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The Venus of Abri Pataud, and the archeological site of Abri Pataud at Les Eyzies

Les Eyzies

Les Eyzies

General panoramic view of l'Abri Pataud (centre left) and la Grotte des Eyzies (right).
Photo taken in August 2008 from near the railway bridge over the Vézère River, a position which gives a wonderful vista of this important archeological area.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




The Venus of Abri Pataud


abri pataud venus



This venus is known as the 'Venus of Abri Pataud'. Abri Pataud is a well researched archaeological site within the village of Les Eyzies.

Photo: Delluc (2006)




abri pataud venus abri pataud venus abri pataud venus
Venus of Abri Pataud.

Photo:
(left) from:'Discovering Perigord Prehistory' by B & G Delluc, A Roussot & J Roussot-Larroque.
(centre and right) Photograph by Don Hitchcock 2008 of displays at the site. The photo at right is of a facsimile.




(The story I heard from the guide at Abri Pataud was that a student worker had put down her field notes, and when they started blowing away, she put a rock lying nearby on them, which on closer examination turned out to be the venus. It is a very small figure carved into the surface of a rock. It was confirmed as genuine by no less than the Abbé Breuil when he visited the site - Don)

However, from Movius (1977) we learn the actual circumstances surrounding its discovery:

A most significant find from this layer is a small bas-relief carving of a female figure. At the outset it should be stated that there is no incontrovertible proof that this piece, which is certainly the most significant art object discovered at the Abri Pataud, actually comes from the Périgordian VI (Level 3) horizon at the site, although such is definitely believed to be the case. Unless the piece should happen to be a forgery, a possibility which cannot be proved one way or another by objective analysis and which, in any case, is regarded as highly improbable, there is no valid reason to doubt the claim that it was found in an area ca. 75 cm square in the northeast corner of Trench II, Square F, but the precise find-spot and the exact depth with respect to the datum are unknown. The circumstances of the discovery are as follows:

At approximately four o'clock on the afternoon of Thursday, 21st August 1958, three days after a very violent and destructive storm on Monday, 18th August, Miss Joan T. Bamberger, then of Radcliffe College, excavating in Trench II, square F, of the Périgordian VI level, picked up a small limestone block that had been weighting down a piece of cardboard protecting an engraved rock in the immediately adjacent Square G of Trench II. Although Miss Bamberger did not recall placing this particular stone on the cardboard in question, she did concede that three days previously during the storm she might well have picked it up in the vicinity of Square F, when she was placing stones and weights on various labels and other markers in Trench II in order to prevent them being blown away in the high wind.

In any case, turning the block on the afternoon of 21st August, she at once recognised on it a carved female figure in bas-relief, which she in turn showed to various members of the expedition staff, including Dr. H. V. Vallois (who was visiting the excavation) and the writer. When the latter first examined the object, patches of earth similar to that found in the main culture layer (designated Lens 2 herein) were still adhering to it. After having been washed, the carved surface was carefully examined with a hand lens, and it was agreed that there was no doubt that this area showed the effects of dissolution.

Subsequent and even more detailed examination by the geologists, Drs Judson and Miller, with a 20x binocular microscope failed to reveal any features that could conceivably be interpreted as proof that the carving was not a genuine art object of Upper Palaeolithic antiquity. The stone is local and the degree of secondary alteration of the surface due to weathering can be matched with countless other stones of assorted sizes from the excavated area.

The figure, which appears to represent a comparatively young female, is more slender and gracile than is normally the case. Executed on an unprepared, roughly tabular limestone block that is 194 mm long, 140 mm wide, and 50 mm thick, the figure, which is shown in bas-relief, is almost exactly 60 mm long and 11 mm wide at the point of greatest width, in the region of the hips. While somewhat more carefully finished and smooth than the rough and uneven natural surface of the stone, the actual carving itself is nonetheless rather rough, due in large measure to irregularities in the limestone block selected in the first instance by the artist.

The head, shown in profile, is turned at an angle of 90° over the right shoulder, and whereas the features of the face are not indicated, the line of the hair is clearly depicted. Although in the occipital region the back of the neck is only vaguely suggested, the chin and throat area in front are very precisely defined. The shoulders are developed, pendulous breasts, which in large measure cover the entire area of the thorax. Representation of the arms is considered doubtful. The slender and well-proportioned waist is clearly delimited between the pronounced outline of the breasts above and the markedly pear-shaped and rather conspicuous abdomen below, which continues the outline of the lower portion of the body, and it appears to have been rendered in order to indicate pregnancy.

The pubic triangle is clearly depicted; approximately 4 mm. above the point of intersection of the two deeply incised lines that define the groins, there is a small horizontal line which delimits the region of the genital organs from the main area of the abdomen. Two long, convergent furrows indicate the outline of the legs, but neither the knees nor the feet are shown. Just below the region of the knees the roughly incised median line, which divides the legs, comes to an end. The left leg is very slightly shorter than the right, and a certain degree of asymmetry may also be noted in the case of the breasts.

Notwithstanding these slightly disharmonic features, the overall proportions of the figure are both pleasing and, at first glance, symmetrical. Indeed, from a stylistic point of view, this figure has been rendered in the finest tradition of Upper Palaeolithic art as represented by the well-known series of carvings and statuettes, collectively known as Venuses, from various Upper Périgordian and Noaillian sites in western Europe.


abri pataud profile abri pataud profile
Profiles of the dig looking south (left diagram, cliff to the left of the diagram) and north (right diagram, cliff to the right of the diagram) at the respective remaining walls of the dig.

The following text is from:'Discovering Perigord Prehistory' by B & G Delluc, A Roussot & J Roussot-Larroque.

Abri Pataud consists of an immense balcony of a hundred metres length where Cro-Magnon man lived, hunted and gathered. They were seminomads.

It was excavated between 1953 and 1964. 14 archaeological layers with altogether forty successive camps of hunters of reindeer, who settled on 20 000 year old sites under the cliffs of Les Eyzies were discovered. The site and museum is in the village of Les Eyzies.

A small block bearing the engraved silhouette (58 mm high) of a woman with atypical proportions was found. According to H. Movius, it came from level 3 (Perigordian VQ - a period which, approximately 21 000 years ago, corresponded to the coldest period of the Würm glaciation). The occupants built a veritable house between the cliff and the blocks of fallen rock. Or at least, this is the interpretation from the numerous artefacts left behind on their living floors which included hearths, the remains of prey, flint tools, objects of adornment, numerous art objects, and even debris from the painted decoration of the rock-shelter (Musee de l'Homme; copy at the Musée de Abri Pataud).

