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abri marseilles

L'Abri des Marseilles is often considered
as being part of Laugerie Basse

Laugerie Basse

Laugerie Basse small saws

Laugerie Basse panorama, actually of l'abri des Marseilles.
The two abris are rarely distinguished from each other, as they are almost contiguous.

Photo: digitalfotoarchiv.ch via panoramio

Laugerie Basse is an abri, a rock shelter rather than a cave, on the right bank of the Vézère River, across the bridge from the small tourist town of Les Eyzies. Laugerie Basse is about fifteen metres deep and fifty metres long. It is not completely excavated.

The site is made of two rockshelters: the Abri des Marseilles and the Abri classique. Between the Grand Roc cave and the Abri des Marseilles is the museum displaying general information about mobile art. Videos about geology, archeology, the way of life and symbolic expression are available.

The excavations carried out during the 1860s by Edouard Lartet did not accurately record the stratigraphy of the site. The stratigraphy was not established until around the First World War. There are four Magdalenian phases, III, IV, V, VI, during the Würm IV, represented in this site.

The Laugerie Basse Venus, 'Venus Impudique' (Immodest Venus) was discovered in 1864 by the Marquis Paul de Vibraye. It was the first Venus figure found in France.



map laugerie basse

Map showing the location of Laugerie Basse

Source: http://www.grandroc.com/laugerie/localisation_uk.htm

venus impudique



The Venus Impudique of Laugerie Basse


This was the first Venus figure found in France.



Laugerie Basse Laugerie Basse
Laugerie Basse is an abri, a rock shelter rather than a cave, on the right bank of the Vézère River, across the bridge from the small tourist town of Les Eyzies. Les Eyzies is packed in summer with many visitors, and progress in a car is very slow in the middle of the day.

Laugerie Basse is just one of a large number of archaeological sites close to Les Eyzies, and it is easy to spend two weeks in the area looking at all the sites which are open to the public.




Laugerie Basse is about fifteen metres deep and fifty metres long. It is not completely excavated. The excavations carried out during the 1860s by Edouard Lartet did not accurately record the stratigraphy of the site. The stratigraphy was not established until around the First World War.

There are four Magdalenian phases, III, IV, V, VI, during the Würm IV, represented in this site.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Text: translated and adapted from Wikipedia.




Laugerie Basse




1 Cro Magnon
2 Roc de Tayac
3 Gorge d'Enfer
4 Laugerie Basse
5 Laugeris Haute
6 La Micoque
7 Les Eyzies
8 Rocher de la Peine
9 Grotte des Eyzies
10 Grotte de Font de Gaume
11 Les Girouteaux
12 Grotte Rey
13 Grotte des Combarelles
14 Grotte de la Mouthe
15 Église de Guilhem
16 Cavernes voisines de
       l'église de Guilhem
17 Grotte de Renard
18 Carrières de kaolin
19 Fort du Pech Saint-Sourd
20 Château de Marzac
21 Liveyre
22 La Madeleine
23 La Roque St-Christophe
24 Le Moustier
24 bis Le Ruth
25 Grotte de Vieil-Mouly
26 Grotte de Bernifal
27 Château de Comarque
28 Abri du Cap-Blanc
29 Station de Cazelle
30 Grotte de La Grèze
31 Château de Laussel
32 Abri de Laussel.

Photo: Peyrony (1922)









Laugerie Basse small saws





Late Magdalenian saws from the Dordogne. Both items were found at Laugerie-Basse, a large rockshelter on the right bank of the Vézère River at Les Eyzies with middle, upper and late Magdalenian layers. Laugerie-Basse was one of the first rock shelters that was excavated by Lartet and Christy in 1863 and by Marquis de Vibraye, working independently in 1864.

Dimensions: The saws are 37 x 5 x 2 mm and 20 x 3 x 1 mm respectively.


Microlithic saws appear first in the Pavlovian of southern Moravia (Pavlov I, Dolni Vestonice and Jarosov II) and in the Wachau region at the middle Danube near Vienna (Krems-Wachtberg 1930 excavations and new excavations during recent years, Krems Hundsteig including Kesseldorfers findings in the late 19th century, and new excavations). These implements are also present in the late Magdalenian in S/W-France (Laugerie Basse) and further south (Bruniquel, Duruthy). Denticulated bladelets are known from the north African Epipaleolithic, but their denticulation is often bilateral and more restricted. In the Neolithic of Northern and East Europe and the Bronze Age, fine denticulation on silex sickles became very important.

