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2017-07-15 11:27:03   •   ID: 1626

Solutrean Willow leaf points / Feuille de Saule from Fourneau du Diable

Figure 1
This is a Willow Leaf point from the final Solutrean, found during the late 19th century at Fourneau du Diable.

Willow leaf points / Feuilles de Saule are slim parallel sided implements made from blade blanks by sophisticated pressure flaking with rounded ends, often retouched on one side only.

The example here shows a rare subtype with retouches on both sides. In contrast to the contemporaneous  upper Solutrean shouldered points /pointes à cran, they were certainly not used as projectiles.

Rare microtraceological evidence may indicate their use as knifes.

Fourneau du Diable is a Rock Shelter open to the south at the junction of the Moneries and Dronne valley (right bank) between Brantome and Bourdeilles.

Figure 2
The site consists of two terraces in a line of cliffs, named upper and lower terrace. The site was first recognized as early as 1863 and later excavated by D. Peyrony, who established the gross stratigraphy for the upper and lower terasse and published his results in 1932.

On the lower terrace a Gravettian with (Micro)-Gravettes, Elements tronquees and Noailles Burins was found below a Solutrean with leaf points and some Solutrean shouldered points.

The Solutrean of the upper terrace (3 layers) was more abundant with several hundred samples of extremely fine made shouldered points and rare Feuilles de Saule, concentrated in the upper levels.

While in the lower two layers, classical leaf points (some of them were as long as 22 cm) were also present, while they were absent in the upper layer. 

The fauna was characterised by the predominance of reindeer, followed by horses and aurochs. The patterns of Reindeer and Horse procurement at Fourneau du Diable show that the carcasses  were probably brought as complete to the site.

Figure 3
The Archaeological succession is closed by a Upper Magdalenian, sometimes in direct contact with the third Solutrean layer with a thickness of only 5 cm.

The Solutrean left several traces of parietal art. The most remarkable features are sculptures in bas-relief, the most prominent are those at Fourneau du Diable and at the late Solutrean at Le Roc de Sers, Charente.

Fig. 3 shows is the famous Aurochs bas-relief from Fourneau-du-Diable. This file is made available from Wikipedia under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain.

Suggested Reading:

Peyrony D., 1932: The prehistoric sites of Bourdeilles (Dordogne), Archives of Human Paleontology Institute, 13 | 2001, n. 10, Paris, Masson, 98 p.

Provenance: Collection Bigot (FR)