My thanks to Sharon Rogers/walkhound who alerted me to the existence of this excellent book.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Abri Pataud excavation site




The Abri Pataud site

abri pataud map

Map of the Abri Pataud position, in the middle of Les Eyzies.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at the Abri Pataud Museum.




Vezere Map









Map of sites in the Vézère Valley of France, including Abri Pataud.

If you click on the map you will see a larger map with the ability to click on the marked sites and get further information.

Photo: Don Hitchcock







abri pataud site abri pataud site abri pataud site


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The site has been well signed, with enough information that visitors can get some idea of the change in occupation and the changing climates.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008





abri pataud climate
Climate at Abri Pataud during twenty thousand years.

Photo: Farrand (1975)






Throughout all the occupation of the Abri Pataud, the biological environment of the Perigord was an open forest where mixed pines, birches, oaks and some other trees such as elms, maples, limes, ashes, alders, beeches, fir trees, walnut trees, hazel trees, and willows also grew.

Abri in English means shelter, or rock shelter, and Pataud refers to a previous owner of the site.

At the time of occupation, the area had large areas of grassland, and was populated by animals from the far north such as reindeer, musk ox, arctic fox; by animals from the steppes of Central Asia such as saiga antelope and the whistling hare; and by animals from the mountains such as ibex and chamois.

All these mammals mixed with bison, horses and, less frequently, with aurochs, deer, mammoths, and the woolly rhinoceros. Among the carnivores, there are the brown bear, and the cave hyena. Reindeer constituted their principal game. They also practised fishing and gathering. The animals, in addition to their meat, provided them with the raw materials of their craft industry: skin, tendons, furs for clothing; wood and bone for clothes, tools and weapons.

Text: translated and adapted from http://www.ac-bordeaux.fr/Pedagogie/SVT/pataud97.htm (this site has since disappeared)




 climate graph



Temperatures and ice volume (plotted upside down for easy comparison with the temperatures) over the last 450 000 years.

Photo: Robert A. Rohde from publicly available data

Permission: GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2




Climate during the ice ages at Abri Pataud

Note that in the following, the numbers refer to levels at the Abri Pataud site only.


abri pataud climate abri pataud climate

The Ice Age ended about 12 000 years ago, but it had started to warm up after the glacial maximum of 22 500 - 20 000 years ago.

At the time of maximum cold, and maximum advance of the ice sheet, the Vézère had shrunk to a small creek you could step over, and there was little vegetation, and what there was was stunted.

The Vézère became a reasonable brook after the ice started to retreat, and there was more rain after temperatures increased.

However at no time during the ice ages was it as large as today. The climate was drier during the ice ages, since lower temperatures meant less evaporation from the seas and land.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: A display at the excavation site.




abri pataud climate abri pataud climate

Going backwards in time, the upper Gravettian (24 000 - 22 500 BP) was a time of temperate climate, with plenty of vegetation and wild life.

This was preceded in the middle Gravettian (26 500 - 24 000 BP) by a cold period, when little grew, and temperatures were much colder.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: A display at the excavation site.




abri pataud climate abri pataud climate

The lower Gravettian (29 000 - 26 500 BP) was again a time of temperate climate, with plenty of vegetation and wild life.

This was preceded in the upper Aurignacian (30 000 - 29 000 BP) by a cold period, when little grew, and temperatures were much colder. Grasses were the dominant plant life, which fed vast herds of animals such as horses and bison.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: A display at the excavation site.




abri pataud climate abri pataud climate

Still earlier in the upper Aurignacian, (31 000 - 30 000 BP) forests grew thick, and animals such as deer were able to find sustenance in the area.

In the lower Aurignacian, (34 500 - 31 000 BP) a long cold spell meant that animals such as wolves and reindeer used the area, and again trees were few and far between.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: A display at the excavation site.




abri pataud climate abri pataud climate

In the lowest levels of Abri Pataud, a temperate period (36 000 - 34 000 BP) was preceded by a cold period, 38 000 - 36 000 BP)

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: A display at the excavation site.






abri pataud site abri pataud site

(Left) diagram of Level 3, about 24 000 BP, showing the position of the venus of Abri Pataud, engraved stones, fireplaces, bones of animals, and painted surfaces.

(Right) Diagram of Level 7, about 30 000 BP, showing the position of fireplaces and of fallen limestone blocks.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: A display at the excavation site.




abri pataud profile
(Left) Abri Pataud Profile




The site consists of two separate areas, separated by about fifty metres:
  1. An excavation site (1958 - 1964) under the direction of Hallam L. Movius (1907-1987), with a surface area of 12m x 12 m and a depth of nine metres.
  2. A museum under the same rock shelter containing many artefacts obtained from the dig.


The excavation site is beneath an abri of limestone, at the site of a former barn. The shelter was formed by the action of water infiltrating porous limestone, and undergoing successive actions of freeze and thaw, with the dust and rocks falling from the overhang onto the surface below over a period of tens of thousands of years.

The archaeological remains are thus sealed by fine or coarse material which has fallen from the roof of the shelter.

The average rate of deposition was 55 cm per 1000 years, or an average of half a millimetre per year.

Photo: Farrand (1975)



Text: translated and adapted from http://www.ac-bordeaux.fr/Pedagogie/SVT/pataud97.htm (this site has since disappeared)




abri pataud profile




Complete cross section of the deposits at l'abri Pataud, from the excavations by Movius.

Depths of the beds are in metres. Commas are used in the European convention where English speakers use decimal points. Thus 0,50 means 0.50 metres, or 50 centimetres, and 3,30 means 3.30 metres, or 330 centimetres.

Photo: Cheynier (1960)




abri pataud profile
(left) The Abri Pataud Museum

The limestone is a marl (limestone and clay mixed) at the base, but there is a harder limestone bioclastic which overhangs the shelter.

The Abri Pataud rock shelter was occupied by the Cro Magnon man (Homo sapiens sapiens) for a period of 15 000 years, from 35 000 BP to 20 000 BP, which corresponds to the recent Wurm period, and the cultures of the Aurignacian, Gravettian and Solutrian. The average temperature was at that time approximately 5°C cooler than the current average temperature.

Over the nine metres depth of the dig, 14 archaeological levels may be observed, corresponding to 40 successive occupations. The old grounds are well marked by grey layers containing the ashes from the hearths. Some are easily definable.

The archaeological layers contain many vestiges of occupation, including the hearths, flint tools, and bones broken to extract the marrow.

Towards the top of the excavation, in layer two, where the shelter had been reduced to only one metre in height and two metres depth, were found the remains of three burials, of three adults and a baby.