Paleolithic saws were recognised as early as 1863 by Lartet and Christy but their function remains essentially unknown. Traceologic investigations (the study of wear marks) are not available for Magdalenian saws and indeterminate results have recently been described for the Pavlov samples by Andra Sajnerova.



Photo and text: by kind permission of Katzman, whose very interesting blog on various tools may be found at: Aggsbach's Paleolithic Blog







Laugerie Basse Laugerie Basse Laugerie Basse
On the way to the abri, which is open all year, this interesting recreation of a shelter using a dry stone wall technique and thatching appears.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




Laugerie Basse


Entering the Abri des Marseilles. The ladder to the hole in the cliff used by a watchman can be seen to the right of the entrance, see the image below.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008


Laugerie Basse


Hole in the cliff reached by a ladder for a watchman.

Photo: Jebulon
Permission: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.


Laugerie Basse Laugerie Basse


Laugerie Basse Laugerie Basse Laugerie Basse
The first part of the abri, the Abri des Marseilles, shows what a commodious shelter it was, with very good protection from the elements, but with plenty of light available, on a dry and level floor.


Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




Laugerie Basse
This spring, which runs year round, would have been a real bonus for the inhabitants. The water is sweet and good.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




Laugerie Basse
Propulseur à crochet en bois de renne

This propulseur, or atlatl, or spear thrower, was completed in wood for the handle and reindeer horn for the hook, since the reindeer horn is very tough and strong, and easily worked.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




Laugerie Basse
Propulseur femelle uniquement en bois

Experts categorise propulseurs in several categories, including male and female. The propulseur in the previous photo would be male, since it uses a hook to connect to a depression in the end of the dart. In the case shown here, made entirely of wood, it is designated female, since it uses a cup shaped end to hold the spear, instead of a hook.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




Laugerie Basse
Fixation des pointes de sagaie

  1. Harpon en bois de renne à point détachable
  2. Pointe en os ligaturée au boyau
  3. Emmanchement au brai de bouleau
  4. Emmanchement d'une pièce de silex au tendon


Attaching points to spears

  1. Detachable harpoon made of reindeer antler
  2. Point of bone tied to the shaft with gut
  3. Attachment using birch bark pitch (This may be made by drying fresh birch bark at room temperature and then heating it to a high temperature in a covered vessel. The result is a tarry material sticky enough to be an adhesive.)
  4. Attachment of a piece of flint by tying on with a tendon
Techniques d'Empennage

(Plumes qui garnissent le talon de la sagaie)
  1. Plume entière ligaturée au boyau
  2. Demi plume ligaturée au boyau
  3. Demi plume ligaturée au tendon
  4. Demi plume collée au brai de bouleau
Fletching Techniques

(Feathers on the end of the spear)
  1. The whole feather tied with gut
  2. Half feathers tied with gut
  3. Half feathers tied with tendon
  4. Half feathers glued with birch pitch

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




Laugerie Basse
Harpon à simple rang de barbelure
Harpoon with a single row of barbs

Harpon de type Azilien
The Azilien harpoon is small (rarely over 10 cm), its shape is flat and has at the base a hole for the attachment of a strap, which shows that this weapon would detach on impact.




Foêne
A foêne is a multipronged spear head, usually used for fishing. Neptune's trident is a familiar example.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Laugerie Basse
Various stages in preparing reindeer antlers and bone for use as a harpoon.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




Laugerie Basse
Perçoir sur lame.

Awl for making holes (usually in leather) made on a blade.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




Laugerie Basse
Perçoir sur éclat.

Awl for making holes (usually in leather) made on a flake.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




Laugerie Basse
Nucléus et lames en cours de débitage.

Core and blades during knapping.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




Laugerie Basse tools Laugerie Basse rabots

(left) Flint tools and other stone objects from Laugerie Basse.

These are superbly fashioned tools - note in particular the fine drills (14 and 15) probably used for making holes in jewellery, and the saw at 2.

(right) Rabots from Laugerie Basse. Rabots are heavy 'push-plane' scrapers made on blocks or thick flakes, abruptly retouched. They were even part of the Mousterian toolkit, and remained virtually unchanged in these much later tools.

Photo: Bourlon (1916)




The Abri Classique de Laugerie Basse

Laugerie Basse

Laugerie Basse, with the coupe or cross section of the dig left by the excavators.

