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2020-06-11 20:30:34   •   ID: 2184

Le pays d'Othe: No Land for Scientific Prehistory

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
The Pays d'Othe is located between the "chalky Champagne" and the "humid Champagne" on a chalky ground covered by sands formed from flint debris in N/E-France.

Today the Othe-plateau is characterized by a marked uneven surface, mainly the consequence of agricultural activities and subsequent Erosion.

The countryside is crisscrossed by valleys, ravines and potholes (Figure 4: Wikimedia Commons).

Consequently the rough charm of the Othe Plateau is rather unknown even for French Tourists, which are more attracted by the Burgundy and southern Champagne.

The artifact of this post is a large, 10 cm long, Levallois Flake (Figures 1-3), without further secondary retouches. it exhibits a faceted platform (Figure 4) and was found at the Beginning of the 20th century by a colleague of mine, the Dr. Bargues from Paris.

In my private collection several large Levallois Flakes made by the "débitage Levallois à un éclat préférentiel" and products of different recurrent Levallois methods (sensu Boeda) are present from the Othe region.

They are, if not patinated, razor sharp cutting instruments, and if secondary retouched, mostly reworked to side-scrapers, a major component of a local "Scraper rich Mousterian". These ensembles are most probably from the last Glacial, in analogy to the Yonne Valley, especially from the "Pléniglaciaire inférieur" (MIS4).

The piece of this post comes from the department of Aube-see here: 2183 and more precisely from the Forest of Othe.

Compared to other parts of the Aube Department, this area has never been the subject of systematic research concerning the periods of the Early and Middle Paleolithic.

The development of stratified sites was prevented by the absence of Abris, a sufficient loess coverage and stratified colluvial formations.

In contrast to the Archeological explorations by INRAP in the Yonne region, the Orthe artifacts were found during walking surveys (Boëda and Mazière 1989).

Figure 4
On the other hand, Le pays d'Othe is rich in easy to find surface scatters, which already draw the attention of Collectors to Paleolithic and Neolithic material, during the 19th century. (Boëda E., Mazière G.1989).

The region therefore remains more interesting for Amateurs than for serious Scientists - two different scenes- see- 2106 .

Suggested Reading: Pré et Protohistoire de l'Aube. Musée de Nogent-sur-Seine, 24 juin - 15 octobre 1989. CATALOGUE D'EXPOSITION; 1989., 1989