Navigation – Plan du site

A Châtelperronian Open-air Site in the Paris Basin: les Bossats at Ormesson (Seine-et-Marne)

Pierre Bodu, Hélène Salomon, Jessica Lacarrière, Michael Baillet, Michèle Ballinger, Henri-Georges Naton et Isabelle Théry-Parisot
p. 3-7
Cet article est une traduction de :
Un gisement châtelperronien de plein air dans le Bassin parisien : les Bossats à Ormesson (Seine-et-Marne) [fr]

Résumés

Le gisement les Bossats à Ormesson, outre ses niveaux badegoulien, solutréen, gravettien et moustérien, a également livré une occupation châtelperronienne sur une grande surface, occupation pelliculaire et dont l’intégrité n’a pas souffert de mélanges ou de façon très limitée avec des niveaux plus anciens ou plus récents. Fouillé au sein de deux sondages, les sondages 3 et 50 ouverts respectivement sur 16 et 2 m2, mais d’une surface estimée à 150 m2 minimum, ce niveau livre déjà un certain nombre d’informations concernant l’industrie lithique, mais également les matières colorantes dont on connaît, à Ormesson, d’autres indices dans le niveau moustérien ainsi que les ressources animales et végétales. Si dans les années qui viennent, les efforts sont portés vers l’exploitation des niveaux plus récents, nous envisageons une fouille extensive du Châtelperronien dans 4 à 5 ans. Sans attendre ce délai, cet article se veut, avant tout, une première présentation de ce nouveau gisement châtelperronien, le plus septentrional à l’heure actuelle. Mais il pose également un certain nombre de jalons concernant les caractères de l’industrie lithique, en particulier la production laminaire grâce à la réalisation de nombreux remontages explicites et aussi la présence et le rôle de la production lamellaire. En ce sens, le gisement d’Ormesson participe de façon évidente au débat concernant les productions microlithiques du Châtelperronien et les relations que cette industrie dite de transition a pu entretenir d’une part avec le Moustérien et d’autre part avec le Proto-Aurignacien. Comme leurs prédécesseurs moustériens, mais aussi les groupes qui ont occupé le site bien après eux, les Châtelperroniens d’Ormesson ont sans doute tiré parti d’une topographie particulière de la vallée à cet endroit, favorable au rabattage du gibier. Comme eux, ils ont également su trouver à proximité de l’eau, des ressources végétales et du silex. Comme eux enfin, leur occupation a bénéficié d’un recouvrement rapide par des sédiments, sableux en l’occurrence, qui autorise une analyse palethnographique relativement inédite pour cette période. La petite taille de la surface actuellement fouillée est certes une limitation à l’interprétation économique et fonctionnelle globale de ce niveau, mais elle n’empêche pas un questionnement assez poussé sur les différentes catégories d’outils représentées (couteaux, burins) ou absentes (grattoirs) en l’état actuel de la fouille. Les premiers résultats de l’analyse de la faune et des charbons de bois sont présentés, enrichissant cette documentation, sur la sphère technique, de données plus contextuelles.
Malgré un certain isolement géographique, les Bossats, n’en est pas moins partie prenante d’un territoire châtelperronien « septentrional » qui comporte la célèbre grotte du Renne à Arcy-sur-Cure ou encore celle de la Roche-au-Loup à Merry-sur-Yonne (Yonne). Quelques premières comparaisons sont esquissées avec ces deux sites. Une discussion est amorcée à propos de cette pauvreté apparente en gisements châtelperroniens au nord de la Loire qui est peut-être plus à mettre en relation avec l’état de la recherche qu’elle ne serait liée à une véritable faiblesse de l’occupation.

Haut de page

Notes de la rédaction

Received: 27 January 2017 – Admitted after revisions: 10 April 2017 – Modified: 16 May 2017

Texte intégral

1The site of les Bossats at Ormesson (Seine-et-Marne; fig. 1) is known for its Solutrean (Bodu et al., 2014) and Gravettian occupations (Bodu et al., 2011; Lacarrière et al., 2015), but also for a level with discoid debitage attributed to the Mousterian (Bodu et al., 2013c; Mathis et al., 2014), and, to a lesser extent, for a small lithic complex attributed to the Badegoulian (fig. 2).

