Éclairage de la tracéologie lithique sur le système techno-économique nomade châtelperronien

Abstract : At the far west of Eurasia, questions persist regarding what factors led anatomically modernhuman groups to succeed Neanderthals during the so called “Middle to Upper PaleolithicTransition.” Technological approaches to lithic analysis, which have until recently been the principal mean used to investigate these questions, have now shown their limitations. Instead, we suggest amore global approach, which examines both techno-economic and settlement systems.Here, we apply this mode of analysis to the Châtelperronian industry, which is found from northernFrance to the Vasco-Cantabrian region of northern Spain and is emblematic of the above-mentionedproblems. Methodologically, we approach this lithic industry by way of use wear analysis andexperimental archaeology. Our aim is to understand both overarching industry strategies and theways in which specific tools were used. We use theoretical models to investigate the relationshipbetween Châtelperronian functional economy and their mode of nomadism, and use traceology to clarify taphonomic problems specific to the Châtelperronian.We observed, using different levels of magnification, that the natural texture of most lithic artifacts appears to be surprisingly well preserved. This leads us to the conclusion that contrary to previous understandings, the perceived dichotomy between “sites à indices de passage” (i.e. coarse grained assemblages) and “sites à dépôt archéologique” (i.e. fine grained assemblages), cannot be the resultof climatic events resulting in different degrees of intersite and/or intrasite erosion. Instead, we suggest that this be the result of different pattern of movement of Châtelperronian groups. Additionally,the results of our use wear analysis suggest that Châtelperronian industrial strategies were the resultof a division in both human and economic terms.We hypothesize that individuals carried lithic blanks to logistical sites (e.g. hunting camps), manufactured so called “Châtelperronian points”, and used these tools as both projectile points and knives for butchery. This type of specialized activity hints at segmentation within a given group. Different type of logistical sites can be associated with different combinations of activities performed at them including the rejuvenation of lithic tools (i.e. flint knapping), the production of food (i.e.butchery), and other craft activities (i.e. hide working and the production of bone and antler tools).In contrast, residential sites were likely home to entire groups. These are rare in the archaeological record, and are always associated with rock shelters. These sites contain lithic and bone tools, as well as personal ornaments, which were manufactured on site. These residential sites can be considered good representations of the Châtelperronian industry as a whole, and likely reflect nearly the entire range of daily activities performed.In sum, Châtelperronian tools were specialized elements of a lithic industry focused on hunting within a system of logistical mobility spanning vast territories. This could reflect a social division of Châtelperronian groups into specialists, with the role of the hunter occupying a primary position. Finally, a comparison of our model of the Châtelperronian to that of other “transitional” cultures of western Eurasia leads us to propose a more restrictive definition of the Upper Paleolithic. We posit that hunting specialization, both in terms of lithic technology and the status of the hunter relativeto other members of the group, represent the only traits which set apart Upper Paleolithic societies.
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Mickaël Baillet. Éclairage de la tracéologie lithique sur le système techno-économique nomade châtelperronien. Archéologie et Préhistoire. Université de Bordeaux, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017BORD0015⟩. ⟨tel-01941401⟩

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