Occupation of the shelter ceased in the Magdalanian period.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Text: translated and adapted from http://www.ac-bordeaux.fr/Pedagogie/SVT/pataud97.htm (this site has since disappeared)




abri pataud

The cliff of Abri Pataud, looking downhill away from the Museum.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




abri pataud profile
Au fond de l'abri, dans une espace bas de plafond, avait été deposé le corps d'une jeune femme d'environ 16 ans, accompagnée d'un enfant nouveau-né. Le crâne de la jeune femme avait été récupéré par la suite et déposé à 4 mètres de distance, protégé entre des pierres.

At the back of the shelter in a space with a low ceiling had been deposited the body of a young woman about 16 years old, with a newborn child. The skull of the young woman was recovered later four metres away, lying protected between stones. It has been placed on top of the mandible, which is still in situ, for the photo.

Text: Translated and adapted from a display at the excavation site.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: A display at the excavation site.




abri pataud skeleton
This skeleton of one of the finds at the site may be a facsimile.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: A display at the excavation site.




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The famous statue of the woman found at Abri Pataud, holding a bone needle which is one of the artefacts found at the site.

As can be seen, the girl has been depicted with fairly heavy eyebrow ridges. At the time the statue was conceived, it was thought that the skeleton had Neanderthal aspects, but this is not now seen to be the case.

The roof of the Abri can be clearly seen forming the ceiling of the Museum.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: A display at the excavation site.


Abr Pataud woman


Ms Élisabeth Daynès, an internationally acclaimed sculptor, has created a female prehistoric human based on the skeleton of the woman found at Abri Pataud. The silicone model shows a woman, who is thought to have died aged 20 with brown eyes and a rounded face.

The skin coyote stole worn by the female model is also a close representation of what a pre-historic woman would have worn, although she admits the dreadlocks and skin markings are her artistic impressions. She explained: 'My art is a synthesis between scientific observation and imagination.'

Ms Daynès, who creates her models in her Paris apartment, also said: 'My work is done just like a forensic investigation from casts of skulls, which are reconstituted exactly as composite sketches by police. 'These anthropometric surveys deliver a wealth of information such as age and sex.'

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Pôle International de la Préhistoire, Les Eyzies
Text: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2832042/How-ancestors-really-looked-dressed-Exhibition-reveals-face-pre-historic-man.html


abri pataud
Gravettien Final (Périgordien VII) - 22 000 ans

Image vulvaire gravée sur un bloc éboulé de la voûte de l'abri. au voisinage du squelette de la jeune femme déposée avec le bébé nouveau-né.

Gravettien Final (Périgordien VII) - 22 000 BP

A depiction of a vulva engraved on a block fallen from the roof of the abri, near the skeleton of the young woman buried with a newborn baby.

Text: Translated and adapted from a display at the excavation site.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: A display at the excavation site.




abri pataud
Gravettien récent (Périgordien VI) - 24 000 ans

Tracé énigmatique en forme de serpentin et ovale allongé centré sur une ligne de cupules, gravés sur un des blocs éboulés formant le mur extérieur de l'habitation de la couche 3.

Enigmatic serpentine-shaped and elongated oval engraving centred on a line of cupules, engraved on loose blocks forming the outer wall of the dwelling of layer 3.

Text: Translated and adapted from a display at the excavation site.

(Note that I have rotated this image 180° and flipped it horizontally to agree with the Movius orientation below, which is in situ. This sort of misorientation, upside down and back to front was common when images were recorded on film - Don )

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008
Source: A display at the excavation site.




abri pataud serpentine engraving

Large engraved rock (as in the colour photo above) with "serpentine" decoration.

Rock X-8 (cf section Fig 14, and top plan, fig. 12) which constituted the western limit of Level 3 in Trench V, exhibited a very interesting and enigmatic "serpentine" engraving on the eastern, or inner, surface that had been completely buried by the Lens 2 deposit. A photograph of this rock in situ is reproduced in plate 33. (as shown) Near the uppermost limits of the serpentine pattern, a cigar shaped depression with four dots running down the centre of its flat base may be discerned.



Photo and text: Movius (1977)




abri pataud serpentine engraving

Large engraved rock (as in the photo above) with "serpentine" decoration. (Note that I have rotated this image 180° to agree with the Movius orientation above, which is in situ - Don )

Photo: Jaubert (2008)




abri pataud abri pataud
Ovales gravés. Couche 3. Périgordien VI.

Engraved ovals in Layer 3, Périgordien VI.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at the Abri Pataud Museum. This appeared to be an original.




abri pataud
Bloc à Serpentin
Des blocs effondrés limitaient la grande maison du Périgordien VI. L'un d'eux porte un ensemble gravé complexe. Des ovales très allongés sont reliés par un tracé serpentiforme et un des ovales est centré sur une ligne de petites cupules. Ce dessin, dont on ne connait pas la signification, se retrouve à la même époque à Laugerie Haute.

Block with serpentine marks
Fallen blocks delineated the perimeter of the living area of the Périgordien VI. One of these fallen blocks has a whole complex of engravings. Very elongated ovals are connected by a serpentine line and one of the ovals is centred on a line of small cupules. This design with unknown meaning has also been found at Laugerie Haute.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at the Abri Pataud Museum. This appeared to be an original specimen.


abri pataud abri pataud
The Abri Pataud Museum is situated in the only section of the Abri Pataud shelter which did not collapse. On the ceiling, which is in its natural state as a rock face, there is the bas-relief of an ibex, estimated to have been carved about 19 000 years ago. The features are only just discernible in flat lighting, but come into sharp relief when the light is allowed to come in from a sharp angle.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: The roof of the Abri Pataud Museum. The carving is in an awkward place for easy viewing, but the designers of the museum have organised the display really well, arranging a mirror and lighting so that the ibex can be easily seen.




abri pataud abri pataud
The same images of the ibex, flipped so that the image displays what the ibex looks like in real "life", not reflected in a mirror.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: The roof of the Abri Pataud Museum.




abri pataud art object abri pataud art object




(right) Enigmatic "art object" (cat. no. 1964), a natural waterworn pebble vaguely modified in the form of an animal.

(left) As it was found in Lens 1 of Level 2 in Trench VII, Square F. View looking northeast showing the object in situ.

(Note that this object may also be seen as a venus figure, as Prof. Randall White has noted. This is especially noticeable in the photo at left with the object in situ. )

Photo and text: Movius (1977)




abri pataud art object




Here is the same image, rotated to show the interpretation as a venus.

Photo: Adapted by Don Hitchcock from Movius (1977)




abri pataud art object




Art object, level 3 (1150)

1. Dolomitic limestone fragment with engravings of three bison heads - obverse (top) surface.
2. reverse (bottom) surface.
3. obverse surface showing relief and sections through the piece.