Fig. 1. Location of les Bossats, Ormesson, Seine-et-Marne

Fig. 1. Location of les Bossats, Ormesson, Seine-et-Marne

CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS

Fig. 2. Summary cross section displaying the main sedimentary packages and the many archaeological levels

Fig. 2. Summary cross section displaying the main sedimentary packages and the many archaeological levels

CAD: H.-G. Naton, Géoarchéon

2In 2013, we also identified a fifth level belonging to the Chatelperronian (fig. 4). The excavation of this level resulted in the identification of another Chatelperronian “locus” about fifteen metres away, located at a comparable depth and in an identical stratigraphic context (test pit 50; fig. 5).

Fig. 4. Châtelperronian level in test-pit 3

Fig. 4. Châtelperronian level in test-pit 3

CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS

Fig. 5. Location map of the test-pits in which Châtelperronian remains were uncovered at les Bossats, Ormesson, Seine-et-Marne (red stars)

Fig. 5. Location map of the test-pits in which Châtelperronian remains were uncovered at les Bossats, Ormesson, Seine-et-Marne (red stars)

CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS

3The site of les Bossats is therefore the first open-air Chatelperronian site north of the Loire. It fills in a patchy geographic record (Leroi-Gourhan, 1958, 1964), and enhances our knowledge of the technical and economic aspects of stone knapping. The good state of conservation allows for a detailed analysis of the spatial organization of this Chatelperronian open-air site. In addition, the discovery of a Chatelperronian level at Ormesson opens the debate as to the alleged geographic extension of this transition industry, as well as the pertinence of some of the so-called “transitional” aspects, and also on the means used by prehistorians to distinguish this highly laminar and sometimes lamellar industry from other Upper Palaeolithic lithic panoplies (Lévêque and Vandermeersch, 1980; Vandermeersch, 1984; Taborin, 1990; Lévêque et al., 1993; Pelegrin, 1995; Hublin et al., 1996; White, 2001; Bordes, 2002; Zollikofer et al., 2002; Zilhão et al., 2006; Bar-Yosef and Bordes, 2010; Higham et al., 2010; Mellars, 2010; Bachellerie, 2011; Roussel, 2011; Hublin et al., 2012; Roussel and Soressi, 2013; Roussel et al., 2016). The topographic situation of the different occupations corresponds to a sandy, then loessic promontory, with a sharper slope throughout time, overlooking a small, now dry valley to the south, a palaeothalweg to the east, protected by a chaos of sandstone blocks to the north, the east and the west. A vast plateau dominates the site to the north. This elevated situation in relation to the valley floor, protected by slopes strewn with sandstone blocks, and the overlooking plateau, must have been a major attraction for the successive Palaeolithic groups (fig. 6 and 7; Bodu et al., 2014a; Lacarrière et al., 2015). The site position is strategic for the practically compulsory passage of herbivore herds below. The Chatelperronian occupation is in a mainly sandy sedimentary context (fig. 8 and 9), in a geological environment dominated by blocks of Stampian sandstone.

Fig. 6. Reconstruction of the landscape topography at les Bossats and in the vicinity

Fig. 6. Reconstruction of the landscape topography at les Bossats and in the vicinity

CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS

Fig. 7. Map of the estimated distribution of the archaeological levels in the different test-pits

Fig. 7. Map of the estimated distribution of the archaeological levels in the different test-pits

CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS

Fig. 8. Lower part of the northern profile in test-pit 3, showing the location where the micromorphological samples were taken

Fig. 8. Lower part of the northern profile in test-pit 3, showing the location where the micromorphological samples were taken

H-G. Naton, Géoarchéon

Fig. 9. Northern profile in test-pit 50, above the Châtelperronian occupation level

Fig. 9. Northern profile in test-pit 50, above the Châtelperronian occupation level

H-G. Naton, Géoarchéon

4Silts cover the orange sands submerging the Chatelperronian occupation. Little by little, the sedimentary sequence becomes richer in silts and poorer in sands. At the end of the 2015 campaign, there were 71 test pits and excavation zones with a surface of one to about forty square metres in the northern part of les Bossats site (fig. 13). The presence of the Chatelperronian level has been confirmed in two areas of the site, in test pits 3 and 50 (fig. 14 and 15), 15 metres apart and spread over a width of about 10 metres, making a total of 150 m2. In test pit 3, the Chatelperronian level is 2.30 m deep and was excavated over 16 contiguous square metres. On account of the thickness of this level in test pit 50 (approximately 3 metres), it was only excavated over less than two square metres. In test pit 3, the distribution of the different categories of remains, particularly flint, is consistent with a knapping heap or waste heap, with a concentration of more than 1,200 flakes and blade and bladelet fragments and thousands of shards, and peripheral zones with an ashy area and a zone with a lower density of remains, including some objects characteristic of specific activities (Chatelperron knives, burins; fig. 4 and fig. 16).

