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Quel(s) Aurignacien(s) à l’abri Blanchard (Sergeac, Dordogne, France) ?: Données des collections d’industrie osseuse conservées aux États-Unis et retour sur le terrain

Abstract : In 1910, Marcel Castanet began excavations at abri Blanchard (Sergeac, Dordogne) under the direction of Louis Didon. Two archaeological layers, separated by a sterile one, were recognized and attributed to the Middle Aurignacian (sensu Breuil), today widely known as Aurignacian I with split-based points. Even today, abri Blanchard remains one of the richest sites for this period in terms of osseous artifacts. In theory, the Blanchard assemblage retains considerable potential to contribute to our knowledge of the first societies of the Upper Paleolithic. Nevertheless, for more than 50 years, serious doubts have been raised about L. Didon's chronocultural attribution, several authors having hypothesized that the upper level reflects a more recent Aurignacian occupation. Unfortunately, Didon and Castanet's excavations were carried out according to the concerns and practices of another time, resulting in incomplete archaeological assemblages without precise stratigraphic and spatial context. To make matters worse, L. Didon mixed the artifacts from the two levels and sold them in batches to several French and foreign buyers. This fact has made it logistically difficult to undertake a comprehensive study of this important material. Of those parts of the collection that were dispersed by L. Didon, the four sent to the United States and now curated at the American Museum of Natural History (New York), the Wilson Museum (Castine, Maine), the Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago, Illinois) and the Logan Museum of Anthropology (Beloit, Wisconsin), are the most overlooked. Osseous artifacts being well represented in these collections, we have undertaken a thorough analysis, in part to try to infer a chronocultural attribution. This study has allowed us to identify artifacts attributable to the Early and Later Aurignacian. Importantly, a recent field operation at Blanchard has led to the discovery of a fragment of a layer, providing clear evidence of Late Aurignacian in the shelter. However, the position and the sedimentary and archaeological composition of the layer suggest a derived or secondary context. Above all, the analysis of the Blanchard material has highlighted our profound lack of knowledge concerning the Late Aurignacian. It points out the necessity to prioritize the study of other older collections and undertake new excavations in an attempt to better characterize the archaeological material and to reconstruct the chronology and evolution of the Aurignacian in SW France.
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Elise Tartar, White Randall, Laurent Chiotti, Catherine Cretin, Romain Mensan. Quel(s) Aurignacien(s) à l’abri Blanchard (Sergeac, Dordogne, France) ?: Données des collections d’industrie osseuse conservées aux États-Unis et retour sur le terrain. PALEO Revue d'Archéologie Préhistorique, Société des amis du Musée national de préhistoire et de la recherche archéologique — SAMRA, 2014, pp.309-331. ⟨hal-02356088⟩

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