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2017-11-30 19:49:56   •   ID: 1689

La Micoque and the Early Implementation of Humans in the Perigord Noir

Figure 1
The site of La Micoque is situated at the foot of a limestone cliff near the bank of the river Manaurie. The deposits of the site are composed of debris and fluvial sediments. La Micoque was discovered in 1895 and subsequently excavated by Chauvet and Rivière (1896), Capitan (1896) and Harlé (1897).

The site early became famous mostly because of its very special and fine hand axes. After Otto Hauser rented the place in 1907, disastrous large scaled diggings took place, which had similarities to the exploitation of a gold mine. The artefacts of the upper layers were dispersed in to collections all over Europe and the US.

After Hausers expulsion from France at the beginning at WW1 the site was plundered by numerous diggers until Denis Peyrony bought it in 1929 for the French state.

Figure 2
At this time the layer with the hand axes (Geological Layer N, which included Archaeological layer 6) was allready completely depleted.

The middle and lower layers, from the Middle Pleistocene, first recognized by Peyrony when he excavated the site in 1906 during two campaigns of Hauser, are the object of intensive research until today.

The age of Layer N will possibly remain unknown forever. After the remaining strata have been consistently  dated to a glacial Circle at 250-300 k.a. BP (MIS 10) by U-series and ESR, there is a strong possibility that they are much older than traditionally suggested. Beside the famous handaxes, this ensembe consistes of many scrapers, often with Quina retouche and Mousterian Points.

The most important flaking technique was an opportunistic production of blanks well suited for working on relativly small chert cobbles. The two artefacts of the post, a Mousterian Point and a Point with a drill-like distal end, come from the early collection of E. Riviere and are from layer N.

Suggested reading:

La Micoque in Don's Map, which gives you a very fine and detailed introduction for La Micoque

And for those, who read in German, a Dissertation by Gaëlle Rosendahl about the upper strata at the site- see attached files

A condensed paper by Gaëlle Rosendahl in French- see attached files