Fig. 13. Map of the test-pits and areas excavated from 2009 to 2015

Fig. 13. Map of the test-pits and areas excavated from 2009 to 2015

CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS

Fig. 14. View of test-pit 50 and the Châtelperronian level at the bottom

Fig. 14. View of test-pit 50 and the Châtelperronian level at the bottom

P. Bodu, CNRS

Fig. 15. Superimposed Mousterian and Châtelperronian soils in test-pit 3

Fig. 15. Superimposed Mousterian and Châtelperronian soils in test-pit 3

In the foreground, the Mousterian level, and at the background, the Châtelperronian level

P. Bodu, CNRS

Fig. 16. Two views of the flint concentration and the ash-rich zone within the Châtelperronian level in test-pit 3

Fig. 16. Two views of the flint concentration and the ash-rich zone within the Châtelperronian level in test-pit 3

P. Bodu, CNRS

5The perception of the good state of conservation of the Chatelperronian level would not be complete without mentioning the abundance of shards and the high number of associations and refits carried out for the lithic material. This is the northernmost Chatelperronian open-air site currently known. It is an ideal site for an optimal description with no suspicion of mixing of bone or flint objects from different occupations, which is not always the case for cave or rock shelter sites. In test pit 50, only a small surface has been excavated (one and a half metres), due to the thickness of the level and therefore our spatial observation of this zone is limited. Nonetheless, the density and the type of abandoned lithic blanks (lots of blades and bladelets and some tools, relatively few flakes) in this square metre and the adjoining square, point towards the existence of an activity area rather than a waste area (fig. 17).

Fig. 17. Flint concentration in the Châtelperronian level in test-pit 50

Fig. 17. Flint concentration in the Châtelperronian level in test-pit 50

Overall view (1) and detail view (2)

P. Bodu, CNRS

6The different dates obtained (table II) range between 29900 ± 620 BP and 39600 ± 1400 BP; a chronological bracket of nearly 10000 years, which must clearly be considered with caution, given that standard deviations range from simple to double values. Nonetheless, most of the dates seem to be centred around 37000 years BP.

Table II. Radiocarbon dates for the Châtelperronian level at Ormesson

Origine échantillon Échantillon daté Position stratigraphique Code labo Résultats BP non cal Cal BC 1 sigma Cal BC 2 sigma
Ormesson 2011, Sd 3, B33.350 OS Au-dessus niv 4 sup Erl 16609 34450 +/-541 BP 38206-36874 BC 39026-36442 BC : 94,4 %, 36307-36140 BC : 1 %
Ormesson 2011-2012, Sd 3 C34.18-20 Charbon vrai niv 4 sup Erl 17855 34005 +/- 358 BP 37505-36570 BC 38134-35804 BC
Ormesson 2010, Sd 3, B32.5 OS vrai niv 4 sup Erl 16610 29900 +/-620 BP 33070-31723 BC 34723-33942 BC : 3,4 %, 33617-31027 BC : 92 %
Ormesson 2014, Sd 3, D33 (15) Charbon vrai niv 4 sup Erl 19456 37442+/-643 BP 40375-39431 BC 40782-38790 BC
Ormesson 2014, Sd 32 Charbon coupe, sans archéo Erl 19455 37281+/-637 BP 40274-39303 BC 40663-38629 BC
Ormesson 2014, Sd 3, C34.316-317 Charbon vrai niv 4 sup Lyon-11864 (Sac A40374) 37400 +/- 1100 BP / 41867-37927 BC
Ormesson 2014, Sd 3, C34.316-317 Charbon vrai niv 4 sup Lyon-11660 (Sac A39280) 39600 +/- 1400 BP / 44620-39626 BC

The dates are calibrated using IntCal13

Reimer et al., 2013

7Based on the group of dates in keeping with the archaeological and sedimentological facts, which rule out the much too recent age of 29900, the Chatelperronian at Ormesson would thus be situated in a period between 43520 and 38870 cal BP (tab. III; Zilhão et al., 2007).

Table III. Bayesian model for the radiocarbon dates concerning the Gravettian and Solutrean levels. This model is generated using ChronoModel (Lanos et al., 2015) and IntCal13 (Reimer et al., 2013).

Table III. Bayesian model for the radiocarbon dates concerning the Gravettian and Solutrean levels. This model is generated using ChronoModel (Lanos et al., 2015) and IntCal13 (Reimer et al., 2013).

