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2019-05-01 09:34:08   •   ID: 2096

The Mousterian of the Swiss Jura

Figure 1
This is a elegant elongated Mousterian Point made from silex de Pleigne, Löwenburg ( Swiss Jura). It is very similar to another point from this site- see: http://archeofacts.ch/archeoa16/node/16

During the Middle Palaeolithic, the Jura Mountains constituted a pronounced barrier for human movements. Only the north-eastern and south-western extremities of the arc-shaped mountain chain were regularly frequented.

However, most of the caves and rock-shelters in these two zones are situated at low altitudes, below 500 m ; sites located at higher positions are rare. Open air sites like Löwenburg, known since the 1960ies are an exception.

Many new Mousterian sites were detected by Motorway construction in the Ajoie region. Most of the sites are situated in the Allaine Valley near to the flint outcrops.

Figure 2
The Ajoie is a historic region roughly coinciding with Porrentruy District in the canton of Jura in northwestern Switzerland.

The Allaine (French: l'Allaine (f), in its lower course l'Allan (m)) is a 65 km long river in northwestern Switzerland and eastern France. Its source is above the village Charmoille, in the Swiss Jura mountains.

It is a right tributary of the Doubs, which it joins a few km downstream from Montbéliard, where it takes the Savoureuse with it, a river with its sources in the southern Vosges.

Unfortunately the material found in the Ajoie region is most often in a secondary position. Anyhow, the oldest occupations seem come from MIS 5e/5d (Pré Monsieur-Ensemble A and Noir Bois-Niveau lower Mousterian), followed by ensembles from the beginning of MIS 3 (« niveau moustérien supérieur » at Noir Bois and other localities. A late phase may be present at the end of MIS 3 (the dolines de Vâ Tche Tchâ à Courtedoux and à Saint-Brais).

The operational sequences of these sites, including the large multilayered Cotencher site further South/West are diversified. There is no indication of a real Quina System, but the technique is predominantly recurrent centripetal Levallois, sometimes with a strong discoid element and a marginal blade production.

Scrapers are the most common tool class. Some researchers use the retouched tool component ("Bogenspitzen",specific subclasses of scrapers) to reconstruct a common tradition to the Rhineland sites (Wallertheim, Balve IV), while earlier work suggested connections with the "Charentien oriental" of S/E-France and the Middle Rhone valley, focusing on other tools (especially on Racloirs à dos aminci)- see here 1648 and here 1455

I suggest that such interpretations are heavily biased towards a typological approach.....