Photo and text: Movius (1977)




abri pataud art object

Art object, Level 3, Cat. No. 3224, engraved limestone pebble compressor or flaking tool.

1. obverse (top) surface of object.
2. reverse (bottom) surface of object.

A variety of interpretations (as shown on the photo) can be made of the lines engraved on this stone.

It should be noted that there were a number of slabs with painted or engraved surfaces, and in the majority of cases the slabs were found lying with the treated surface downward, close by the rear wall, amongst an almost continuous layer of slabs which had spalled off the rear wall. Thus many of the decorated slabs had originally been a part of the rear wall of the abri.

Photo and text: Movius (1977)




abri pataud
There were many animal bones found in the Abri. Shown here are bones from bear, wolf, hyena and fox.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at the Abri Pataud Museum.




abri pataud
Broyeur à ocre rouge

Grindstone for red ochre.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at the Abri Pataud Museum.




abri pataud hearth abri pataud hearth w x y
Hearth

(left) At the base of Level 5 (Périgordian IV) in Trench II, Square B, in the front of the site, this group of river stones was found in Lens W. Normally features of this type are associated with hearths.

(right) Surface of the hearth complex (Hearths W, X, and Y) found in Level 7: Lower (Intermediate Aurignacian-b). The two smallest, Hearths X and Y, were truncated when the large basin for Hearth W was prepared. An ash sample from Hearth W gave a C-14 date of ca 30 850 BC.

Photo and text: Movius (1977)




abri pataud
The mousterian has not been discovered at Abri Pataud, but it has been found at L'Abri Vignaud, which is simply the continuation of the Abri Pataud towards the south, in layer 14 there.

The lithic industry at L'Abri Vignaud consisted of racloirs (scrapers), denticulés (Denticulate - A flake or blade that has two or more concave removals) and éclats à encoches (notched flakes).

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at Abri Pataud Museum. These appeared to be originals.




abri pataud abri pataud
Un outil caractéristique du Moustérien - le racloir transversal. C'est un éclat souvent épais, dont le bord transversal porte une retouche continue formant un tranchant perpendiculaire à la direction du débitage de l'éclat.

A characteristic Mousterian tool - the transverse scraper. It is an oftentimes thick flake, of which the edge is perpendicular to the direction of cutting, or in this case scraping.

(the drawing is of the particular tool shown above - Don)

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at Abri Pataud Museum.




abri pataud abri pataud
This is an excellent drawing of a mammoth showing both the skeleton and the original physical outline of the animal, scientific name Elephas Primigenius, as well as a section of the tusk found at Abri Pataud and noting where it came from on the original animal, in red on the drawing.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at Abri Pataud Museum.




abri pataud
Display to illustrate that a flint core or nucleus can be made to give both lames (blades, flakes that are twice or more as long as they are wide) and éclats (flakes).

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at Abri Pataud Museum.




abri pataud
Les niveaux les plus profonds de l'Abri Pataud appartiennent à l'Aurignacien ancien caractérisé par l'abondance des grattoirs sur lames à bords retouchés et des lames à retouches latérales. Les types de grattoirs particuliers à l'Aurignacien comme les grattoirs carénés et les grattoirs à museau sont également présents. La couche 11a livré quelques fragments de pointes en os à base fendue considérées comme caractéristiques de l'Aurignacien 1.



Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at Abri Pataud Museum. These appeared to be originals.




Un outil caractéristique de l'Aurignacien ancien - le grattoir sur lame aurignacienne. C'est un grattoir aménagé sur une grande lame dont les bords, portant de larges retouches écailleuses, présentent souvent une silhouette concave dessinant une encoche ou un étranglement lorsqu'elles apparaissent sur les deux bords.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at Abri Pataud Museum. These appeared to be originals.


The deepest levels of the Abri Pataud Aurignacian belong to the early Aurignacian, characterised by an abundance of scrapers on blades, retouched on the blade ends and on the sides. The particular scrapers of the Aurignacian such as carinate (keeled, ridged) and nosed scrapers are also present. Layer 11a delivered a few fragments of bone points with split bases, regarded as characteristic of the Aurignacian 1.




abri pataud abri pataud
A characteristic tool of the early Aurignacian - a scraper on an Aurignacian blade. It is a scraper formed on a large blade with the edges having deeply concave retouches, often giving in silhouette a waisted appearance when they appear on both sides, as here.

(the drawing is of the tool shown - Don)

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at Abri Pataud Museum.




 grattoir museau



This is an illustration, for reference and explanation, from another site, of a particularly good Grattoir à museau, or muzzle shaped scraper.

Photo: http://che70.blog4ever.com/blog/lesphotos-13327-8270.html




  lamelle Dufour




This is an illustration, for reference and explanation, from Wikipedia, of a Lamelle Dufour, a characteristic bladelet (i.e. a small blade, in this case less than four centimetres long) of the Aurignacian.

Photo: Wikipedia




  lamelle Dufour




Dufour bladelets, (Lamelles Dufour) from Abri Pataud Level 8: Intermediate Aurignacian-a.

Photo and text: Movius (1977)




abri pataud burin busque burin busque


burin busque burin busque
Les couches 6, 7, and 8 ont livré un outillage bien caractéristique de l'Aurignacien avec des grattoirs carénés et à museau, des burins busqués, des lamelles Dufour, des pièces esquillées et des sagaies en os de forme losangique.

Chacune de ces couches présente des particularités: la couche 8 comprend une forte proportion de grattoirs carénés et à museau (26%). La couche 7 comprend beaucoup de burins busqués (14%) et des sagaies en os de forme losangique; ces deux couches sont attribuées à l'Aurignacien moyen. La couche 6 est pauvre en grattoirs aurignaciens et en burins busqués; sa position stratigraphique pourrait permettre de l'attribuer à un Aurignacien évolué. Les couches 9 et 10, pauvres, se rapportent à l'Aurignacien moyen.

Un outil caractéristique de l'Aurignacien moyen - le burin busqué. C'est un outil robuste dont le biseau est formé par la rencontre d'un enlèvement lamellaire assez large et de plusieurs enlèvements contigus parfois incurvés et arrêtés par une encoche.

Layers 6, 7, and 8 contained typical tools of the Aurignacian with keeled (i.e. carinate, or ridged) scrapers as well as beaked burins, Dufour bladelets, pièces esquillées (splintered pieces, probably the remains of cores, sometimes called bipolar cores), and bone spears in an elongated diamond shape.