Photo: http://www.guide-du-perigord.com/




Laugerie Basse Laugerie Basse
The guide spoke only in French, which was fortunately not spoken too fast, so that I was able to follow most of what he said. Anyone going to France and going on an unaccompanied trip of this kind will find it invaluable to be able to speak the language. Few people outside major cities, airports and hotels speak anything other than French. You will need French to hire cars, order meals, ask directions, check in to a camping area, buy groceries, everything.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




Laugerie Basse Laugerie Basse
The levels when people used the caves were darker in colour than those where there was no occupation. It is possible that the climatic conditions in the intervening periods between habitations were such that a lot of rock and gravel fell from the roof of the abri during very cold periods because of alternate freezing and thawing.

Parts of the dark deposits were almost entirely flint, indicating that the area was heavily used for flint knapping. This was especially so in Laugerie Haute, where the flint layers were very thick, perhaps thirty centimetres or so.

The age of the deposits range from 10 000 to 15 000 years before the present (BP), the present being always taken as 1950 for the sake of consistency.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




Laugerie Basse Laugerie Basse
The area has been dug to a considerable depth, two metres at the very least.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




Laugerie Basse
This is an ancient room or rooms reached only by a rickety ladder. The whole area around Les Eyzies has been used for habitation not only in paleolithic times, but nearly continuously right up to the present.

From the middle ages at least, houses were built against the rock, with beams let into holes dug in the limestone, and grooves cut in the rock so that flashing could be inserted, and thus divert rain water running down the rock surface to flow harmlessly over the roof rather than down the inside rock wall of the dwelling.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




Laugerie Basse Laugerie Basse


Laugerie Basse
After the tour, the guide allowed all who wished a try with throwing a spear, or dart, using an atlatl, at a target he had set up.

I don't know whether the original atlatls / propulseurs had this little stand for the dart, but it is a great invention. It makes the throwing of the dart easy, and requires very little skill to get a good result. The photograph on the right (above) shows the hook or crochet on the propulseur, made of bone or reindeer antler.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




noisemakers - whistle and flute and bullroarer



Music and dance are ephemeral art forms. However the existence of music in the Paleolithic is attested by the discovery of several types of instruments: flutes, whistles, bull-roarers and scrapers.

Drums probably existed in the Paleolithic, but these instruments made of wood and skin are rarely if ever preserved. However, in some caves, calcite sheets or curtains showing traces of percussion testify to the rhythmical talents of prehistoric musicians.




60: Bone flute, facsimile, from Isturitz, Atlantic Pyrenees.

61: Whistle in bone, original, from Laugerie-Basse, Dordogne.

62: Bullroarer or rhombus or turndun, facsimile, in reindeer antler, Lalinde, Dordogne. Note the colour, originally from ochre, and the regular straight lines and rectangles decorating it.

63: Scraper, or scraped idiophone, original, from Mas d'Azil, Ariège. This one seems to have been made from a salvaged broken spear straightener.

Scraped idiophones (an idiophone is defined as a musical instrument from which the sound comes from the natural sonorous quality of the instrument itself, not from a stretched string or hide or enclosed column of air) are rasps or notched sticks over which another stick is scraped, resulting in a series of beats.

Photo: Kathy King 2010

Source: Image and translated and adapted text from the display at Musée d'archéologie nationale, Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Laugerie Basse bone tools Laugerie Basse bone tools

Worked bone from Laugerie Basse.

Note in particular the harpoons (10, 11, 12) on the left, and the bone needles at 8 and 10 on the right, as well as the bone flute at number 15 on the right.

Photo: Bourlon (1916)




big cat tail
Laugerie Basse - Omoplate de renne

Scapula (shoulder blade) of a reindeer, engraved with the tail of a cave lion.
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Laugerie Basse


Hypothesis for the reconstruction of the lion engraved on the bone. The arrows indicate the possible variations for the position of the head, the neck and the front legs.
Photo and translated text: Crémades et Laville (1995)




Laugerie Basse


This is a facsimile of an engraved reindeer found in Laugerie Basse.

Photographed at the Maison Forte de Reignac à Tursac.

Photo: Père Igor
Permission: Creative Commons Attribution - Share Alike 3.0




Laugerie Basse


Decorated pieces of reindeer antler, using abstract designs.

Photo: Bourlon (1916)




Laugerie Basse


Decorated piece of reindeer antler. A horse has been engraved on one side, and a feline on the other.

