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Variety of Chassean burials in the Toulouse region: the contribution of Sauzas (Blagnac, Haute-Garonne)

Fabrice Pons, Muriel Gandelin et Jérôme Rouquet
Traduction de Louise Byrne
p. 47-48
Cet article est une traduction de :
Variété des inhumations chasséennes en région toulousaine : l’apport du site de Sauzas (Blagnac, Haute-Garonne) [fr]

Résumés

Jusqu’à la découverte, en 2008, de l’ensemble funéraire chasséen de Sauzas, (Blagnac, Haute-Garonne), la totalité des inhumations connues dans le Toulousain se trouvait au sein de sites d’habitats, le plus souvent dans des structures de type domestique (fossés, fosses, puits). Pour la première fois, les tombes de Sauzas documentent un groupe de tombes installées à distance de l’habitat et renouvellent profondément la question de la variété des expressions funéraires connues dans le Chasséen garonnais.
Quatre inhumations recelaient des dépôts individuels primaires richement dotés et deux structures de nature apparentée, mais très arasées, ont livré du mobilier qui évoque celui découvert dans les sépultures (tombes partiellement détruites). Les tombes se composent de grandes fosses, certainement fermées par des structures rigides en bois et matérialisées, en élévation, par un aménagement tumulaire en galets et en terre. Ils contenaient des dépôts individuels et double dans un cas, avec un individu masculin accompagné d’un jeune enfant dont les conditions du dépôt n’ont pas pu être éclaircies. Le mobilier est beaucoup plus abondant que dans les inhumations en fosses de type domestique connues régionalement et l’hypothèse que ces sépultures soient celles d’une classe socialement valorisée est envisageable.
Ces données nouvelles viennent enrichir la documentation déjà existante pour le Chasséen garonnais et permettent d’alimenter un débat de fond sur le statut des inhumés dans les différents types de structures connues dans le Chasséen garonnais.

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Notes de la rédaction

This article is not quite a traduction but rather is a long summary of the french article « Variété des inhumations chasséennes en région toulousaine : l’apport du site de Sauzas (Blagnac, Haute-Garonne) ».

Texte intégral

1The funerary complex of Sauzas, discovered at Blagnac (Haute-Garonne) in 2008, changes our perception of the diversity of known Chassean funerary expressions in the Garonne region and raises the question of a possible correlation between the social status of individuals and the treatment of their remains.

2Up until this discovery, all of the burials recorded in the Toulousain were in dwelling sites, and generally in structures with non-funerary primary functions (ditches, pits, shafts; Vaquer et al. 2008). For the first time, the Sauzas tombs record the installation of a complex of tombs at some distance from the dwelling area, on a cliff overlooking the low plain of the Garonne (fig. 2 and 3).

Fig. 2. Location of the area with burials during the excavation of the ZAC of Sauzas (1) and distribution plan of the Neolithic remains of Sauzas (2)

Fig. 2. Location of the area with burials during the excavation of the ZAC of Sauzas (1) and distribution plan of the Neolithic remains of Sauzas (2)

CAD: F. Pons, Inrap

Fig. 3. Distribution plan of the Chassean graves

Fig. 3. Distribution plan of the Chassean graves

CAD: F. Pons, Inrap

3Four tombs contained richly endowed primary individual deposits (fig. 9, 14, 22 and 27) and two similar, but very levelled structures contained objects similar to those discovered in the graves (partially destroyed tombs; fig. 23 and 29). Radiocarbon dates on three of the deceased enable us to attribute two of these graves to the end of the classic Chassean and one to the recent Chassean (table 1; Gandelin 2011).

Fig. 9. Layout of the objects in grave 5151

Fig. 9. Layout of the objects in grave 5151

CAD: M. Gandelin, F. Pons, J. Rouquet, Inrap

Fig. 14. Layout of the objects in grave 5172

Fig. 14. Layout of the objects in grave 5172

CAD: M. Gandelin, F. Pons, J. Rouquet, Inrap

Fig. 22. Layout of the objects in grave 5184

Fig. 22. Layout of the objects in grave 5184

CAD: M. Gandelin, F. Pons, J. Rouquet, Inrap

Fig. 23. Survey of deposit 5195

Fig. 23. Survey of deposit 5195

CAD: J. Rouquet, Inrap

Fig. 27. Layout of the objects in grave 5199

Fig. 27. Layout of the objects in grave 5199

CAD: M. Gandelin, F. Pons, J. Rouquet, Inrap

Fig. 29. Survey of structure 5210 and layout of the objects

Fig. 29. Survey of structure 5210 and layout of the objects

CAD: M. Gandelin, F. Pons, J. Rouquet, Inrap

Table 1. Radiocarbon data obtained on three graves in Sauzas

Table 1. Radiocarbon data obtained on three graves in Sauzas

Bone measurements taken by the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität laboratory, Erlangen-Nürberg (Germany) and calibrated with Oxcal v.4.3 configured with the IntCal13 curve (Reimer et al. 2013)