Each layer has some special features: layer 8 includes a high proportion of ridged scrapers and muzzle shaped scrapers (26%). Layer 7 includes many beaked chisels (14%) and bone spears in an elongated diamond shape. These two layers are attributed to the middle Aurignacian . Layer 6 is low in Aurignacian scrapers and beaked chisels; the stratigraphic position could allow us to assign an Aurignacian period (Aurignacien évolué) to these layers. Layers 9 and 10, which are poor in artefacts, may be assigned to the middle Aurignacian .

A characteristic Middle Aurignacian tool - the beaked chisel or burin. It is a solid, heavily constructed tool whose bevel is formed by a large reduction of diameter from a large base to a relatively small point.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at Abri Pataud Museum. These appeared to be originals.




(The beaked burin is especially common in the Middle Aurignacian. In appearance it rather resembles the prow of a ship turned upside down; the working edge is convex, being formed by a flat graver facet on one side, and a series of convex graver facets up the prow; this produces a keeled scraper made on the breadth of a blade. There are two sub-varieties, one with a notch to prevent the little convex graver facets from going too far down the blade, and the other without.) Burkitt (1925)

Burin busqué
Burin busqué - the Beaked Burin

Figure 6 - Burin busqué, n°1 : Abri 2, couche 2, et burin busqué à tendance Vachons, n°2 : Abri 1, couche 2 (dessins D. Pesesse). Figure 6 - Burin busqué, n°1 : shelter 2, layer 2 and burin busqué near of the Vachon’s type, n°2 : shelter 1, layer 2 (drawings D. Pesesse).

Photo and text: http://paleo.revues.org/index184.html




Burin busqué
Burin busqué - the Beaked Burin

Three or more fairly regular spalls, often removed from a Spall Removal Surface (SRS) of dihedral type, approximate a semicircle. An edge of this shape is sometimes described as the "gouge" or "busqué" type.

(This is an excellent diagram of what I think of as a "classic" beaked burin, as described by Burkitt (1925) above. Note the front vertical spall, and the notch taken out of the rear of the burin to make sharpening easier, so that a spall comes off easily when retouching. - Don)

Photo and text: Movius et al (1968)




abri pataud
Dans la couche 5 de l'Abri Pataud, la plus riche en matériel archéologique, les outils à retouche abrupte sont les plus nombreux (35%) tandis que les grattoirs et les burins ont une importance à peu près égale. Ce niveau est attribué au Périgordien IV défini dans le site de la Gravette en Dordogne. Il se caractérise par des pointes de la Gravette et des microgravettes.

Un outil caractéristique du Périgordien IV - La pointe de la Gravette. L'extrémité pointue de cet objet élancé est formée par la rencontre d'un bord tranchant et d'un bord aménagé en dos rectiligne par des retouches abruptes régulières. Ces pointes étaient sans doute fixées à l'extrémité d'armes de jet.

In layer 5 of the Shelter Pataud, the richest in archaeological material at Abri Pataud, abruptly retouched tools are most numerous (35%) while scrapers and chisels are of roughly equal importance in numbers. This level is attributed to the Périgordien IV with the type site the La Gravette site of the Dordogne, dating from between 28 000 and 22 000 BP. It succeeded the Aurignacian. It is characterized by Gravettian points and microgravettes.



Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at Abri Pataud Museum. These appeared to be originals.




abri pataud



A characteristic tool of the Perigordian IV - the Gravettian point. The pointed tip of this slender object is formed by the meeting of two edges with steep retouches on the back edge. It is a small pointed blade with a blunt but straight back. These points were probably set at the end of spears.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at Abri Pataud Museum.




abri pataud
C'est dans la couche 4, attribuée au Périgordien V, parfois appelé Noaillien, que les burins sont les plus nombreux (60%). Un tiers de ces burins environ sont des burins de Noailles et ils sont accompagnés de burins sur troncature à biseau très étroit appelés aussi burins-pointes. L'industrie osseuse est caracterisée par la présence de pointes de sagaies à extremité striée appelées sagaies d'Isturitz. Ces pointes de sagaies, nombreuses à l'Abri Pataud et à Isturitz, sont rares dans les autres sites du Périgordien V.

Un outil caractéristique du Périgordien V - Le burin de Noailles. C'est un très petit burin portant un ou plusieurs biseaux multiples formés par la rencontre d'une retouche (troncature) avec des enlèvements lamellaires très étroits. Il doit son nom à la grotte de Noailles en Corrèze.

It is in layer 4, attributed to the Périgordien V, sometimes called Noaillien, that chisels are the most numerous (60%). About one third of these chisels are chisels of the Noailles type and include chisels truncated on a very narrow bevel, also called spikes. The bone industry is characterised by the presence of spear points with grooved ends called Isturitz spears. These spear points, although numerous at l'Abri Pataud and at Isturitz are rare in other Périgordien V sites.

A characteristic and distinguishing tool of the Périgordien V - The chisel of Noailles. It is a very small chisel with one or more multiple bevels. It is a flake tool retouched to give several chisel-like edges. It owes its name to the Grotte de Noailles in the commune of Brive-la-Gaillarde, Corrèze, in southwestern France.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at Abri Pataud Museum. These appeared to be originals.




abri pataud



Close up of the example on display of a Sagaie d'Isturitz, or an Isturitz spear.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at Abri Pataud Museum. This appeared to be an original.




Isturitz spears



Figure 8. "Sagaies d’Isturitz" provenant de Gargas et d’Isturitz.
a, b et c: exemplaires entiers d’Isturitz (d’après SAINT-PÉRIERR. & S. 1952). -
d: probable extrémité distale n°261, assemblée “virtuellement” à la base n°1146 (e) (Gargas, coll.BREUIL-CARTAILHAC-IPH).

Original Source for the sketch: SAINT-PÉRIER, R. & S. de 1952 La grotte d’Isturitz: les Solutréens, les Aurignaciens et les Moustériens. Paris : Masson, 264 p., 135 fig., XI pl. h.-t. (Archives de l’Institut de Paléontologie humaine: mémoire n°25)

Reprinted in: Gargas et l’Atlantique: les relations transpyrénéennes au cours du Gravettien, Munibe 57, 2005
by Pascal Foucher




compresseur sagaie
(note: These objects, "Sagaies d’Isturitz", superficially similar to spear points, seem to me to be anything but spears. They are much too big and heavy to have fitted on a dart. They could only have been used on a thrusting spear, one which was not thrown but used in close up work with an animal which had been wounded.

I have no evidence for this personal opinion, but they are much more likely so far as I can see to be retouchers, or compresseurs. This interpretation is borne out by the examples which do not have even a symbolic point, such as the ribs from Gargas shown immediately below, from apparently a similar tradition, and which
Breuil & Cheynier (1958) identified as retouchers.