Photo: Bourlon (1916)




Laugerie Basse Laugerie Basse

Laugerie Basse - Aurochs et rennes

Aurochs and reindeer are listed on this piece - though for a long time I could not see the reindeer!

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Laugerie Basse aurochs reindeer

Laugerie Basse - Aurochs et rennes

This is the same image upside down, which allows the reindeer to be seen easily.

My thanks to Cecilie who found the reindeer for me!

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Laugerie Basse animal engravings Laugerie Basse animal engravings

Animal engravings at Laugerie Basse, ca 30 000 BP.

Source: Original on display at Berlin: Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte Berlin-Charlottenburg




Laugerie Basse  engravings





The aurochs hunter, Laugerie Basse.

Notice that because it is a three dimensional object, the arm extends beyond the boundary of the two dimensional rendering, around the artefact. Photo: Massenat (1869)




Laugerie Basse  engravings





The aurochs hunter, Laugerie Basse.

Photo: Mayet et Pissot (1915)




Laugerie Basse  engravings





The aurochs hunter, Laugerie Basse.

Source: Original.

Photo: Marshack (1972)




Laugerie Basse


Decorated piece of reindeer antler, carved in the likeness of an animal's head, possibly a feline or bear.

Photo: Bourlon (1916)




Laugerie Basse


Decorated piece of bone, carved in the likeness of a deer, with decorative dots along the neck and face.

Photo: Bourlon (1916)




Laugerie Basse animal engravings

Engraved plaque from Laugerie Basse.

Photo: http://www.konsthall.malmo.se/o.o.i.s/4409




compresseurs
19 La Madelaine - Compresseur - Magdalénien

20 Saint-Germain-la-Rivière - Bâton percé (pierced baton) - Magdalénien

21 Grotte des Eyzies - Fragment de côte (rib) - Magdalénien

22 Pont-d'Ambon - Fragment d'os (fragment of bone) - Azilien

23 Laugerie-Basse Bois de cervidé (deer antler) - Magdalénien

(Note - number 20 seems mislabelled, it seems not to be a Bâton percé, it is much more likely to be a compresseur, used for doing delicate retouch on a flint tool - Don)

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: Originals on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac





Laugerie Basse


Engraved bones.

A is a human leg, rather well drawn.
B may be a canine
C is a male animal, possibly a bison judging by the beard, though the rear legs appear too small and weak for a bison.
D is an indeterminate animal, possibly a reindeer.

Photo: Bourlon (1916)




Laugerie Basse


Engraved piece of schist from Laugerie Basse.

On one side is a reindeer, on the other an aurochs.

Photo: Bourlon (1916)




Laugerie Basse Laugerie Basse
L'Abri des Marseilles in the Vézère valley, just upstream of Laugerie Basse, and between Laugerie Basse and Laugerie Haute. This valley used to host animal species that are typical of cold climates and that have now disappeared, such as the mammoth or the hairy rhino, and also species that still live today in polar regions, such as the musk ox, the polar fox and the reindeer. Excavations in Laugerie Basse show that 90% of all bones discovered were reindeer bones. There is a flint piece very distinctive of the area called the Laugerie-Basse point, a foliate piece with a delicate marginal retouch.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008








Laugerie Basse
Vue aérienne de la vallée de la Vézère, de l'amont vers l'aval. Les falaises de Laugerie-Haute et Laugerie-Basse sont tout au fond de la vallée. Au premier plan, le cingle de Marsac décrit une boucle ou méandre de deux kilomètres de développement.

Aerial view of the valley of the Vézère, from upstream towards downstream. The cliffs of Laugerie-Haute and Laugerie-Basse are all at the bottom of the valley, and may be seen in the background. In the foreground, le cingle de Marsac describes a loop or meander of two kilometres in size.

Photo and French text: Visiter les Abris de Laugerie-Basse - Alain Roussot - Editions Sud-Ouest.

My thanks to Anya for access to this resource.



Laugerie Basse
Vue aérienne de la falaise du Grand Roc et de Laugerie Basse, sur la rive droite de la Vézère, visible en bas de la photographie. L'abri des Marseilles est en contrebas de la fracture de la falaise, sur la droite.

Aerial view of the cliff of the Grand Roc and Laugerie Basse, on the right bank of the Vézère, visible at the bottom of the photograph. The shelter of Marseilles is below the break in the cliff, on the right.

Photo and French text: Visiter les Abris de Laugerie-Basse - Alain Roussot - Editions Sud-Ouest.