M. Gandelin, Inrap

4The best preserved funerary structures consist of large pits, probably covered by perishable materials (wood) and a tumulus structure in pebbles and earth (fig. 5). They contained primary individual deposits and a double burial in one case, with a masculine individual accompanied by a young child (fig. 18 and 20). It is not possible to determine whether the child, who is partly lying on a pottery vessel, was deposited at the same time as the deceased adult or buried during a second phase, which would have involved reopening the tomb (Testart 2004). The general organization of the tombs and the layout of the grave goods point to similar conditions for this small group of buried corpses in a restricted space and indicate common burial practices. In this respect, we can consider that these tombs are part of the same funerary complex.

Fig. 5. Tomb 5151 covered by pebbles

Fig. 5. Tomb 5151 covered by pebbles

Photo: O. Dayrens, Inrap

Fig. 18. Grave 5184

Fig. 18. Grave 5184

Photo: O. Dayrens, Inrap

Fig. 20. The child laid out in grave 5184

Fig. 20. The child laid out in grave 5184

Photo: O. Dayrens, Inrap

5The skeletons were placed in a contracted position, lying on the left side, like at most sites during the Middle Neolithic (Jeunesse 2010). They were accompanied by numerous whole objects: selected pottery vessels from domestic productions, axes, flint artefacts or a perforated spheroid (fig. 10).

6Fig. 10: The spheroid from grave 5151 in position during its discovery (photo: O. Dayrens, Inrap).

7The sex of two individuals was determined, both of whom are males. This confirms the previously observed association in the Toulousain between axes –and lithic artefacts in general– and masculine individuals (fig. 36 and 37).

Fig. 36. Synoptic table of Chassean graves in the Garonne region

Fig. 36. Synoptic table of Chassean graves in the Garonne region

CAD: M. Gandelin, Inrap

Fig. 37. Histogram showing the distribution of the different Chassean grave goods in Garonne according to the sex of the buried

Fig. 37. Histogram showing the distribution of the different Chassean grave goods in Garonne according to the sex of the buried

CAD: M. Gandelin, Inrap

8These stone objects, and in particular the perforated spheroid, which is a socially valued object-symbol, are related to practical, real or symbolic aspects of war, or perhaps, although less probably, hunting. They imply that these tombs belonged to a distinguished group with a specific status.

9There are no equivalent funerary structures to Sauzas in the Toulouse region, apart from the more monumental version at Saint-Michel-du-Touch, with tomb A185, or perhaps “Bacrabère” grave, which was excavated a long time ago and for which we have little data (Cap-Jédikian et al. 2008). All of these architectural structures comprise an empty underground chamber associated with a pebble tumulus. We also note that these tombs contain abundant objects compared to burials in domestic type structures.

10This new discovery thus enables us to propose a first typology of the different mortuary expressions recorded in the Chassean in the Garonne region. We note the presence of a monument characterized by exceptional architecture and the quantity and quality of the grave goods deposited with the deceased (tomb A185 at Saint-Michel-du-Touch), smaller funerary monuments with a similar structure to the former, clustered together in an area reserved for funerary purposes with abundant selected grave goods (Sauzas at Blagnac), possibly with tombs located in dwelling zones, made up of funerary pits for laying out the deceased in conventional positions, with or without grave goods, burials in domestic-type structures, in which individuals were installed in conventional positions with rare funerary objects and lastly, corpses deposited in variable, non-conventional positions (Jeunesse 2010), at times with no visible layout, in domestic structures, with no or very rare grave goods.

11These different treatments are not the result of the evolution of funerary practices throughout time as the different types of documented tombs co-exist at several stages of the southern Chassean. However, we observe an increase in grave good deposits throughout the Middle Neolithic (table 2 and fig. 35). The sex and age of the individuals could also affect funerary treatment and the objects associated with the deceased (table 3 and fig. 37).

Tabl. 2. Distribution of Chassean graves furniture in the Garonne region according to the chronological connection of the funeral structures

Tabl. 2. Distribution of Chassean graves furniture in the Garonne region according to the chronological connection of the funeral structures

M. Gandelin, Inrap

Fig. 35. Evolution of the quantity of objects deposited in the graves during the Chassean

Fig. 35. Evolution of the quantity of objects deposited in the graves during the Chassean

CAD: M. Gandelin, Inrap

Tabl. 3. Distribution of Chassean graves furniture in the Garonne region according to the sex of the buried

Tabl. 3. Distribution of Chassean graves furniture in the Garonne region according to the sex of the buried

M. Gandelin, Inrap

Fig. 37. Histogram showing the distribution of the different Chassean grave goods in Garonne according to the sex of the buried

Fig. 37. Histogram showing the distribution of the different Chassean grave goods in Garonne according to the sex of the buried

