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2017-06-25 17:11:35   •   ID: 1618

Flechettes of the Gravettian technocomplex

Figure 1
This is a Flechette from the Abri Pataud / Les Eyzies, originally defined at the  the la Gravette site from the lower "Perigordian" strata, excavated during the early 20th century.

Flechettes are leaf-shaped points characterized by short, semi-abrupt retouch, sometimes inverse, at one or both extremities of the blade blank, extending sometimes along one or both margins. This tool was found frequently associated with other fossil-directeurs of the Gravettian, including Font Robert points and Noailles burins.

However, these associations are often from sites with a poorly defined stratigraphic context because the majority of excavations of the Gravettian deposits in the greater Aquitaine took place between 1890 and 1940 (Pair non Pair, Oreille d'Enfer; Grotte de la Crouzade, Abri Vignaud, La grotte de « chez Serre » at  Noailles,  Mas Nègre, Puyjarrige).

During the last decades, it became clear that especially early Gravettian deposits are often characterized by the presence of flechettes (La Vigne Brun, Abri Pataud, Brillenhöhle, Geißenklösterle, Hohle Fels), but flechettes are rarely a major component of the ensembles, with the exception at the lower Gravettian levels at the type site of la Gravette (the “Bayacian”) and the Aggsbach site in Lower Austria.

At La Gravette, according to Lacorre, an Aurignacian is followed by the “Bayacian”, with the flechettes being the only projectiles, followed by two Gravettian strata with no flechettes but a lot of Gravette-points of all sizes.  The originality of the “Bayacian” has long been questioned by the Archaeological community (Sonneville-Bordes 1958; Delporte 1972; Rigaud 1988).

A new technological study has now demonstrated the integrity of this level, and shown a specific and unique chaine opératoire for the production of flechettes at the type-site. The situation differs for the Gravettian deposits at La Vigne Brun (Pesesse 2020).

Here the flechettes are associated with Gravette-points and the production of both projectiles is part of a continuum.

Provenience: Collection Bigot