The results are presented in calendar dates before year 2000 (K2B) and compared with the (NGRIP) δ18O climate record (Stocker and Johnsen, 2003). Dansgaard-Oeschger events (DO) are rapid warming episodes (indicated with black numbers). Three Heinrich events (H5 to H3, indicated in blue) are related to periods of abrupt and rapid cooling

8The last overviews on the topic (Roussel and Soressi, 2014) show that up until 2014, Renne Cave, and to a lesser extent, Bison Cave at Arcy-sur-Cure, in the north of Bourgogne, were the most northern Chatelperronian sites, while in England, Belgium or Germany, other techno-complexes characterize this famous transition phase (Flas, 2014; fig. 18).

Fig. 18. Distribution map of the Châtelperronian sites

Fig. 18. Distribution map of the Châtelperronian sites

After Roussel and Soressi, 2014

9The site of les Bossats, about 130 km from Arcy-sur-Cure, thus provides evidence of the extension of the Chatelperronian towards the north, showing that this group occupied a wider geographic zone than previously thought. The lithic series is divided into two complexes; the material recovered from test pit 50 over one and a half square metres, and the material from test pit 3, excavated over a surface of 16 m2. In test pit 50, 295 knapped flints, excluding shards, were recorded. Test pit 3 yielded 1,267 flints, excluding shards. Our study thus includes over 1,500 objects with a size of more than 1 cm. In test pit 3, the lithic panoply is quantitatively dominated by flakes (flakes, laminar and lamellar flakes), which represent 56% of the corpus. The proportions of laminar (12.5%) and lamellar flakes (24.8%) are considerable, and correspond to real debitage intentions, at least for the first category. Debitage begins on a narrow part of the nodule with the extraction of blades and laminar flakes along a cortical zone or a previously prepared unifacial or bifacial crest, and then progressively extends over the width of the block, with the removal of increasingly flat and wide blades (fig. 21, 22 and 23).

Fig. 21. A blade core from test-pit 50 (on the left) and its refitting (on the right)

Fig. 21. A blade core from test-pit 50 (on the left) and its refitting (on the right)

P. Bodu, CNRS & CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS

Fig. 22. Two blade reduction sequences, partially refitted, from test-pit 3

Fig. 22. Two blade reduction sequences, partially refitted, from test-pit 3

P. Bodu, CNRS & CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS

Fig. 23. Schematic drawing of a Châtelperronian debitage sequence

Fig. 23. Schematic drawing of a Châtelperronian debitage sequence

CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS

10This method has been well described in other sites (Pelegrin, 1995; Grigoletto et al., 2008; Bachellerie, 2011; Bordes and Teyssandier, 2011; Roussel, 2011). It is a sort of ‘definitive’ semi-rotating debitage with a very clear choice of blade extraction on plane surfaces in order to obtain flat blanks with a very slightly pronounced central rib (fig. 24), with one wide cutting edge, making them ideal blanks for Chatelperron knives.

Fig. 24. Ventral sides of blades showing evidence of the use of soft stone hammers for blank production

Fig. 24. Ventral sides of blades showing evidence of the use of soft stone hammers for blank production

CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS

11The presence of bladelet production in a handful of Chatelperronian sites is now a proven fact (Pelegrin, 1995; Bachellerie, 2011; Roussel, 2011). The production methods have been described in some cases, but it is more difficult to identify the production aims, as retouched bladelets are rare, apart from at the site of Quincay where the presence of large Dufour bladelets, sub-type Dufour, is beyond doubt according to M. Roussel (Roussel, 2011; Roussel et al., 2016). In test pit 3, non-retouched bladelets are well represented (fig. 25), but they are only very limited elements of the toolkit as only 4 bladelets out of 314 whole bladelets or fragments, bear clear marks of retouch or use, and about ten others show random splintering or notches. In spite of that, the high quantity of bladelets points to deliberate production, especially as some rare non-retouched bladelets bear traces of use or hafting and some cores show bladelet production or in any case, narrow elongated blanks (fig. 26 and fig. 27).