In addition, we may note the similarity between the Périgordien V / Noaillien Sagaie d’Isturitz shown here and the Compresseur in the previous display case for the Périgordien IV / Gravettien. They are similar in shape and volume, and both are made of bone or ivory.

I have juxtaposed two images copied from the one photograph (of the Périgordien V / Noaillien display case above), of the Compresseur and the Sagaie d’Isturitz to show how similar they are. - Don)


Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at Abri Pataud Museum. These appeared to be originals.




Gargas decorated bone objects



The caption reads:

Fig. 2. Gargas, industrie osseuse gravettienne: côte gravée n°236-IPH, collection BREUIL-CARTAILHAC (dessin C. SANJUAN-FOUCHER).

Gargas bone industry, a decorated rib.

It was described by Breuil & Cheynier (1958) as "a large curved piece, rounded at the end, which had been used as a retoucher. It is the left rear rib of either Aurochs or Bison"

Photo: San Juan-Foucher (2005)




abri pataud
Périgordien VI - Couche 3

L'industrie de la couche 3, attribuée au Périgordien VI, est caracterisée par l'abondance de outils à retouches abruptes (31%): l'ensemble des pointes de la Gravette mais surtout de leur forme miniaturisée, les microgravettes, constitue 20% de l'outillage lithique. Les burins sont nombreux et dominés par les formes sur troncature. Parmi les grattoirs, les grattoirs circulaires sur éclat sont bien représentes. La présence de petites lamelles à dos tronquées caracterise également cette industrie.

Un outil caractéristique du Périgordien VI - La microgravette. C'est un modèle réduit de pointe de la Gravette avec une extrémité pointue et un dos rectiligne aménagé par petites retouches abruptes.

Périgordien VI - Layer 3

The industry of the layer 3, attributed to Périgordien VI, is characterised by an abundance of tools with abrupt retouches (31%): all the Gravettian points but especially their miniature form, the microgravettes, constitute 20% of the stone tools. Chisels or burins are finished off with many forms of truncation. Among scrapers, circular scrapers on flakes are well represented. The presence of small blades also characterise the industry.

A characteristic tool of the Périgordien VI - The microgravette. It is a reduced version of the Gravettian point with a pointed tip and a straight back made with small steep or abrupt retouches.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at Abri Pataud Museum. These appeared to be originals.




abri pataud

Plan of Layer 3 from the Perigordien VI

Source: Display at Abri Pataud Museum.




Protomagdalénien (Perigordien VII)

abri pataud abri pataud
Display featuring, amongst other items,



Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: A display in the Abri Pataud Museum. These appeared to be originals.




Protomagdalénien (Perigordien VII)

La couche 2 a livré une industrie abondante composée surtout de pièces à retouches abrupte (39%). Les burins sont assez nombreux. On remarque également la présence de grande lames retouches.

Cette industrie découverte pour la première fois à Laugerie-Haute a reçu le nom de Protomagdalénien.

La présence de pointes de la Gravette et de microgravettes a permis à certain préhistoriens de définer cette industrie comme un Perigordien VII.

Un outil caractéristique du Protomagdalénien - burin dièdres à bords retouchés

Ce type de burin a généralement servi au travail des matières osseuses, os et bois de renne.

Protomagdalénien (Perigordien VII)

Layer 2 has delivered an abundant lithic industry, mainly pieces with abrupt retouches. (39%). Chisels (burins) are quite numerous. One should also note the presence of large reworked blades.

This industry was first discovered in Laugerie Haute attributed to the Protomagdalénien.

The presence of Gravettian points and microgravettes has allowed certain prehistorians to define this industry as belonging to the Perigordien VII.

A characteristic tool of the Protomagdelénien is the dihedral burin with edge retouch.

This type of chisel was generally used in the working of bone and reindeer antlers.



abri pataud
Protomagdalénien (Périgordien VII)

l'affichage des:

Tête de fémur percée
Canine de cerf percée
Perles en os
Coquille percée




The display includes:

The pierced head of a femur.
The pierced canine tooth of a deer.
Bone beads
A pierced shell

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at Abri Pataud Museum.

abri pataud
Solutréen Inferieur - Couche 1

Les Solutréens ont séjourne à l'Abri Pataud mais rares sont les traces de leur passage qui sont parvenues jusqu'à nous.

Cette période, caractérisée par une grande maîtrise du façonnage de la pierre, utilisant la retouche par pression, se manifeste par la présence de quelques outils dont une pointe à face plane caractéristique du Solutréen inférieur.

Un outil caractéristique du Solutréen inférieur - La pointe à face plane.

C'est une pièce appointée portant des retouches, envahissantes, sur une grande partie de la face supérieure. La face inférieure, rarement retouchée est, par contre, restée "plane".

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at Abri Pataud Museum. These appeared to be originals.




The lower Solutrean - Layer 1

Although the Solutreans stayed at the Abri Pataud, there are few remaining traces of their passage.

This period is characterised by a great mastery of shaping of stone, using pressure retouching, and are manifested at l'Abri Pataud by the presence of some tools called "Flat Face Points" which are leaf-shaped uniface points with one plain face and the other retouched, which is characteristic of the lower Solutrean.

abri pataud abri pataud

A characteristic of the lower Solutréen - The Flat Face Point.



Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at Abri Pataud Museum. This appeared to be an original.




abri pataud
Solutréen Moyen - Niveaux Supérieurs

Les niveaux supérieurs de l'Abri Pataud été détruits, la présence de Solutréen moyen n'est connue que par quelques pièces, recueillies aux abords du site et dans la cave troglodytique. Les pointes à retouches bifaciales appelées feuilles de laurier caractérisent le Solutréen moyen.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at Abri Pataud Museum. These appeared to be originals.




Middle Solutrean - Upper levels

The higher levels of the Abri Pataud have been destroyed, but the presence of the Middle Solutrean is known from a few pieces, gathered around the site.

The bifacial laurel leaved shaped points characterise the middle Solutrean.

abri pataud abri pataud
This is an excellent summary of the prehistoric cultures from Le Flageolet 1, La Ferrassie, Abri Pataud and Laugerie Haute.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008

Source: Display at Abri Pataud Museum.











movius photo
Hallam L. Movius Jr, born in Newton, Massachusetts, on November 28, 1907, was a Palaeolithic archaeologist, a specialist in the interpretation of human behaviour and its environmental context during the latter part of the Old Stone Age, toward the end of the Pleistocene Epoch. With broad training and varied field experience in Europe, the Near East, and Southeast Asia, he became in the years after World War II the pre-eminent spokesman for Palaeolithic archaeology in the United States.

