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2017-04-08 16:07:02   •   ID: 1595

Handaxe from St-Pierre-les-Elbeuf

Figure 1
Paleolithic tools from St-Pierre-les-Elbeuf have been collected since the 1880ies. This large biface (23 cm long) is said to come from the “basis” of the Elbeuf sequence, but such a declaration has to be handled with care. Anyhow Older Loess deposits (older than the last glacial) are well developed in this region.

The St-Pierre-les-Elbeuf pedostratigraphy in the Lower Seine valley includes four loess and four fully developed interglacial leached brown soils (Elbeuf I, II, III and IV) separated by loess and sandy loess.

Elbeuf IV has been allocated by several lines of evidence to MIS 11, especially on the basis of its malacological content and stratigraphic position. A calcareous tufa is present at the top of the Elbeuf IV soil.  The molluscan fauna from this tufa indicates a forest interglacial environment. It is similar to the faunas of the Vernon (between Rouen and Paris) and the La Celle tufa.

The Elbeuf IV (MIS 11) complex has been dated to 400 k.a. in agreement with the stratigraphy and new OSL dates.

Above the tufa, at the base of a loess accumulation (MIS 10), Large Acheulean implements like the one shown here, including some very sophisticated Cordiformes, have been discovered. The last excavations proved that these implements were produced at the site and not imported. This level is currently the oldest known human settlement in the Normandy. This is considerably later than the Acheulian in the Somme Valley with oldest dates from MIS 15 -see- 1306

There are now also definitive radiometric dates for Elbeuf I, II and III. Elbeuf I and its archeological content can securely dated to MIS 5e (120 k.a.), Elbeuf II to MIS 7 (220 k.a.) and Elbeuf III to MIS 9 at 320 k.a.