CAD: M. Gandelin, Inrap

12However, the sample is still too limited and the number of undetermined individuals is still too high to bring to light anything other than tendencies. Nonetheless, the Sauzas graves considerably enrich the available data and remodel our perception of Chassean funerary practices in the Garonne region. These tombs do not belong to ordinary Chassean deceased individuals as this distinctive treatment was only reserved for a few individuals. The numerous enclosures recorded at Chassean sites in the Garonne region indicate that this was a competitive and potentially unstable context, and we can thus envisage the hypothesis of the emergence of a socially valued class, made up of individuals more likely to respond to the dangers faced by the whole population.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 2. Location of the area with burials during the excavation of the ZAC of Sauzas (1) and distribution plan of the Neolithic remains of Sauzas (2)
Crédits CAD: F. Pons, Inrap
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/751/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 637k
Titre Fig. 3. Distribution plan of the Chassean graves
Crédits CAD: F. Pons, Inrap
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/751/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 179k
Titre Fig. 9. Layout of the objects in grave 5151
Crédits CAD: M. Gandelin, F. Pons, J. Rouquet, Inrap
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/751/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 336k
Titre Fig. 14. Layout of the objects in grave 5172
Crédits CAD: M. Gandelin, F. Pons, J. Rouquet, Inrap
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/751/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 421k
Titre Fig. 22. Layout of the objects in grave 5184
Crédits CAD: M. Gandelin, F. Pons, J. Rouquet, Inrap
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/751/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 325k
Titre Fig. 23. Survey of deposit 5195
Crédits CAD: J. Rouquet, Inrap
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/751/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 181k
Titre Fig. 27. Layout of the objects in grave 5199
Crédits CAD: M. Gandelin, F. Pons, J. Rouquet, Inrap
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/751/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 307k
Titre Fig. 29. Survey of structure 5210 and layout of the objects
Crédits CAD: M. Gandelin, F. Pons, J. Rouquet, Inrap
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/751/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 181k
Titre Table 1. Radiocarbon data obtained on three graves in Sauzas
Légende Bone measurements taken by the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität laboratory, Erlangen-Nürberg (Germany) and calibrated with Oxcal v.4.3 configured with the IntCal13 curve (Reimer et al. 2013)
Crédits M. Gandelin, Inrap
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/751/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 268k
Titre Fig. 5. Tomb 5151 covered by pebbles
Crédits Photo: O. Dayrens, Inrap
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/751/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 581k
Titre Fig. 18. Grave 5184
Crédits Photo: O. Dayrens, Inrap
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/751/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 902k
Titre Fig. 20. The child laid out in grave 5184
Crédits Photo: O. Dayrens, Inrap
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/751/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,3M
Titre Fig. 36. Synoptic table of Chassean graves in the Garonne region
Crédits CAD: M. Gandelin, Inrap
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/751/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,3M
Titre Fig. 37. Histogram showing the distribution of the different Chassean grave goods in Garonne according to the sex of the buried
Crédits CAD: M. Gandelin, Inrap
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/751/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 82k
Titre Tabl. 2. Distribution of Chassean graves furniture in the Garonne region according to the chronological connection of the funeral structures
Crédits M. Gandelin, Inrap
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/751/img-15.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 689k
Titre Fig. 35. Evolution of the quantity of objects deposited in the graves during the Chassean
Crédits CAD: M. Gandelin, Inrap
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/751/img-16.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 81k
Titre Tabl. 3. Distribution of Chassean graves furniture in the Garonne region according to the sex of the buried
Crédits M. Gandelin, Inrap
URL http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/docannexe/image/751/img-17.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 724k
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Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Fabrice Pons, Muriel Gandelin et Jérôme Rouquet, « Variety of Chassean burials in the Toulouse region: the contribution of Sauzas (Blagnac, Haute-Garonne) »Gallia Préhistoire, 58 | 2018, 47-48.

Référence électronique

Fabrice Pons, Muriel Gandelin et Jérôme Rouquet, « Variety of Chassean burials in the Toulouse region: the contribution of Sauzas (Blagnac, Haute-Garonne) »Gallia Préhistoire [En ligne], 58 | 2018, mis en ligne le 29 août 2018, consulté le 03 décembre 2020. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/galliap/751; DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/galliap.751

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Auteurs

Fabrice Pons

INRAP Grand-Sud-Ouest, ASM, UMR 5140 Archéologie des Sociétés méditerranéennes — fabrice.pons@inrap.fr

Muriel Gandelin

INRAP Méditerranée, UMR 5608 TRACES, Université de Toulouse Jean-Jaurès — muriel.gandelin@inrap.fr

Jérôme Rouquet

INRAP Grand-Sud-Ouest, UMR 5199 PACEA — jerome.rouquet@inrap.fr

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Droits d’auteur

Gallia Préhistoire

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