In his classes at Harvard and on his excavations in France, he was instrumental in training a generation of American and European archaeologists. His decades-long investigation of the Abri Pataud, a large Upper Palaeolithic rock shelter in southwestern France, formed the basis for what is today a French government museum and research centre at the site.

In the summer of 1949, already a respected archaeologist, Movius spent several months in France, mostly in the Dordogne region of the southwest, talking with local prehistorians and looking for a good Upper Palaeolithic site at which to start a major new excavation. The site he chose was a large collapsed rockshelter overlooking the Vézère Valley in the town of Les Eyzies. It was this site, the Abri Pataud, that would be Movius’s primary professional concern from then until the end of his career.

He did a test excavation in 1953 on the part of the site then accessible to him. The property was, however, part of a working farm, and a barn stood on the main portion of the site. In 1957 Harvard purchased the property and immediately transferred ownership to the French government, which in turn granted what became known as the Harvard Dordogne Project the excavation rights for a 20-year period. Six seasons of excavation were conducted at the Abri Pataud between 1958 and 1964. The old farmhouse and its ancillary structures (located, in fact, in a second walled-up rockshelter) were converted into laboratory and storage areas so that on-site analysis of the excavated materials could continue throughout the year.

Early in the project, Hallam and his wife Nancy acquired a property, Roque Veyral, just a few kilometers distant from the Abri Pataud and renovated it into a combination residence and laboratory. At the site or at Roque Veyral, or both, research and writing about the Abri Pataud continued for at least part of every year for nearly two decades. Hallam Movius’s Abri Pataud project made several kinds of contributions to Palaeolithic archaeology and European prehistory. First, and most obviously, it answered substantive technical questions about the sequence and radiocarbon dating of Upper Palaeolithic archaeological cultures in southwestern France, a classic region for the understanding of human behaviour at the end of the Ice Age. The site was, in fact, occupied repeatedly between about 34 000 and 20 000 radiocarbon years ago, by people representing the Aurignacian, Gravettian, Noaillian, and Solutrean archaeological cultures.

Second, it provided for U.S. archaeologists a model of the sort of broadly interdisciplinary approach to an archaeological site that was becoming standard operating procedure for Old World prehistory after World War II. The breadth of Movius’s research plan can be seen from the contributors to the introductory volume of the multivolume site report (1975): these included two archaeologists, two geologists, a vertebrate paleontologist, a malacologist, two human paleontologists, a palynologist, and two ecological biologists.

In 1970, still in his early sixties and at the height of his career, Movius suffered a stroke while working at the Abri Pataud. He recovered almost fully, with only a lingering weakness on one side that required him to walk with a cane. For several years he continued to teach and to spend part of every year in Dordogne pursuing his research and writing. The site report on the Abri Pataud was planned as a multivolume monograph series to be published by Harvard’s Peabody Museum as bulletins of the American School of Prehistoric Research. Movius saw the first two volumes through to publication, in 1975 and 1977, but a series of increasingly debilitating health problems made it more and more difficult for him to take an active part in the publication program. He retired from teaching in 1974 and from his curatorship at the Peabody Museum in 1976.

Two more site report monographs were published in 1984 and 1985, but the Peabody Museum had already confirmed its inability to proceed with the final three volumes planned for the series. In view of the great importance of the site to the profession, the director of antiquities for southwestern France proposed that a one-volume, French-language summary report on the entire Abri Pataud operation be compiled and published at French government expense. Movius enthusiastically endorsed this plan, and the volume in question was published in Paris in 1995, some years after Movius’s death. Movius's Avant propos to this volume, dated December 1985, was the last thing he wrote about the great site that was the capstone of his career. Hallam Movius died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on May 30, 1987.

Text and Photo: http://books.nap.edu/html/biomems/hmovius.pdf









The contribution to excavation methodology of Hallam L. Movius at l'abri Pataud

Chiotti & Nespoulet (2004)

(This is an excellent paper, well worth reading in its entirety - Don.)

Abstract

The methodological contribution of the abri Pataud excavation in the fifties and sixties was innovative in many ways. The critical analysis of original documents shows how the excavation was exemplary and allows understanding in detail the reading of the site by Hallam L. Movius and his multidisciplinary team. This analysis, that we propose to present with some concrete examples, is the essential basis of all re-examination of the archaeological assemblage from the Hallam L. Movius excavation: the installation of a grid system as a permanent structure appears as one of the innovative methods used at the abri Pataud. It allowed the coordination in three dimensions of the remarkable artefacts and the collection of the rest of the archaeological material with a good planimetric precision. Many topographical measurements (surface and base of the levels) allowed a better understanding of the stratigraphy; Hallam L. Movius was one of the first researchers to systematically use the radiocarbon dating method.

As a whole, the results for abri Pataud levels are very coherent; hand-written or typed cards, with the excavation data, were created for each coordinated artefact; in the first years, the levels were exposed on all the grid surfaces (12 by 12 metres). Afterwards, huge collapsed blocks caused Hallam L. Movius to reduce the excavation zone to 6 by 12 metres. Two lateral trenches excavated before the central trenches allowed the anticipation of the reading of an often very complex stratigraphy; spatial distributions on graph paper were realised for all of the excavation from the artefacts' coordinates: these documents (plans and sections) have remained unpublished.



abri pataud

General view of the Abri Pataud, Les Eyzies (Dordogne). Photograph taken in July 1958 from near the railway bridge over the Vézère River.

Photo: Movius (1977)




abri pataud

General view of the Abri Pataud, Les Eyzies (Dordogne). Photograph taken in August 2008 from near the railway bridge over the Vézère River, a little more to the right than the previous photograph.

It is interesting to compare the two photographs to note the changes in both houses and vegetation during the passage of fifty years.

In particular, we can see the wall and roof which now protects the gisement of l'abri Pataud from the weather.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




abri pataud

Abri Pataud at a time intermediate between the first excavations and my photo from 2008. The wall and roof protecting the site are clearly visible in this shot, as is the Abri Pataud museum at the top of the small road leading to the right. Vegetation has grown significantly in the meantime, and now obscures this view.

Photo: 'Discovering Perigord Prehistory' by B & G Delluc, A Roussot & J Roussot-Larroque.






Les Eyzies

Les Eyzies

General panoramic view of the Abri Pataud and Les Eyzies (Dordogne). Photo taken in August 2008, fifty years after the general view of 1958 above, and also from near the railway bridge over the Vézère River, a position which gives a wonderful vista of this important archeological area.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2008




abri pataud cleaning up





Cleaning the site prior to excavation. The area in the foreground is where the barn originally stood.