Fig. 25. Unretouched bladelets from the Châtelperronian level

Fig. 25. Unretouched bladelets from the Châtelperronian level

P. Bodu, CNRS & CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS

Fig. 26. Three bladelet cores on thick flakes from test-pits 3 (1, 2) and 50 (3)

Fig. 26. Three bladelet cores on thick flakes from test-pits 3 (1, 2) and 50 (3)

P. Bodu, CNRS & CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS

Fig. 27. Refitting of a bladelet core on a small elongated cortical nodule (a) belonging to a flint block from which blades were produced (b)

Fig. 27. Refitting of a bladelet core on a small elongated cortical nodule (a) belonging to a flint block from which blades were produced (b)

P. Bodu, CNRS & CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS

12In test pit 50, bladelets are also abundant (22.7%), but only one of them shows clear intentional retouch (fig. 28), while several elements bear fine splintering on one edge. Thus, although the non-retouched products seem to indicate a clear Chatelperronian interest for bladelets, the retouched toolkit on bladelets does not show the same motivation, nor do the small bladelet cores, which seem to indicate rather negligent debitage (fig. 29).

Fig. 28. a: Bladelets with slightly damaged edges; b: Retouched truncated bladelet from test-pit 50: pictures of microwear

Fig. 28. a: Bladelets with slightly damaged edges; b: Retouched truncated bladelet from test-pit 50: pictures of microwear

a: CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS & M. Baillet, PACEA; b: CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS & M. Baillet, PACEA

Fig. 29. Clumsy debitages

Fig. 29. Clumsy debitages

P. Bodu, CNRS

13It is curious to observe that there are so few retouched bladelets in spite of the high quantity of non-retouched bladelets, at Ormesson as well as in other sites (Canaule II, Bachellerie, 2011; Connet, 2002; Les Tambourets, Scandiuzzi, 2008). The hypothesis of the direct use of non-retouched lamellar blanks has already been advanced by certain colleagues and can be reiterated here considering the use marks that seem to be present on some of the non-retouched bladelets from Ormesson, although other explanations can also account for the high number of non-retouched bladelets. Could the Neanderthals-Chatelperronians from Ormesson, if they represent this population, have developed bladelet production and the related tools independently, without being influenced by “diffusion by stimulus” (Tostevin, 2007, Roussel, 2011) from Proto-Aurignacians (Roussel et al., 2016)? The site of Ormesson does not yet allow us to reply to this question or to advance other hypotheses. However, in this site, the fact that lamellar production is not very different from laminar production in many ways (technique, production methods, similar dimensions for the small Chatelperron knives and the rare retouched bladelets) seems to indicate a conceptual continuum between both types of production. This casts doubt on a Proto-Aurignacian origin by diffusion of only the lamellar Chatelperronian facet, or else the whole laminar-lamellar Chatelperronian production concept may have been “borrowed” from the Proto-Aurignacians. Test pit 3 yielded 44 tools and 36 burin spalls. These tools include 8 Chatelperron knives, whereas test pit 50 only yielded a truncated proximo-mesial element and two fragments attributed to Chatelperron knives (fig. 30). The 8 knives from test pit 3 represent 18% of the toolkit. We can add 5 tool fragments assimilated to the Chatelperron category to these 8 objects (11%), and we cannot rule out the fact that some other objects classified in less formal categories (notches, denticulates (7), some retouched products) are in fact knives, and represent Chatelperron fabrication or use stages but do not present all the characteristics. At the least, knives thus represent 18% of the toolkit in test pit 3 and more probably around 30%, if we add the objects and fragments mentioned above. Test pit 50 only yielded one Chatelperron knife with a missing distal part and two fragments that can be assimilated to knife elements, or about 27% of the toolkit. In test pits 3 and 50, the main blanks used are blades and laminar flakes (8 cases) and one flake was selected (fig. 30).

Fig. 30. Châtelperronian knives from test-pits 3 (1-8) and 50 (9)

Fig. 30. Châtelperronian knives from test-pits 3 (1-8) and 50 (9)

CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS

14In this latter case, the user appears to have been interested in the “naturally” regular cutting edge of the blank, even though the tool axis is not the blank axis. The lengths of the 7 whole or relatively whole blanks are between 53 mm and 65 mm, which is relatively standard for Chatelperron knives. There does not seem to be any preferential lateralization for the back in this small corpus as out of the 9 specimens considered here, 5 present a back on the right and 4 on the left. It is thus probable that this non-lateralization, also observed at other sites (Le Basté, Bidart, Canaule II; Bachellerie, 2011), is an adaptation to the morphology of the selected blanks, with the back on the side opposed to the most regular cutting edge. The cutting edge thus seems to be essential in the composition of this tool. This may also explain the fact that the back does not always present the same delineation (sometimes rectilinear, sometimes curved), or the same degree of retouch (sometimes thick, abrupt and receding, sometimes light; sometimes affecting the whole edge, but more often partial). We identified relatively light man-made splintering on three Chatelperron knives, which could indicate cutting soft to medium-hard organic matter, and there are no signs of scars pointing to violent impacts such as burin type removals on the same cutting edges (fig. 31).

