La séquence archéostratigraphique du Cuze de Sainte-Anastasie (Cantal) Variations diachroniques et synchroniques des industries lithiques du Laborien au Mésolithique

Abstract : Abstract: The stratigraphic sequence, archaeological content, and location of Cuze de Sainte-Anastasie (Cantal, France), also known as Cuze de Neussargue, makes the site of key importance for clarifying the cultural identities and mobility strategies of Laborian and Mesolithic hunter-gatherers in the heart of the Massif Central. The re-evaluation of the site's lithic assemblages presented here has the dual goal of integrating technological and economic behaviours of these human groups using different forms of evidence (petro-archaeological, techno-typological, functional) within the context of a general revision of the site's archeostratigraphy. This approach also allows for a better understanding of previous assemblages (the Pierron and Rozoy collections) recovered from the site. The site is situated at 900 metres a.s.l. on the eastern slopes of the Cantalian Massif in the commune of Sainte-Anasta-sie (Cantal) and comprises two small, adjacent rockshelters developed in volcanic tuffs underlying a thick basalt flow forming an imposing 100 metre-high cliff. Discovered in 1945, subsequent excavations by R. Pierron, H. Derville and R. Rey, who concentrated on the southern rockshelter, identified a three-metre-thick succession of archaeological levels spanning the Mesolithic to Middle Ages. Two decades later, J.-G. Rozoy directed small-scale excavation in front of the rockshelter which yielded little archaeological material but better documented the lower levels identified by Pierron. Finally, A. Delpuech and P. Fernandes worked at the site between 1981 and 1985 following clandestine excavations. After disappointing results for the area in front of the southern rockshelter, work on the porch of the northern cave uncovered stratified Mesolithic and Late Palaeolithic occupations. In order to re-evaluate both the sequence and associated lithic material, we assembled a multidisciplinary team as part of a project to produce a site monography. The archeo-stratigraphic revision of the material recovered by A. Delpuech and P. Fernandes was based on the vertical distribution of artefacts combined with connections between objects (i. e. lithic refits) and the projection of piece-plotted diagnostic lithics, resulting in the definition of five archeo-stratigraphic units. This study focuses uniquely on the silicite assemblages from units 2 to 5, as unit 1 is attributable to the Late Neolithic. Although units 2 and 3 are relatively poor in lithic material, they nevertheless can be assigned to two phases of the Mesolithic. On the other hand, units 4 and 5 can be separated into two types of occupations, both attributable to the Laborian. Could the few Malaurie points with truncated bases found at the base of unit 4 during both Delpuech’s (i. e. layer F6) and Pierron’s (level 1) excavations provide evidence for an initial occupation by Early Laborian groups ? While this chronological hypothesis currently remains difficult to back up, functional considerations, on the other hand, highlight two occupation types for these Late Laborian hunter-gatherer groups. Unit 4 stands out by the limited number of microliths (one impact damaged Blanchères point accompanied by four bitruncated trapezes, one of which was used as lateral insert and a second as a point), evidence for butchery activities as well as a raw material provisioning area (litho-space) refocused on regional sources. Underlying unit 5 produced evidence for a second type of occupation characterised by a high number of points (Blanchères and Malaurie types) with impact damage, microlith rough-outs and evidence for core reduction, vegetal materials worked by sawing and oblique scraping as well as an expanded raw material provisioning area (up to 200-250 km from the site). The combination of these elements suggests that the site functioned as a hunting camp focused on repairing arrows (shafts and points). This occupation would have been integrated within a nomadic cycle leading one or several groups to accumulate raw materials from distinct sources (Berry flint and flint from the Aquitaine Basin, regional and local silcretes). Our work presents a new vision of the key Late Palaeolithic and Mesolithic archeo-sequence of Cuze de Sainte-Anastasie in the Massif Central. Moreover, the Cuze de Sainte-Anastasie evidence forms part of an especially large network of lithic raw material circulation. In broader terms, the site provides new evidence for questions concerning mobility strategies and their influence on the variability of occupations at the beginning of the European Preboreal.
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Mathieu Langlais, Vincent Delvigne, Alix Gibaud, Jérémie Jacquier, Thomas Perrin, et al.. La séquence archéostratigraphique du Cuze de Sainte-Anastasie (Cantal) Variations diachroniques et synchroniques des industries lithiques du Laborien au Mésolithique. Bulletin de la Société Préhistorique Française, Société Préhistorique Française, 2018, 115 (3), pp.497-529. ⟨⟩. ⟨hal-01914580⟩



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