Photo and text: Movius (1977)




abri pataud excavation and awning




General view of the site with awning fully installed.

Photo and text: Movius (1977)




abri pataud excavation




A series of huge fallen blocks (the collapsed former vault of the rock shelter) was encountered in the first metre of the excavation.

Photo and text: Movius (1977)




abri pataud

1958, general view of the excavation showing the grid system.

Photo: H.L. Movius in Chiotti & Nespoulet (2004)




abri pataud

1959, excavation view of éboulis 3/4 showing the walls along the boundaries of each square.

Photo: H.L. Movius in Chiotti & Nespoulet (2004)




abri pataud deer skulls

Skulls of large deer (Cervus elaphasus) placed facing each other against the rear wall of the site in Trench III, Square G.

Photo and text: Movius (1977)




abri pataud human skull abri pataud human skull

Skull and mandible of adolescent female in situ and in close up. These remains were found directly below a large fallen limestone block on 2nd July 1958. No traces of any of the vertebrae came to light.

The female skull and mandible had apparently been positioned and protected by three medium sized rocks arranged in a roughly triangular manner, near the front of the abri and the Eboulis-a stratum immediately above the main Level 2 deposits. Therefore, this find should not be considered as contained within the actual cultural layer itself, but as immediately subsequent to it, representing one of the last cultural acts at the site prior to the collapse of the immediately overlying blocks.

Photo and text: Movius (1977)




abri pataud human skull discovery

View showing emplacement of skull with surrounding rocks in situ.

The skull was found with its lower mandible only slightly dislocated. Although immediately covered over by a considerable rockfall, it had been protected by a series of medium sized rocks around it. It is apparent that it was covered over soon after its deposition,and this fact, rather than its displacement, has preserved it. Therefore, the Proto-Magdalenian occupation of the site may have been terminated by the collapse of the roof, during or shortly after the final occupation. In any case, there is absolutely no direct evidence to suggest that the death of any of the individuals was traumatically caused.

Photo and text: Movius (1977)




abri pataud human skull discovery

The female skull shortly after discovery being shown to MM. René Sordes and Séverin Blanc by Professor Movius.

Photo and text: Movius (1977)




From Movius (1977):

Found at the site were the remains of at least three adults or sub-adults and two children, one newborn. Of the adults, the age and sex of the intact cranium indicate a female between 15 and 20 years old.

A pelvic fragment and certain long bones suggest either a second female of approximately the same age, or the same individual. One male is indicated by fragments of long bones, a frontal, and some vertebrae. Finally, a newborn child is represented with the arm of another young female.

Important among these remains are the skull and mandible of the adolescent female in 10.00 west-east line between Trenches V and VI, the pelvic fragment in Trench VI near the rear wall of the shelter, the foetus and female arm in Trench II, and the distal portion of a male humerus near the front of the same Trench. Some of these occurred in the Eboulis-a deposit, but others were found in various of the underlying lenses.

Some important results follow:

The female skull and mandible had apparently been positioned and protected by three medium sized rocks arranged in a roughly triangular manner, near the front of the abri and the Eboulis-a stratum immediately above the main Level 2 deposits. Therefore, this find should not be considered as contained within the actual cultural layer itself, but as immediately subsequent to it, representing one of the last cultural acts at the site prior to the collapse of the immediately overlying blocks.

The left arm of an adult and the fragmentary skeleton of an infant complex came to light in Lens 2. There were two humeri, one ulna, one radius, a nearly complete series of wrist and hand bones, one clavicle, and one incomplete scapula. With the exception of the fragmentary skull, which was associated with the adult's arm bones, the remains of the infant or fetus were randomly dispersed to the south of the adult arm complex with one definite concentration of fragmentary remains lying ca. 55 cm to the south-southwest of the centre of the main concentration.

abri pataud pelvis

Left portion of the pelvis in situ in Trench V.

Photo and text: Movius (1977)




abri pataud arm bones

Detail of right arm/child's skull complex after cleaning.

(note that the caption to this photo says it is a right arm, but the text calls it a left arm. I am unable to sort this out, but I would presume that the text is the correct version - Don)

Photo and text: Movius (1977)




abri pataud human skull position diagram

Diagram showing the position of the human skull, found in Eboulis 1-2.

Photo and text: Movius (1977)




abri pataud

Graph of l'abri Pataud radiocarbon dates. Not all the dates shown here were kept by the authors (Movius 1977, Bricker 1995)

The non kept dates appear in clear lines. The great number of aberrant dates in level 2 is due to the samples' contamination by proximity to the surface.

Photo: Chiotti & Nespoulet (2004)




abri pataud

Pataud property plan.

Photo: Movius (1977)




abri pataud

Extract from a field notebook showing a level 5 layer.

Photo: Chiotti & Nespoulet (2004)




abri pataud

A 1964 drawing on graph paper, a plan and two sections, of a surface feature - Hearth R of level 12.

Photo: Chiotti & Nespoulet (2004)




abri pataud

Detailed plan of the excavated area, after Movius (1977)

Photo: Chiotti & Nespoulet (2004)








References

  1. Breuil, H. & Cheynier, A., 1958: Les fouilles de Breuil et Cartailhac dans la grotte de Gargas en 1911 et 1913, Bulletin de la Société méridionale de Spéléologie et de Préhistoire V, 1954-55, 341-382 (extrait du Bulletin de la Société d’Histoire naturelle de Toulouse 93).
  2. Bricker H.M., 1995: Le Paléolithique supérieur de l’abri Pataud (Dordogne) : les fouilles de H.L. Movius Jr., Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. 1925, Second Edition. Documents d’Archéologie française, 50, éd. Maison des sciences de l’Homme, Paris, 328 p.
  3. Burkitt M., 1925: Prehistory: a study of early cultures in Europe and the Mediterranean basin, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. 1925, Second Edition.
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  12. Pesesse, D., Michel A., 2008: Le burin des Vachons : apports d’une relecture technologique à la compréhension de l’aurignacien récent du nord de l’Aquitaine et des Charentes, Paléo, 18, 2008, 143-160
  13. San Juan-Foucher, C., 2005: Industrie osseuse décorée du Gravettien des Pyrénées Munibe (Antropologia-Arkeologia) 57 San Sebastian 2005
  14. White, R. , 2002: Une nouvelle statuette phallo-féminine paléolithique: 'La venus des Milandes' (commune de Castelnaud-la-Chapelle, Dordogne), Paleo N° 14 Décembre 2002 – Pages 177 à 198

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