomon, Hélène ULg; Geurten, Stéphanie; Bodu, Pierre et al

Poster (2013, February 07)

Les Bossats, near Ormesson, is a newly discovered late Mousterian site dated around 47.000 B.P. by thermoluminescence. The archaeological level, fossilized by loess, revealed a rich industry based on the ... [more ▼]

Les Bossats, near Ormesson, is a newly discovered late Mousterian site dated around 47.000 B.P. by thermoluminescence. The archaeological level, fossilized by loess, revealed a rich industry based on the discoide mode, associated with numerous fragments of red iron-rich rocks. The geological sources were identified by means of SEM-EDX, XRD, Raman spectroscopy, PIXE and by petrographical observation of thin sections. The past mechanical and morphological modifications of the pigment blocks were characterized by macro-photography, microscopy and topographical micro- measures of the used surfaces. It was thus possible to demonstrate that the colouring materials were selected in the neighbouring by the Neanderthals. Fourteen blocks and fragments show different use wears such as facets, grooves and scars. The Neanderthals implemented numerous techniques in order to produce preferentially red powder. The archaeological remains reveal an organized and versatile processing sequence of red ferruginous materials. During the late Mousterian a great phenomenon in expansion in western Europe is remarkable by the much wider exploitation of mineral red and black materials corresponding to technical modifications and divers utilizations under development. [less ▲]

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See detailAn open-air site from the recent Middle Palaeolithic in the Paris Basin (France): Les Bossats at Ormesson (Seine-et-Marne).
Bodu, Pierre; Lacarrière, Jessica; Leroyer, Mathieu et al

Conference (2012, November)

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See detailLate Mousterian red pigment processing in Les Bossats, Seine-et-Marne (France)
Salomon, Hélène ULg; Bodu, Pierre; Geurten, Stéphanie

Conference (2012, June 01)

Les Bossats, near Ormesson, is a newly discovered late mousterian site dated around 47.000 B.P. by thermoluminescence. The archaeological level, fossilized by loess, revealed a rich industry based on the ... [more ▼]

Les Bossats, near Ormesson, is a newly discovered late mousterian site dated around 47.000 B.P. by thermoluminescence. The archaeological level, fossilized by loess, revealed a rich industry based on the discoide mode, associated with numerous fragments of red pigment rocks. The geological sources were identified by means of SEM-EDX, XRD, FT-IR, PIXE and by petrographical observation of thin sections. The past mechanical and morphological modifications of the pigment blocks were characterized by macro-photography, microscopy and topographical micro-measures of the used surfaces. It was thus possible to demonstrate that the colouring materials were brought to the site by the Neanderthals and the supply in raw material was local. Eleven blocks show different use marks such as facets, grooves and scars. The colouring materials employed by the Neanderthals on the camp site were used by different process (scraping, rubbing, crushing and grinding) in order to obtain red powder. The archaeological remains reveal an organized proceeding sequence of red pigment. During the late Mousterian a great phenomenon in expansion in western Europe is remarkable by the much wider exploitation of mineral red and black pigments corresponding to technical modifications and divers utilizations under development. As such, it questions our perception of the humanity of Neanderthal. Did he produced symbol by using pigments or were these minerals part of the economy of subsistence? [less ▲]

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