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2016-06-17 03:52:55   •   ID: 1426

Scraper from the Quina Type Site

Figure 1
This is a typical middle sized Scraper from the La Quina type site (9 cm long; the picture wade courteously made available by J.V.) made from a thick cortical flake.

The presence of cortex directly opposite the cutting edge and / or over wider parts of the surface is a common feature in all Quina ensembles both in the Charente / Perigord and the Rhone valley.

Actually it remains impossible to determine whether this was a functional characteristic (such as to provide for an easier grip) or simply due to a lack of interest in the removal of cortex in areas of the tool that were functionally non important.

I have allready emphasized during an earlier post, that in the Charente, there is merely no other “Mousterian” during the last glacial. It seems that the Quina strategy occurred widely indepently of raw material supply, duration of stay, the function of the sites in the Charente and the mobility patters of Middle Paleolithic groups in this region-see: 1469

La Quina is located along the Voultron valley, a tributary to the river Dronne, in the Charente region of south-western France, approximately 5 km from the village of Villebois-Lavalette.

The area around La Quina is characterized by limestone cliffs cut by the Voultron River which still flows through the area today and shallow rockshelters resulting from differential weathering of the limestone.

The site itself has been known since 1872. A first publication by Chauvet appeared in 1882. Systematic excavations were performed between 1905 and 1936 by the physician Dr. Henri Martin, followed by his daughter Germaine Henri-Martin, who continued excavation from 1953 until 1972. After her death in 1975, the site became the property of the Musée des Antiquités Nationales.

Renewed excavations were conducted during the 1980ies by Debenath and Jelinek, who verified the stratigraphy, tried to reconstruct operational sequences and conducted a dating program.

The primary site (Station Amont) originally consisted of an accumulation of deposits of more than seven meters, which extended for approximately 100 meters at the base of a limestone cliff.

Here an older middle Paleolithic, which is thought to be the mixture of several industries is followed by the classical Quina- Mousterian (Charentian) topped by a denticulated Mousterian and a MTA.

This sequence has been allready described by Henri Martin. The fragmentary remains of over 25 Neanderthals are known from the Charentian levels.

In addition, other sediments some 200 meters to the southwest comprise the Station Aval. This site contained a sequence of Mousterian, Châtelperronian, and a very fine Aurignacian.

The well preserved fauna is dominated primarily by reindeer. In this way, the site is similar to Roc de Marsal, Pradelles/Marillac, Combe-Grenal in having reindeer dominated faunal assemblages associated with Quina Mousterian lithic assemblages.

This association suggests that the Quina Mousterian occurred in cold, dry, open, arctic environments, likely during OIS 4 or the colder phases of OIS 3 and are about 60 k.a. old. The Quina ensemble is chacterized by the absence of Levallois technology and dominated by single side-scrapers and transverse scrapers with typical Quina type, stepped retouch.

There are limaces, and large transversal scrapers up to 20 cm long with invasive retouches, called by Henri Martin: hachoirs. Many of them are made on bifacial blanks, although their frequency may be exagerated by a selection bias from older collections.

The so called Bola stones, while not abundant, are well known from other sites of the Quina Mousterian and are present in the Quina levels at Combe-Grenal and Chez-Pinaud Jonzac.

Based on the probable traces of impact on their most prominent points, their size and their weight, it seems likely that they may have served as hammerstones. The Quina bone assemblage is notable for bone retouchoirs, first noticed and described by Dr. Henri Martin.

These have been interpreted as expedient tools used for retouching or resharpening stone tool edges, similar tools are known from other Quina ensembles (Roc de Marsal, Chez-Pinaud and Jonzac). It is highly interesting to find such a characteristic combination of Quina lithic ensembles, retoucheures and "Bola stones" during a limited time window and over a limited region.

Suggested Reading:

Much of the older literature can be found at: Persée and the always very readable

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