Fig. 31. Detail of microwears on Châtelperronian knives

Fig. 31. Detail of microwears on Châtelperronian knives

M. Baillet, PACEA

15Therefore, at Ormesson, like at other Chatelperronian sites (Bachellerie, 2007), the use of Chatelperron knives as projectile armatures does not seem plausible, considering the good state of conservation of certain fragile points, which do not present impact marks. On the other hand, at several sites, such as Brassempouy, in the Dubalen rock shelter, the function of the projectile point is clearly shown on certain Chatelperron knives with “apical axial impact marks” (Bachellerie et al., 2011). Burins are the second most represented tools at Ormesson. They are accompanied by many spalls. In test pit 3, they make up nearly 18% of the assemblage. There are no real burin tools in test pit 50. They are divided into angle burins on breaks (3), dihedral angle and median burins on truncations (2), a dihedral median burin (1) and two burins with broken active parts (fig. 33). One of these dihedral burins presents deep striations on a tooth due to scraping an indeterminate hard material, whereas the cutting edge of the lateral edge shows splintering possibly linked to cutting hard organic matter (fig. 34).

Fig. 33. Burins from test-pit 3

Fig. 33. Burins from test-pit 3

CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS

Fig. 34. Detail of microwears on two burins

Fig. 34. Detail of microwears on two burins

M. Baillet, UMR 5199 PACEA

16Two burin spalls also show the same type of marks. These different objects and their production and sharpening waste are the ultimate evidence of an, as of yet, unidentified activity; possibly linked to working bone, wood or other materials? At Arcy, in Renne Cave, the Chatelperronian burins have at least one explanation; the work of hard animal matter resulting in the production of awls, needles, smoothers and decorative elements (Baffier and Julien, 1990; D’Errico et al., 2001).

17The absence of end scrapers at Ormesson is unusual as this is the best represented tool category at many Chatelperronian sites, or the second most common tool after knives. M. Baillet (Baillet, 2012; Baillet et al., 2014) underlines the numerical importance of these tools which have received much less attention from prehistorians than the famous knives. They represent more than 16% of the toolkit at Basté and 27.6% at Canaule II (Bachellerie, 2011), 19 to 20% at Quincay (Roussel and Soressi, 2014), thick end scrapers account for 52% of the toolkit at Tambourets (Scandiuzzi, 2008), while at Côte N.III, there are 22 end scrapers for 158 tools, or nearly 14% of the toolkit (Pelegrin, 1995). Nearer to Ormesson, end scrapers are abundant in the lithic material from the Chatelperronian layers of Arcy-sur-Cure but they only represent 5% of the total toolkit. Their total absence at Ormesson may be due to different causes: the small size of the excavated surface, which is not representative of all the activities carried out on site, the absence of activities requiring end scrapers at Ormesson, or the use of other tools (in bone for example (fig. 35) for hide processing.

Fig. 35. Ethnographic bone scrapers

Fig. 35. Ethnographic bone scrapers

After Beyries, 2002, CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS

18The virtual absence of the Chatelperronian north of the Loire is called into question by the discovery of the site of Ormesson (fig. 18). Indeed, this seems to be more linked to the current state of research than to a real absence of sites in this sector. In our opinion, the simple observation of the map of Chatelperronian sites presented by M. Soressi and M. Roussel in a recent overview (Roussel and Soressi, 2014) indicates too clean a rupture between a wide southwest/centre-east diagonal, where Chatelperronian sites are relatively frequent, and the region north of the Loire, where Chatelperronian occurrences are extremely rare, apart from the caves of Arcy-sur-Cure and Roche-au-Loup (fig. 42, 43 and 44), which are at approximately the same latitude as the Loire. But this limit seems too clear to us to reflect the actual facts.

