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2014-06-01 10:11:30   •   ID: 1164

High Quality Bergerac flint during the Upper Paleolithic in S/W-France

Figure 1
Since the 1980ies, Studies on the origin of lithic raw materials (Sourcing) have become increasingly important in Paleolithic Archaeology.

The importance of sourcing results from the possibility of establishing links between group territory management and their Interaction with other Groups.

Figure 1 , 2 and 3 display several Upper Paleolithic surface findings from the Bergerac vicinity - all made of the characteristic local fine grained Bergeracois banded chert.

In Figure 1 we notice from left to right: 1: a Double End-Scraper;  2: a Burin with a basal notch; 3: an End-Scraper-Burin; 4: a Projectile Point / atypical Laugerie Point; 5: a double End-Scraper [2: from Limeul / Magdalenian; other items: Le Porget and Corbiac / from the Aurignacian, Gravettian and Magdalenian].

Figure 2
A large number of lithic raw material surveys has been conducted in South- Western France over the last 40 years. Bergerac chert from spatially localized deposits was exploited extensively by paleolithic groups in the region since the Acheulian.

Highly coloured and banded Bergerac flint is of Maastrichtian origin and usually found in the form of larger nodules, especially suited for the production of handaxes and longer blades. During the Middle Paleolithic, Bergerac chert is found as far away as 100 km from the source (Les Fieux, Le Plane, Le Mas-Viel) - see 2263 .

During the Upper Paleolithic  Bergerac chert was distributed as far as 330 km to the south-east (Regismont le Haut), 260 km to the south-west (Isturitz) and 255 km to the north (Les Roches).

At the Abri Pataud  in Les Eyzies mainly local lithic raw materials were used during the Aurignacian, while the importance of of Bergerac chert increased in the Gravettian assemblages of this site.

This may reflect the gradual evolution of new mobility patterns and / or the emergence of new networks during the upper paleolithic in the Vezere valley. Figure 2 shows a Burin on truncation and a fragment of a large Gravette Point from the early Gravettian layers at Abri Pataud in Les Eyzies.

Figure 3
Another nice example (Figure 3) comes from the Roc de Combe-Capelle a multilayered Paleolithic site situated in the Couze valley in the Perigord region of Southern France.

It was collected by D. Peyrony from the "Upper Perigordien" (Gravettian) Levels. While most of the raw material at this site is of local origin-this burin shows the typical characteristics of a source in the Bergeracois.

Suggested Reading:

B. Adams and B.S. Blades, eds., Lithic Materials and Paleolithic Societies, Wiley-Blackwell, 1994.

B.S. Blades, Aurignacian Lithic Economy: Ecological Perspectives From Southwestern France (Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology)