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2010-09-20 17:27:29   •   ID: 1011

La Gane Rock Shelter at Groléjac (Dordogne)

Figure 1
Where these artifacts are coming from: Groléjac is a small French village, situated near the Dordogne River. The Abri de la Gane is a large rock shelter which was partially destructed by the construction of a pigeonry during the early 20th century.

The spoil and debris from the abri was dumped directly into a near vineyard, where B. Mortureux picked up a large number of typical Aurignacian artifacts.

Some of these Aurignacian pieces are shown here: carinated scrapers, small bladelet-cores, burins, including one burin busque, pointed blades and a bec.

The material is somewhat exotic, made not only from local flint, but also from imported chalcedony and jasper. If this fact is due to a selection bias is unknown. Despite cores for bladelet production the collection is devoid of bladelets.

La Gane in the scientific discourse: The rock-shelter of the La Gane is of major interest, because it remains one of the last large Paleolithic sites in the department of Dordogne that has never been the subject of systematic research.

The discovery of this deposit in 1926 goes back to Denis Peyrony, who classified La Gane as a Historical Monument on July 19, 1927. Thereafter, no scientific excavation was carried out there before the end of the Second World War.

It was in 1947 that Jacques Labrot, a teacher at the Lycee de Brive (owner of the nearby Roc-de-Combe site, which he excavated in 1966 and 1967 with F. Bordes), who undertook, in collaboration with Camille Arambourg (Professor at the National Museum of Natural History of Paris) very punctual work on the site until the early fifties. In a short communication he described a Mousterian and an Aurignacian layer and some Mesolithic material.

His descendants donated the site to the French state and renewed excavations began in 2012- we will certainly hear more news about this large and hopfully partial intact site during the next years. Figure 2 (Wikimedia Commons) gives you an impression of this enormeous rock-shelter.

Figure 2
First results from the 2012 excavations attested a Châtelperronien, an early Aurignacian (several straight large lamelles Dufour and a fragment of a Split base point) and a late Aurignacian with twisted Dufour lamelles, (sous-type Roc-de-Combe) together with busked burins.

Some straight laminar products evoking the presence of a Gravettian together with the presence of a burin of Noailles are also present.

About fifteen Retouchers made on diaphysis fragments of large herbivores are mainly attributable to the Middle Paleolithic at the site, and were already described for other Mousterian sites in S/W-France.

In this region they became frequent in the later phases of the Middle Paleolithic, particularly, but not exclusively, in association with the Quina type Mousterian.