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Un habitat azilien en Anjou : les Chaloignes à Mozé-sur-Louet (Maine-et-Loire)

Abstract : The site of Chaloignes (Mozé-sur-Louet, Maine-et-Loire) was excavated in 1999 over surface of 9200 m2. This work led to the first description of a complex habitat of the Final Palaeolithic on the Armorican Massif and clarified our image of Azilian technical choices. The immediate environment was strongly influenced by the Loire River, with 10 km of banks accessible within a range of 5 km. Three small thalwegs converge in this “basin”, which is closed by a narrow outlet associated with a quartz vein. This natural deposition favoured the preservation of Tardiglacial levels, sometimes under a Middle La Tène habitat (northern part of the site), and sometimes directly under the topsoil (southern part of the site). The habitats are sealed by colluviums in all the valleys. Geomorphological and micromorphological analyses show evidence for a first phase of erosion during a periglacial climatic period, followed by a complex phase of silt deposits with Azilian remains lying on top of them. The deposition of this level at this moment attests to improvement in climatic conditions that we correlate with the Alleröd interstadial. These deposits later show elements indicating a new period of cold conditions (Late Dryas) and sedimentary truncations. The lithic artefacts that can be attributed to the Azilian were found within ten homogeneous loci, two homogeneous zones and two others with a strong Azilian component along with posterior intrusions. There is an additional locus dated to the Final Neolithic. The spatial units cover 25 m2 to 70 m2. There is construction, hearth, rubified zone or wall effect is perceptible. The preservation of organic materials is compromised by the acidity of the sediments of the Armorican Massif. The flint knappers at Chaloignes most often acquired their raw materials from the closest sources. These materials consist essentially of cobbles from the Loire terraces, the closest of which were located less than 2 km away. In variable proportions in the loci, we also identified ten materials with a non-rolled cortex that originate from the sedimentary basins. Ochre was gathered from the Armorican sandstone formations, located around 10 km north of the site, perhaps under the current city of Angers or more to the north on the edge of the Armorican Massif. The objectives of the lithic production sequence were double: to produce small, rectilinear blade blanks to be transformed into projectile weapon elements and short flakes with a consistent thickness to be transformed into scrapers. The debitage is mostly bipolar and realized with hard stone hammer and little striking platform preparation. The principal tools in this Azilian assemblage from Chaloignes are asymmetric monopoints with an arched back (Azilian Points), a few backed bladelets, burins on a truncation or break, thumbnail scrapers and end scrapers on blades. This industry presents a sufficient number of elements to attribute it to either to a late phase of the Azilian, or to the monopoint phase at the end of the Alleröd interstadial (around 10,800 BP, or 11,000 BC). All of the tool types are represented at all of the loci; a detailed analysis of the proportions of types nonetheless indicates a possible spatial segmentation of activities. A functional analysis showed that in addition to the hunting activities directly demonstrated by the presence of weapon elements, the technical processes identified were mostly associated with skin and bone working. Many of the lithic objects were abandoned in place without having been used. Locus 11 is the only one that yielded three cobbles engraved with fine, parallel lines. These objects were found in a clear stratigraphic position and can thus be associated with certitude to the Azilian occupation. The functioning of the loci was probably discontinuous in time. The “basin” of Chaloignes, which was sheltered from the wind and contained a spring, must have offered certain advantages to groups exploiting this side of the Loire Valley: the forest cover was perhaps more developed here than on the step with Poaceae described by palynological analyses in the Mayenne department. The economic territory was influenced by the Loire, which composed a vast intersection between several rivers.
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Grégor Marchand, Rémy Arthuis, Sylvie Philibert, Farid Sellami, Sandra Sicard, et al.. Un habitat azilien en Anjou : les Chaloignes à Mozé-sur-Louet (Maine-et-Loire). Gallia Préhistoire – Préhistoire de la France dans son contexte européen, CNRS Éditions, 2009, 51, pp.1-111. ⟨10.3406/galip.2009.2475⟩. ⟨hal-02022735⟩



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