My thanks to Anya for access to this resource.



Laugerie Basse
Falaise de Laugerie-Basse entre l'abri classique, au fond, et l'abri des Marseilles, en arrière de la vue. Les rainures horizontales, taillées de main d'homme sur la paroi rocheuse, correspondent à des "larmiers" destinés à empêcher les ruissellements d'eau dans les maisons autrefois adossées à la falaise.

Cliff of Laugerie-Basse between the classic abri or shelter, at the bottom, and the shelter of Marseilles, out of sight to the right of the photograph. The horizontal grooves, cut by hand on the rock face, are in the position of former "drips" and are intended to prevent rainwater trickling down the cliff streaming into the backs of houses formerly leaned against the stone shelter. Presumably lead sheet or something similar was pushed into the grooves, lapping over the roofs of the houses, forming what is called "flashing".

Photo and French text: Visiter les Abris de Laugerie-Basse - Alain Roussot - Editions Sud-Ouest.

My thanks to Anya for access to this resource.



Laugerie Basse
Grotte du Grand Roc, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac (Dordogne), Abri des Marseilles - Laugerie Basse.
Inscrit au patrimoine mondial de l'humanité par l'UNESCO.

The general area includes Grotte du Grand Roc, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac (Dordogne), Abri des Marseilles and Laugerie Basse.
Inside part of Laugerie Basse, an Abri or rock shelter.

Photo: This image is from a postcard by Editions Grotte du Grand Roc sent to me by Anya. My thanks as always.



Laugerie Basse
Photographie du site de Laugerie-Basse publiée par E. Cartailhac en 1889, dans "La France préhistorique". "Les fouilles de Lartet, Christy, de Vibraye, Massénat ont eu lieu dans le talus, sous les maisons" indique-t-il. La première maison, qui existe encore, est celle de Léonard Delpeyrat, un fouilleur célèbre de Laugerie-Basse. Plus loin se trouve la ferme Langlade et les restes d'une grange.

Photograph of the site of Laugerie-Basse published by E Cartailhac in 1889, in "La France préhistorique".

The caption to the photograph reads "The excavations of Lartet, Christy, of Vibraye, Massénat took place in the slope, under the houses". The first house, which still exists, is that of Léonard Delpeyrat, a digger who worked at Laugerie Basse. Further on is the Langlade farm and the remains of the Langlade barn.

Photo and French text: Visiter les Abris de Laugerie-Basse - Alain Roussot - Editions Sud-Ouest.

My thanks to Anya for access to this resource.



Laugerie Basse
Gravure de E.A. Tilly publiée en 1887 dans un livre de vulgarisation de H. de Cleuziou "La création de l'homme et les premiers âges de l'humanité". Au premier plan se trouve la grange Langlade, en ruines, où furent effectuées diverses fouilles. Tout au fond, on aperçoit la falaise du Roc de Tayac, en aval de Gorge d'Enfer.

Engraving by E.A. Tilly published in 1887 in a popularisation by H. de Cleuziou, "The creation of Man and the First Ages of Humanity". In the foreground is the Langlade barn, in ruins, where various excavations were carried out. Further on in the background can be seen the cliff of the Roc de Tayac, downstream from Gorge d'Enfer, the Gorge of Hell.

Photo and French text: Visiter les Abris de Laugerie-Basse - Alain Roussot - Editions Sud-Ouest.

My thanks to Anya for access to this resource.



Laugerie Basse
Coupe schématique de l'abri classique publiée par D. Peyrony en 1914. -





Diagramatic cut of the traditional shelter published by D. Peyrony in 1914. -



Photo and French text: Visiter les Abris de Laugerie-Basse - Alain Roussot - Editions Sud-Ouest.

My thanks to Anya for access to this resource.






Laugerie Basse



Laugerie Basse. The inabitants were also fishermen catching trout, salmon, and pike.

Photo: Sharon Rogers/walkhound 1999




Laugerie Basse

Inside Laugerie Basse

The original floor of the rock shelter was a lot lower than today. You can see a rail to the right of the people in the picture behind which has been excavated and you can see the levels here.

Photo: Sharon Rogers/walkhound 1999



Laugerie Basse Dig
Laugerie Basse excavation. Here the Venus figure called 'Impudique' was discovered in 1864 by the Marquis Paul de Vibraye. It was the first Venus figure found in France.

