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2021-08-28 07:05:00   •   ID: 2263

A Mousterian Point from Bergerac Flint from Lagarrigue (Lot-et-Garonne).

Figure 1
Lagarrigue is a commune in the Lot-et-Garonne department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in north-central France, currently with a population of c 270 Inhabitants. It is situated about 80 km South of Bergerac (Dordogne).

The region is already known from the literature by several Mousterian artifacts (Brun-Ricalens, 1988 and 1993).

The finding of a single Paleolithic tool is rather typical for the Middle Paleolithic record in the Lot-et-Garonne department, which is rather poor and confined to single stone artifacts, small surface scatters of Mousterian Handaxes and scrapers and occasionally other Middle and Upper Paleolithic tools.

Compared to the Dordogne region, one wonders why paleolithic finds are so rare in the Lot-et-Garonne department.

Figure 2
Beside a bias by different intensity of research of the two adjacent regions, differences in glacial geomorphology, differences in microclimatic conditions and in post-depositional erosion may be of importance, but there are no studies on these issues at present.

Maybe one of my readers has some answers and could share them with my audience via:

One interesting Upper Paleolithic site, although without a reliable stratigraphy is the Aurignacian assemblage from the surface site of Toulousète, ca 50 km west from Lagarrigue.

A techno-typological analysis about the Aurignacian ensemble has already published by Brun-Ricalens in 1993.

Interestingly, some raw material came from the Bergeracois, indicating connections to the Perigord. Some Middle Paleolithic Bifaces from this site are also known.

Figure 3
Anyhow, the adjacent Lot Department is much more rich in important Paleolithic findings and intact sites.

The most important site in the Lot-region remains le Roc de Combe (Discoid-Denticulated Mousterian, Châtelperronian, Aurignacian I, Gravettian).

This multilayered site, together with Le Piage locality (sparse Mousterian, followed by Châtelperronian, four Aurignacian levels - a rare finding in S/W-France (!), Solutrean, early Magdalenian / Badegoulian), which is also situated in the Lot Departement, were once the crown witnesses for an inter-stratification of the Châtelperronian and Aurignacian- a theory that has been convincingly refuted in the meantime, by a new reading of the taphonomic history of the two key-localities, indicating severe postdepositional mixing (Zilhão & d’Errico 1999, Zilhão 2006, 2007, 2009).

Also situated in the Lot region, the Pech Merle cave, famous for its mainly Gravettian Paleolithic paintings is worth noting. The Panel of the famous Dotted Horses of Pech Merle Cave has been assigned to five subsequent phases (Lorblanchet, 2010).

Figure 4
One of the horses is found under a black hand stencil; a sample from this horse was dated to 24,6±0,4 k.a.BP (Lorblanchet et al., 1995). Anyhow, some of the paintings and engravings may date to the Magdalenian ca 16 k.a. BP.

But back to the artifact of this post: A nine cm long and flat Mousterian point from Lagarrigue. In short, Mousterian Points are retouched triangular artifacts made from different blanks and by different techniques. For me this example is one of the Middle Paleolithic Highlights from my personal collection.

Figure 1-6: Different projections of the dorsal side. Figure 7: view of the Ventral side of the tool. The artifact was made from the very typical Maastrichian banded Bergeracois Flint - see 1164 and Figure 3 of this post.

This excellent, homogeneous and easy to knap raw material has been confirmed at several localities in the region, although always in rather low numbers (< 10%). One example is the Middle Palaeolithic of Roc de Combe (M.L. Martinez et al. 2014).

Figure 5
Usually Neanderthals imported precious raw materials, either as cores or finished tools over max 120 km from the source region.

My example has therefore traveled a rather long distance to the Region where it was finally lost and found during the 1930ies, at the outermost limits of the raw-material transport, known from the S/W-European Neanderthals.

The Mousterian Point was made from a Triangular Blank with a plain platform, as shown in Figure 2,6 and 7. The axis of the piece clearly differs from the axis of flaking. The Flake scar and bulb of percussion are well developed.

The retouching is continuous and light and more or less marginal on all three sides, as shown in Figure 1-6 with the exception of the right side - best seen on Figure 2- where a flat scalar retouch can be noted.

There are no indications for secondary reworking, remodeling or reserving-similar to the Point displayed in the last post-see here: 2261

Figure 6
The original blank of our example may have been produced either by a Pseudolevallois or a classic Levallois approach.

Pseudolevallois Points are one hallmark of a dominant discoid débitage (Boëda 1993) although convergent tools are rarely seen. Furthermore this method produces more asymmetrical blanks, than Points, made by a Levallois approache and usually do not bear the characteristics of a “second generation” blank.

Such Blanks may also be produced by a genuine Levallois technology, if detached from the lateral circumference of an oval core.

The design of the Mousterian Point, shown here, fits more simple, parsimonious and by generally consensual description to a Centripetal Recurrent operational sequence of such a core-see 2257 .

Suggested Reading:

Figure 7
Andre Debenath, Harold L. Dibble, Handbook of Paleolithic Typology, Volume One, Lower and Middle Paleolithic of Europe, 1996

Francois Bordes, Typologie du Paléolithique. Ancien et moyen (= Publications de l’Institut de Préhistoire de l’Université de Bordeaux. Mémoire. 1, , 1991

Francois Bordes, Le Paléolitique en Europe, 1984

Francois Bordes, Le Paléolitique hors d’Europe. 1984

J.J- Shea, Stone Tools in the Paleolithic and Neolithic Near East: A Guide,2014

Surf the Blog:

about the Bergerac Region from the lower Paleolithic to the Neolithic-see here: 1420 , here 1164 , here: 1369 , here: 1017 , here: 2064 , and here 1479