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2021-07-08 13:31:41   •   ID: 2258

A Levallois Point from the the Ruquier Quarry at Oissel

Figure 1
This is a classic Levallois Point from the the Ruquier Quarry at Oissel, a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in the Normandy region in northern France near the important site of Saint-Pierre-lès-Elbeuf-see here: 1595

Figure 1 shows the dorsal view, Figure 2 the ventral side and Figure 3 the facetted base of the Point.

In his classic work: "Les limons quaternaires du Bassin de la Seine"; François Bordes gave an important account about the many gravel quarries and their Quaternary stratigraphy in the Oisell area.

Near Oisell, in the commune of Grand-Couronne, the brickworks of Petit-Essart yielded several series that can be linked to a Late Acheulean and to a Mousterian of Acheulean tradition.

In particular, several brickyards opened in Oissel from 1869 onwards have yielded abundant material allowing important stratigraphic surveys.

These were located on the southeast-facing hillside overlooking Oissel, at an altitude of 67-70 m. The deepest excavation reached 22 m.

Bordes noted the succession of ten silty layers separated by eight levels of rubble.

Figure 2
The artifacts were found to be in different condition: - rolled, with some traces of gelifraction, - lustrous, - and fresh. This last series let Bordes believe that a part of the material was little or not disturbed.

The whole ensemble constituted one of the largest series collected in Haute-Normandie since the end of the 19th century. Bordes as a child of his time, recognized the existence of "Mindelian, Rissian and Würmian loess" largely disturbed by phases of erosion and solifluction.

Bordes highlighted an Upper Acheulean of Micoquian facies-see 1532 and a typical Mousterian at the Ruquier quarry, the latter at the the base of the recent loess I (Most Probably MIS 5).

His typological analysis showed that "the Levallois typological index is very high: 61.9, which classifies this industry in the Mousterian of Levalloisian facies. The scraper index is relatively high: 12.8, The "Charentian" index is 2.5, which is low. The total Acheulean index is poor, 3.1, as well as the back knife index, 2.9. The biface index is extremely low: 0.2. Indeed, only one biface was present".

Figure 3
Recently, the "Mare d'Oisse" has yielded a series of 5561 objects that also can be linked to a typical Mousterian and have been excavated with modern methods (see attached file), although absolute dates are not available.

This industry is characterized by strong Levallois component, with full mastery of a Non-Levallois Blade production.

The occupation corresponds mainly to a workshop on an extraction site; it may have been related to the nearby typical Mousterian of the Ruquier quarry site, on the same contiguous area.

Levallois Cores represent nearly 83% of the whole ensemble. The whole spectrum from lineal, recurrent (unidirectional, bidirectional, centripetal) and laminar techniques is present. On the other hand, several cores with prismatic appearance "à débitage semi-tournant" were qualified as Upper Paleolithic type.

In this respect the site is similar to Mousterian Ensembles with a strong laminar component from MIS5 in Northern Europe, first described at Seclin and later also recognized at Wallertheim D, Saint-Germain-des-Vaux, Tönchesberg 2B and Riencourt-lès-Bapaume for example. Geologically and in concordance with Bordes suggestions, the "Mare d'Oisse" site belongs to the end of MIS5 around 80-70 k.a. BP- see 1522

Suggested Reading:

Figure 3
Francois Bordes, Les limons quaternaires du Bassin de la Seine. Stratigraphie et archéologie paléolithique; 1955.

Figure 4 displays page 152 from my own example of Bordes publication with Levallois Points- retouched and unretouched among a typical Scraper rich Levallois-Mousterian ensemble.

Interestingly typical blades are also shown, but not described in the text-I suggest because Bordes could not imagine a "blade Mousterian".

Aude Coudenneau: Éléments triangulaires et armes de chasse au Paléolithique moyen. Free via