Photo: 'Secrets of the Ice Age' by Evan Hadingham, Heinemann 1980



Laugerie Basse
Emplacement du squelette de Laugerie-Basse sous une bergerie elle-même construite sur un amas de blocs rocheux. La position précise de cette bergerie n'a pas pu être retrouvée. Dessin publié par E. Cartailhac en 1872, date de la découverte.

Site of the skeleton of Laugerie Basse under a sheep-pen itself built on a cluster of rock blocks. The precise position of this sheep pen could not be found. Drawing published by E Cartailhac in 1872, date of the discovery.

Photo and French text: Visiter les Abris de Laugerie-Basse - Alain Roussot - Editions Sud-Ouest.

My thanks to Anya for access to this resource.



Laugerie Basse
Squelette humain de Laugerie-Basse. Il gisait en position repliée, coudes et genoux se touchant presque. Plusieurs coquillages perforés étaient associés à cette sépulture, notamment deux espèces de cyprées (porcelaines) originaires de la Méditerranée. Dessin publié par E. Cartailhac en 1889 dans "la France préhistorique".

Human skeleton of Laugerie Basse. It lay in a foetal position, elbows and knees almost touching. Several perforated shells were associated this burial, in particular two species of cyprées (porcelains) originating in the Mediterranean.
Drawing published by E Cartailhac in 1889 in "la France préhistorique".

Photo and French text: Visiter les Abris de Laugerie-Basse - Alain Roussot - Editions Sud-Ouest.

My thanks to Anya for access to this resource.



Laugerie Basse
Os iliaque avec représentation d'un cheval tourné à droite dont une fracture a détruit la tête. L'animal est finement gravé et, cas exceptionnel, ses contours ont été également peints à l'ocre rouge. Longueur 110 mm.
Fouilles Le Bel et Maury à la grange Langlade. Musée national de Préhistoire.

Part of a pelvic bone with the representation of a horse turned to the right whose fracture has destroyed the head. The animal is finely engraved and, exceptionally, its contours were also painted with the red ochre. Length 110 mm.    Excavations Le Bel et Maury at the Langlade barn. Musée national de Préhistoire.

Photo and French text: Visiter les Abris de Laugerie-Basse - Alain Roussot - Editions Sud-Ouest.

My thanks to Anya for access to this resource.



Laugerie Basse
Laugerie Basse Bâton cylindrique en bois de renne, perforé à son extrémité gauche, portant la profonde gravue d'un grand félin, peut-être une panthère, animal rarement représenté. Le dessin en déroulé d'H. Breuil montre l'animal dans son entier. Longueur figurée 160 mm. Fouilles Le Bel et Maury. Coll. de la Société préhistorique française au musée de l'Homme.

Cylinder made of reindeer antler, perforated at its left end, carrying a deeply incised image of a large cat-like animal, perhaps a panther, which is an animal seldom represented in cave art. The drawing by H. Breuil shows the animal in its entirety. Length of the drawing 160 mm.     Excavations Le Bel et Maury. Coll. de la Société préhistorique française au musée de l'Homme.

Photo and French text: Visiter les Abris de Laugerie-Basse - Alain Roussot - Editions Sud-Ouest.

My thanks to Anya for access to this resource.



Laugerie Basse Face humaine gravée sur un galet de roche tendre, probablement une stéatite. Des traces d'ocre rouge s'observent au fond des traits. Hauteur 57 mm. Musée d'Aquitaine.

Human face engraved on a soft rock pebble, probably steatite (soapstone). Traces of red ochre may be seen at the bottom of the face. Height 57 mm. Musée of Aquitaine.

Photo and French text: Visiter les Abris de Laugerie-Basse - Alain Roussot - Editions Sud-Ouest.

My thanks to Anya for access to this resource.



Laugerie Basse
Fragment d'os plat, finement raclé, avec deux représentations de poissons bouche à bouche, d'un dessin bizarre et d'espèce indeterminable : celui de droite au moins est vu de dessous. Ils sont accompagnés de deux motifs penniformes parfois interprétés comme végétaux (?). Longueur 58 mm. Musée du Périgord.

Fragment of flat bone, finely scraped, with two representations of fish mouth to mouth, strangely drawn and of an indeterminate species: the one on the right hand side is seen from underneath, as may be the one on the left. They are accompanied by two feather like motifs sometimes interpreted as plants (?). Length 58 mm. Musée du Périgord.

Photo and French text: Visiter les Abris de Laugerie-Basse - Alain Roussot - Editions Sud-Ouest.

