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The neolithic burials of Changis‑sur-Marne Les Pétreaux (Seine‑et‑Marne) in their regional context in the Paris Basin

Jean‑Gabriel Pariat
avec la collaboration de Yolaine Maigrot et Françoise Lafage
Traduction de Madeleine Hummler
p. 93-94
Cet article est une traduction de :
Les tombes néolithiques de Changis‑sur‑Marne Les Pétreaux (Seine‑et‑Marne) dans le contexte régional du Bassin parisien [fr]


Un site de plaine alluviale de la basse vallée de la Marne a pu être suivi de façon exceptionnelle sur soixante-dix hectares entre 1995 et 2004 dans la carrière Cemex, qui exploite des granulats dans le double méandre d’Armentières en amont de Meaux. Cette fouille extensive préventive a révélé une multitude de traces d’occupations discontinues depuis le Ve millénaire av. J.‑C. jusqu’au ive siècle ap. J.‑C.Parmi elles, dix tombes furent fouillées et attribuées au Néolithique moyen II. Ce type de vestige, encore rare dans la moitié nord de la France, fait ici l’objet d’une présentation détaillée suivie d’une synthèse replaçant le site de Changis dans le contexte du Néolithique moyen régional.

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Notes de la rédaction

Received June 15, 2012 — Accepted after revision May 23, 2013

Texte intégral

1The archaeological site of Changis-sur-Marne Les Pétreaux (Seine‑et‑Marne, France), which covers an area of over seventy hectares, has been thoroughly investigated between 1995 and 2004. The site is located upstream of a wide meander of the lower Marne valley, a few kilometres east of Meaux. The site is located in the sand and gravel quarry exploited by the Cemex aggregate company. Excavations began in 1995 in advance of quarrying and lasted over several yearly seasons. All excavation campaigns were coordinated by F. Lafage.

2The valley’s occupation sequence includes a large protohistoric funerary area on the slope of the eroded former river terrace. It overlooks about 500 m of an alluvial layer sloping smoothly towards the Marne. A settlement, established at the end of the Early Neolithic, was uncovered on the first terrace in edge of the alluvial plain on a 300 m wide band, as well as some twenty isolated burials and evidence of protohistoric open agricultural settlement occupation. The latter took place on the same spot for more than a millennium, without interruptions but with varying degrees of intensity, starting at the end of Late Bronze Age IIb/ IIIa (characterised by pottery of the RSFO group, or Rhin-Suisse-France Orientale group) until the late La Tène period. A last phase of occupation is attested in the first centuries AD.

3Among these discoveries, ten graves were excavated and dated to the 4 th millennium BC. Jean-Gabriel Pariat began to study these graves in 2002 and has since published two preliminary articles. With the analysis now complete, the evidence, which is still considered unusual for the Paris Basin, can be fully published.

4Today the remains are kept by the “Société Historique et Archéologique de Lagny-sur-Marne et ses environs” and the bones are packaged in plastic boxes.

5The core of this study consists of an attempt to define the functional typology of the features uncovered in the funerary area (inhumation burials, grave goods associated with the rituals that took place during the funerals and their links to commemoration) by means of a precise analysis of the remains recorded in situ.

6Several aspects of mortuary practices are discussed in a more synthetic second part, setting the site of Changis-sur-Marne within its regional Middle Neolithic context.

7To begin with, a chronological approach allowed us to distinguish three burial phases between 4227 BC and 3370 BC.

8Next, the features that contained the remains were characterized and compared to several funerary sites of the Paris Basin. Two types of funerary containers were identified: those made of perishable materials and those in hard containers. The ritual practice consisted of burying two individuals at the same time or successively.

9The way the grave goods were deposited was not random. Their position in the grave is different from one type of deposit to another. For example, vessels or animal bones could be placed near the individuals or after the closure of the tombs. These gestures have several meanings and reveal aspects of the funerary practices in use.

10Further, the link between funerary structures and domestic features was analysed at Changis and then compared to other sites. The absence of domestic structures (pits, enclosures, etc.) on a site like Changis, even if we take account of a severely eroded site, raises questions that need to be further investigated.

11To conclude, the ten graves of Changis form a small group dated from the 4th millennium BC onwards. Our vision of the site remains incomplete and data are still missing. Is it conceivable, for example, that, in its early stages, the terrace was covered by large cemeteries?

12Ultimately this kind of site is uncommon in the lower Marne valley. Recent discoveries at Villiers‑sur‑Seine (Yonne) or Pont-sur-Seine (Aube), yet to be published, will complement the results obtained at Changis. They offer further evidence and the possibility to gain a better understanding of this still little-known phase of the Neolithic.

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Référence papier

Jean‑Gabriel Pariat, « The neolithic burials of Changis‑sur-Marne Les Pétreaux (Seine‑et‑Marne) in their regional context in the Paris Basin »Gallia Préhistoire, 56 | 2016, 93-94.

Référence électronique

Jean‑Gabriel Pariat, « The neolithic burials of Changis‑sur-Marne Les Pétreaux (Seine‑et‑Marne) in their regional context in the Paris Basin »Gallia Préhistoire [En ligne], 56 | 2016, mis en ligne le 30 octobre 2017, consulté le 19 août 2022. URL : ; DOI :

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Jean‑Gabriel Pariat

Service Départemental d’Archéologie du Val d’Oise et UMR 7206 – Ecoanthropologie et Ethnobiologie, Abbaye de Maubuisson, rue Richard de Tour, 95310 Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône —

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Yolaine Maigrot

UMR TRAJECTOIRES, Maison René‑Ginouvès, 21, allée de l’Université, 92023 Nanterre cedex —

Françoise Lafage

INRAP, UMR TRAJECTOIRES – équipe Protohistoire européenne, Maison René-Ginouvès, 21, allée de l’Université, 92023 Nanterre cedex —

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