Fig. 42. Châtelperronian backed knifes from the site la Roche-au-Loup

Fig. 42. Châtelperronian backed knifes from the site la Roche-au-Loup

After Breuil, 1911

Fig. 43. Châtelperronian backed knives from the site La Roche-au-Loup, excavations by F. Poplin

Fig. 43. Châtelperronian backed knives from the site La Roche-au-Loup, excavations by F. Poplin

CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS

Fig. 44. Châtelperronian backed knives from the site La Roche-au-Loup, surveys by F. Poplin

Fig. 44. Châtelperronian backed knives from the site La Roche-au-Loup, surveys by F. Poplin

CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS

19It is surprising that the caves of Arcy-sur-Cure and the nearby cave of Roche-au-Loup at Merry-sur-Yonne (Parat, 1904; Breuil, 1911; Poplin, 1981, 1982, 1983a, 1983b, 1984, 1985, 1986a, 1987) are the only evidence of Chatelperronian presence in the north whereas the neighbouring hydrographic network continues towards the north in the Yonne Valley and then joins the Seine at Montereau in Seine-et-Marne, offering huge circulation potential towards regions with abundant siliceous raw materials and vast hunting territories, as shown by the intensive Upper Palaeolithic occupations in these regions.

20Thus, the site of Ormesson appears to be particularly exceptional in this Chatelperronian “desert” north of the Loire, especially as it is an open-air site where the risk of mixing with older or more recent levels is minimal, unlike in many rock shelters. The results presented here allow us to lay several milestones for the understanding of a certain number of phenomena linked to the production (and use) of flint equipment and to question the share of bladelets in this industry (Roussel, 2011; Roussel et al., 2016; Bachellerie, 2011).

Haut de page

Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1. Location of les Bossats, Ormesson, Seine-et-Marne
Crédits CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,7M
Titre Fig. 2. Summary cross section displaying the main sedimentary packages and the many archaeological levels
Crédits CAD: H.-G. Naton, Géoarchéon
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,2M
Titre Fig. 4. Châtelperronian level in test-pit 3
Crédits CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 517k
Titre Fig. 5. Location map of the test-pits in which Châtelperronian remains were uncovered at les Bossats, Ormesson, Seine-et-Marne (red stars)
Crédits CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,0M
Titre Fig. 6. Reconstruction of the landscape topography at les Bossats and in the vicinity
Crédits CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 841k
Titre Fig. 7. Map of the estimated distribution of the archaeological levels in the different test-pits
Crédits CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,9M
Titre Fig. 8. Lower part of the northern profile in test-pit 3, showing the location where the micromorphological samples were taken
Crédits H-G. Naton, Géoarchéon
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 600k
Titre Fig. 9. Northern profile in test-pit 50, above the Châtelperronian occupation level
Crédits H-G. Naton, Géoarchéon
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,8M
Titre Fig. 13. Map of the test-pits and areas excavated from 2009 to 2015
Crédits CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,2M
Titre Fig. 14. View of test-pit 50 and the Châtelperronian level at the bottom
Crédits P. Bodu, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 3,0M
Titre Fig. 15. Superimposed Mousterian and Châtelperronian soils in test-pit 3
Légende In the foreground, the Mousterian level, and at the background, the Châtelperronian level
Crédits P. Bodu, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,3M
Titre Fig. 16. Two views of the flint concentration and the ash-rich zone within the Châtelperronian level in test-pit 3
Crédits P. Bodu, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,6M
Titre Fig. 17. Flint concentration in the Châtelperronian level in test-pit 50
Légende Overall view (1) and detail view (2)
Crédits P. Bodu, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,8M
Titre Table III. Bayesian model for the radiocarbon dates concerning the Gravettian and Solutrean levels. This model is generated using ChronoModel (Lanos et al., 2015) and IntCal13 (Reimer et al., 2013).
Légende The results are presented in calendar dates before year 2000 (K2B) and compared with the (NGRIP) δ18O climate record (Stocker and Johnsen, 2003). Dansgaard-Oeschger events (DO) are rapid warming episodes (indicated with black numbers). Three Heinrich events (H5 to H3, indicated in blue) are related to periods of abrupt and rapid cooling
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,4M
Titre Fig. 18. Distribution map of the Châtelperronian sites
Crédits After Roussel and Soressi, 2014
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-15.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,0M
Titre Fig. 21. A blade core from test-pit 50 (on the left) and its refitting (on the right)
Crédits P. Bodu, CNRS & CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-16.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 476k
Titre Fig. 22. Two blade reduction sequences, partially refitted, from test-pit 3
Crédits P. Bodu, CNRS & CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-17.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 616k
Titre Fig. 23. Schematic drawing of a Châtelperronian debitage sequence
Crédits CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-18.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 262k
Titre Fig. 24. Ventral sides of blades showing evidence of the use of soft stone hammers for blank production
Crédits CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-19.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 248k
Titre Fig. 25. Unretouched bladelets from the Châtelperronian level
Crédits P. Bodu, CNRS & CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-20.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 955k
Titre Fig. 26. Three bladelet cores on thick flakes from test-pits 3 (1, 2) and 50 (3)
Crédits P. Bodu, CNRS & CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-21.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,1M
Titre Fig. 27. Refitting of a bladelet core on a small elongated cortical nodule (a) belonging to a flint block from which blades were produced (b)
Crédits P. Bodu, CNRS & CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-22.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,2M
Titre Fig. 28. a: Bladelets with slightly damaged edges; b: Retouched truncated bladelet from test-pit 50: pictures of microwear
Crédits a: CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS & M. Baillet, PACEA; b: CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS & M. Baillet, PACEA
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-23.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,0M
Titre Fig. 29. Clumsy debitages
Crédits P. Bodu, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-24.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 807k
Titre Fig. 30. Châtelperronian knives from test-pits 3 (1-8) and 50 (9)
Crédits CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-25.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,2M
Titre Fig. 31. Detail of microwears on Châtelperronian knives
Crédits M. Baillet, PACEA
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-26.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 745k
Titre Fig. 33. Burins from test-pit 3
Crédits CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-27.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 820k
Titre Fig. 34. Detail of microwears on two burins
Crédits M. Baillet, UMR 5199 PACEA
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-28.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 921k
Titre Fig. 35. Ethnographic bone scrapers
Crédits After Beyries, 2002, CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-29.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,2M
Titre Fig. 42. Châtelperronian backed knifes from the site la Roche-au-Loup
Crédits After Breuil, 1911
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-30.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 811k
Titre Fig. 43. Châtelperronian backed knives from the site La Roche-au-Loup, excavations by F. Poplin
Crédits CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-31.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 728k
Titre Fig. 44. Châtelperronian backed knives from the site La Roche-au-Loup, surveys by F. Poplin
Crédits CAD: M. Ballinger, CNRS
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/452/img-32.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 788k
Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Pierre Bodu, Hélène Salomon, Jessica Lacarrière, Michael Baillet, Michèle Ballinger, Henri-Georges Naton et Isabelle Théry-Parisot, « A Châtelperronian Open-air Site in the Paris Basin: les Bossats at Ormesson (Seine-et-Marne) », Gallia Préhistoire, 57 | 2017, 3-7.