My thanks to Anya for access to this resource.



Laugerie Basse

An engraving of a bison on a pebble from Laugerie Basse. It may have been a preparatory sketch for a painting in one of the caves.

Note the way the hooves are pointed down, not in a naturalistic position. It may be that the sketch was made from 'life' - a bison kill.
Photo: T. Powell 'Prehistoric Art'



Laugerie Basse Laugerie Basse Laugerie Basse Très mince rondelle en os, de 31 mm de diamètre, perforée en son centre, avec sur chaque face la représentation d'un herbivore et des signes en chevron le long des bords. Cette oeuvre d'art miniature fut découverte en 1868 par M. Hardy et publiée pour la première fois en 1872 dans "Le Magasin pittoresque", revue populaire de l'époque.



Very thin disc in bone, 31 mm. in diameter, perforated in its center, with on each face the representation of a herbivore (deer?) and chevrons along the edges. This miniature work of art was discovered in 1868 by M. Hardy and was published for the first time in 1872 in "Le Magasin pittoresque", a popular review of the time.

Photo and French text: Visiter les Abris de Laugerie-Basse - Alain Roussot - Editions Sud-Ouest.

My thanks to Anya for access to this resource.



Laugerie Basse Laugerie Basse


Click either of these images to see an animation.

It may have been a button, or the hole in the centre may have been to put a cord through, which, when twisted and pulled to make it spin, gave the impression of the deer in two positions, on its feet and with the body on the ground.

Perhaps it was a plaything for children.

Animation by Don Hitchcock.



Disk 1 Disk 2

Engraving of an aurochs and a bison from Mas d'Azil.

This may have been used as a button, the two sides are quite different.

The one on the left depicts an adult aurochs considered a female because of the fine features of the head. The withers and chest are marked with small incisions. Horns and ears are sketched. The eye and the nostril are shown as points.

The other side of the disk shows a young bison, which, according to the size of the horn and the curvature of the hump might be about five months old. This young bison is half the size of the adult animal. Again, we find the same incisions along the shoulder and the chest. Aurochs females sometimes adopted baby bison.

(I assume similar behaviour between cattle and bison has been recorded in zoos - Don )

Photo and text: http://www.musee-archeologienationale.fr/template.php?SPAGE=2276





scapula

This scapula from Mas d'Azil was used as the base material for round disks similar to the ones above.

It would seem not much care was taking in making the buttons completely round at the roughing out stage.

Photo: http://www.musee-archeologienationale.fr/template.php?SPAGE=2276





Laugerie Basse reindeer head Fragment de ramure de renne avec gravure de la tête du même animal pourvu d'une large palme digitée caractéristique de l'espèce. Dans sa simplicité, cette gravure est néanmoins très expressive. Coll. Le Bel et Maury. musée national de Préhistoire.

Fragment of reindeer antler with an engraving of the head of a reindeer bearing a broad palmate antler characteristic of the species. Despite its simplicity, this engraving is nevertheless very expressive. Coll. Le Bel et Maury. musée national de Préhistoire.

French text: Visiter les Abris de Laugerie-Basse - Alain Roussot - Editions Sud-Ouest.

My thanks to Anya for access to this resource.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Original on display at Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac



Laugerie Basse Femme au renne. Fragment d'omoplate de bovidé. Sur la face représentée, une femme est couchée sur le dos, manifestement enceinte et proche du terme, sous ou en arrière d'un cervidé mâle dont les membres postérieurs sont figurés en avant des jambes de la femme. La femme est parée de bracelets et semble porter un collier. Longueur 100 mm. Lithographie de J. Pilloy publiée en 1907 dans "L'art à l'époque du renne d'E. Piette. L'original est conservé au musée des Antiquités nationales.

Woman with reindeer. Fragment of a bovine scapula. A woman is shown lying on her back, obviously pregnant and close to term, under or behind a male cervid whose rear limbs are illustrated in front of the legs of the woman. The woman is adorned with bracelets and seems to wear a collar. Length 100 mm. Lithographie de J. Pilloy publiée en 1907 dans "L'art à l'époque du renne d'E. Piette. L'original est conservé au musée des Antiquités nationales.

The lines on the woman's belly may be stretch marks.

Photo and French text: Visiter les Abris de Laugerie-Basse - Alain Roussot - Editions Sud-Ouest.

My thanks to Anya for access to this resource.



