CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Site or a rock shelter near the village of Les Eyzies (Dordogne) in the Vézère valley of southwestern France. It has a very rich Upper Palaeolithicsequence of more than 14 main culture layers with radiocarbon dates from c 32,500 BC, beginning with Aurignacian deposits containing saucerlike living hollows with central hearths. The Aurignacian levels are followed by Perigordian and Proto-Magdalenian and probably Proto-Solutrean levels. Art objects have been found and a skeleton in a top layer. The various kinds of hearths and living areas may suggest different social groups inhabiting the area.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A series of caves southeast of Paris with Upper Palaeolithic art, including the Grotte du Cheval, Grotte del Hyene, and Grotte du Renne are archaeologically the most important. The early occupation levels are of the Riss period with Mousterian (with Neanderthal remains), Chatel-Perronian, Aurignacian, later Perigordian levels.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Aurignac (adj) CATEGORY: culture; chronology DEFINITION: A series of Upper Palaeolithic cultures in Europe that existed from about 35,000 to 20,000 years (dates also given as 38,000-22,000 years) ago. They were characterized by their use of stone (flint) and bone tools, refinement of those tools, and the development of sculpture and cave painting. The culture is named for the type site Aurignac, in southern France, where such artifacts were discovered. In France it is stratified between the Châtelperronian and the Gravettian (and before the Solutrean and the Magdalenian), but industries of Aurignacian type are also found eastwards to the Balkans, Palestine, Iran, and Afghanistan. At Abri Pataud there is a radiocarbon date of pre-31,000 BC for the Aurignacian, but there are possibly earlier occurrences in central and southeast Europe (Istállóskö in Hungary, Bacho Kiro in Bulgaria). There is still considerable dispute about the extent to which the Aurignacian is contemporary with the cultures of the Perigordian group in southwest France. The sites are often in deep, sheltered valleys. Split-based bone points, carinates (steep-end scrapers), and Aurignac blades (with heavy marginalretouch) are typical of Aurignacian. Aurignacian is also important as the most distinctive and abundantly represented of the early Upper Palaeolithic groups.
Capsian and Capsian Neolithic
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Capsian industry CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A Mesolithic/Stone Age (8000 BC-2700 BC) cultural complex prominent in inland northern Africa near the present border between Tunisia and Algeria. Its shell midden sites are in the area of the great salt lakes of what is now southern Tunisia, the type site being Jabal al-Maqta'. The tool kit of the Capsian is a classic example of the industries of the late Würm Glacial Period and it is apparently related to the Gravettianstage of Europe's Perigordian industry (which dates from about 17,000 years ago). However, it occurs in Neothermal (postglacial) times and, like its predecessor, the Ibero-Maurusian industry (Oranianindustry), the Capsian was a microlithic tool complex. It differed from the Ibero-Maurusian, however, in having a far more varied tool kit with large backed blades, scrapers, backed bladelets, microburins, and burins in its earlier phase and a gradual development of geometric microliths later. These became its leading feature by the 6th millennium BC. Shortly after 5000 BC, pottery and domesticated animals were introduced. Some North African rock paintings are attributed to people of the Capsian industry. The Capsian Neolithic, with pointed-basepottery and a stoneindustry, lasted from c 6200-5300 BP, in the Atlas Mountains of Algeria and the northern Sahara. The name derives from Capsa, the Latin form of Gafsa, a town in south central Tunisia where such artifacts were first discovered. Hunting and snail-collecting seem to have formed the basis of the economy. Human remains from Capsian sites are mostly of Mechta-Afalou type.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Chatelperonian, Chatelperron, Chatelperronian, Lower Périgordian; formerly Lower Aurignacian CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: An Upper Palaeolithicculture and earlier stage of the Perigordian, concentrated in the Périgord region of France but believed to have originated in southwestern Asia. It is distinguished from contemporary stone tool culture complexes by the presence of curved-backed knives (knives sharpened both on the cutting edge and the back). It is the earliest known bladeculture. The Châtelperronian has radiocarbon dates of 31,690 BC ? 250 and 31,550 ? 400 at Grotte du Renne (Arcysur-Cure, Yonne), but it may have started as early as 35-34,000. This cave siteculture is also characterized by bone tools and weapons (made of ivory or reindeerantler) and flint knives.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A Palaeolithic cave site of northern Spain with seven Mousterian levels, a lower Perigordian layer dated to 36,350 bp, and Aurignacian levels with dwellings and burials. It was one of the first Spanish sites excavated by scientific methods.