Référence électronique

Pierre Bodu, Hélène Salomon, Jessica Lacarrière, Michael Baillet, Michèle Ballinger, Henri-Georges Naton et Isabelle Théry-Parisot, « A Châtelperronian Open-air Site in the Paris Basin: les Bossats at Ormesson (Seine-et-Marne) », Gallia Préhistoire [En ligne], 57 | 2017, mis en ligne le 15 février 2018, consulté le 19 juin 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/452 ; DOI : 10.4000/galliap.452

Haut de page

Auteurs

Pierre Bodu

UMR 7041 ArScAn – Maison René-Ginouvès, 21 allée de l’Université, 92023 Nanterre cedex – pierre.bodu@mae.u-paris10.fr

Hélène Salomon

Service de Préhistoire – Université de Liège (ULg), Place du XX Août, 4000 Liège, Belgique – helene.salomon@ulg.ac.be

Jessica Lacarrière

UMR 5608 TRACES – CNRS, Université de Toulouse Jean-Jaurès, Maison de la recherche, 5 allées A. Machado, 31058 Toulouse cedex 9 – jessic.laca@gmail.com

Michael Baillet

Université Bordeaux, CNRS, ministère de la Culture et de la Communication – PACEA, Bât. B8, Allée Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, CS 50023, 33600 Pessac Cedex & Universidad de Cantabria, Dept. Ciencias históricas, av. de los Castros, 39005 Santander, Espagne – michael.baillet@u-bordeaux.fr

Michèle Ballinger

UMR 7041 ArScAn – Maison René-Ginouvès, 21 allée de l’Université, 92023 Nanterre cedex – michele.ballinger@mae.u-paris10.fr

Henri-Georges Naton

GéoArchéon, 30 rue de la Victoire, 55210 Viéville-sous-les-Côtes – géoarcheon@geoarcheon.fr

Isabelle Théry-Parisot

Université Côte d’Azur, CNRS, CEPAM – UMR 7264, Maison des Sciences de l’Homme et de la Société Sud-Est, 24 avenue des Diables Bleus, 06357 Nice cedex 4 – isabelle.thery@cepam.cnrs.fr

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur

Gallia Préhistoire

Haut de page
  • Logo CNRS Éditions
  • OpenEdition Journals