Laugerie Basse Motifs bilobés en forme de rein et gravés sur un fragment de schiste ardoisier encoché sur les bords. Longueur 48 mm. Musée du Périgord.

Bilobate motifs in the shape of a kidney and engraved on a slate fragment notched on the edges. Length 48 mm. Musée du Périgord.

Photo and French text: Visiter les Abris de Laugerie-Basse - Alain Roussot - Editions Sud-Ouest.

My thanks to Anya for access to this resource.



Laugerie Basse Galet calcaire perforé à une extrémité, avec ébauche d'une autre perforation à la cassure. Les deux faces portent de fins traits gravés entrecroisés. Cette pièce ressemble à plusieurs autres datant du Magdalénien final et de l'Azilien connus en Périgord, dans le Lot, en Ariège et dans le Doubs. Longueur 41 mm. Musée du périgord.

Calcareous pebble perforated at one end, with the outline of another perforation at the other broken end. The two faces carry fine intersecting engraved features. This piece resembles several others dating from the final Magdalenian and Azilien known in Périgord, in Lot, in Ariège and in Doubs. Length 41 mm. Musée du périgord.

Photo and French text: Visiter les Abris de Laugerie-Basse - Alain Roussot - Editions Sud-Ouest.

My thanks to Anya for access to this resource.



Laugerie Basse Spirale constituée d'un fil d'or enroulé en ressort pesant 18 grammes. Datant peut-être de l'âge du bronze, cet ornement fut trouvé dans une anfractuosité de la falaise au-dessus de la grotte du Grand Roc avec une rondelle d'ambre perforée et divers objets d'époques variées. Coll. J. Maury.

Spiral made up of a gold wire rolled up into a helix weighing 18 grams. Perhaps dating from the bronze age, this ornament was found in a crevice of the cliff above the cave of the Grand Roc with a perforated disc of amber and various other objects from a variety of times. Coll. J Maury.

Photo and French text: Visiter les Abris de Laugerie-Basse - Alain Roussot - Editions Sud-Ouest.

My thanks to Anya for access to this resource.



Laugerie Basse

Harpoon for salmon from Laugerie Basse
Photo: V. Megaw and R. Jones 'The Dawn of Man'




Laugerie Basse
Foëne et harpons en bois de renne. On ignore si la foëne (à gauche) servait à pêcher, ou à chasser des oiseaux. Les têtes de harpons, emmanchées, ont pu servir à atteindre du gibier terrestre ou des poissons de bonne taille. Les harpons aplatis et perforés (à droite) sont du Magdalénien final ou de l'Azilien. Longueur du plus long harpon 171 mm. Musée du Périgord.

Foëne (multi-pronged spear) and harpoons out of reindeer antlers. It is unclear if the foëne (on the left) was used to fish, or to hunt birds. The heads of harpoons, fixed on a shaft, could be used to impale terrestrial game or fish of a fairly large size. The flattened and perforated (probably to accept a cord or leather thong attached to the throwing shaft) harpoons (on the right) are of final Magdalenian or Azilian (9 500 - 9 000 BC) age. Length of the longest harpoon 171 mm. Périgord Museum.

Photo and French text: Visiter les Abris de Laugerie-Basse - Alain Roussot - Editions Sud-Ouest.

My thanks to Anya for access to this resource.



timescale
Time scale for the Perigord, which includes the area of the Dordogne
Note that dates are given as BC, not BP.
Photo: H. Laville et al, 'Rock Shelters of the Perigord'


References

  1. Bourlon, M., 1916, Nouvelles Découvertes a Laugerie BasseL'Anthropologie, T. XXVII, 1916
  2. Crémades, M., Laville H., 1995, Le félin gravé de Laugerie-Basse: à propos du mouvement dans l'art paléolithique. PaléoNo. 7, 1995. pp. 259-265.
  3. Marshack, A., 1972: The Roots of Civilization: the Cognitive Beginning of Man’s First Art, Symbol and Notation New York, McGraw-Hill
  4. Massenat, E., 1869, Objets gravés et sculptés de l'Augerie-Basse (Dordogne). In Matériaux pour l'histoire primitive et naturelle de l'homme
  5. Mayet, L., Pissot J., 1915, Abri-Sous-Roche Prehistorique de La Colombiere pres Poncin (Ain) Lyon, A. Rey
  6. Peyrony, 1922, Les Eyzies et les Environs, Ussel, Eyboulet et fils


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abri marseilles

L'Abri des Marseilles is often considered
as being part of Laugerie Basse