Fourneau du Diable
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A cave in the northern part of the Dordogne, southwest France, occupied during the Upper Palaeolithic, with Perigordian, Solutrian and Magdalenian deposits. It is one of only two sites where Solutrian art is well-exemplified.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Noailles burin CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The Grotte de Noailles, close to Brive, Corrèze, southwest France, which has given its name to a small multiple burin -- an Upper Palaeolithicflaketool retouched to give several chisellike edges. The Noaillesburin distinguishes a facies of the Upper Perigordian or Noaillian, dating to c 27,000 bp.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Perigordian CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A French classification for the Upper Palaeolithictradition of western Europe, from its identification with the Perigord region of southern France. The flintindustrysequence begins with the Chatelperronian (or Early Périgordian) from which, according to some, developed the first of the 'Upper Périgordian' industries (Gravettian, or Périgordian IV). The later stages are represented by industries with Font Robert points and Noailles burins, and finally by the Proto-Magdalenian. The Périgordian tradition comes to an end in western Europe with the intrusion of a new Solutreanstyle of flintwork. No known site has a complete and unbroken 'Périgordian' sequence, and in many caves the Lower and Upper 'Périgordian' levels are separated by strata of the intrusiveAurignacianindustry, which must represent a break of several thousand years. The French scheme requires the Périgordian and Aurignacian people to have lived side by side with each other for millennia without any apparent contact between them. In the 1930s, Denis Peyrony advocated the view that the Aurignacian or early Upper Palaeolithic in France consisted of a true Aurignacian and a separate line of cultures, the Perigordian, beginning before the Aurignacian but co-existing alongside it down the time of the Solutrean. It is not known what kind of man was responsible for the Perigordian, but it is usually assumed that it was Cro-Magnon man, at least in the latter part. A Neanderthal-like skull has been found with the early Perigordian, or Chatelperronian. Art is found in a few later Perigordian contexts. The Perigordian scheme is not now widely accepted as it is based on artifact typology rather than stratigraphic evidence.
Peyrony, Denis (1869-1954)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: French prehistorian who discovered the cave art at Font de Gaume, Bernifal, and Teyjat and excavated at La Ferassie and Laugerie Haute. He proposed the Perigordian system and founded the prehistorymuseum of Les Eyzies. The La Ferassie skeletons are hominid fossils found in a rock shelter gravesite north of Bugue, Dordogne, Fr., by R. Capitan and D. Peyrony between 1909-1921, but not fully reported until 1934. The fossils of La Ferassie are estimated to date from about 60,000 years ago and are associated with the Mousterian stone tool industry.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Solutrian CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A culture of the Upper Paleolithic period in western Europe, from about 19,000 BC, following the Perigordian and Aurignacian; characterized by the use of projectile points, especially the laurel-leaf blade. From Solutré, a site in central France, it was a short-lived style of toolmaking with particularly fine workmanship. The Solutreanindustry, like those of other late Paleolithic big-game hunters, contained a variety of tools such as burins, scrapers, and borers; but blades that were formed in the shape of laurel or willow leaves and shouldered points are the implements that distinguish the Solutrean. It preceded the Magdalenian in parts of France and Spain. At Laugerie-Haute, unifacially chipped leaf-shaped points in the Early Solutrean show the gradual development of bifacial working, a stage dated c 19,000-18,000 BC. The Middle phase is characterized by fine large bifacial points and by the introduction of pressure flaking. In the Later Solutrean, this technique was used to produce slim leaf-shaped projectiles and small single-shouldered points. In southeast Spain this final stage also has barbed and tanged arrowheads. The laurel leaves" were typical of Middle Solutrean and "willow leaves" (shouldered points) were from the Later Solutrean. The boneneedle with an eye was invented in this period. Many decorated caves in France can be assigned to this period."
CATEGORY: chronology; culture DEFINITION: The final part of the Paleolithicperiod, from about 40,000 years ago to about 10,000 years ago. It was characterized by the development of bladed stone tools and regional stone-tool industries (e.g. Perigordian, Aurignacian, Solutrean, and Magdalenian of Europe), the hunting of large herd animals, human burials, the appearance of cave paintings and other art forms, and during which modern humans (Cro-Magnon man) replaced the Neanderthals. There were also localized industries in the Old World and the oldest known cultures of the New World. Upper Paleolithic industries exhibit greater complexity, specialization, and variety of tool types and distinctive regional artistic traditions emerged. This includes small sculptures (clay and stone figurines, ivory carvings), monumental paintings, incised designs, and reliefs on the walls of caves.