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La fracturation du bois de renne à l’Aurignacien : mise en évidence d’une nouvelle modalité d'exploitation impliquant la percussion directe

Abstract : As early as the beginning of the early 20th century the prehistorians who had carried out research on Aurignacian assemblages identified the use of splitting on reindeer antlers, but it was not until the late 1990s that in-depth technical analysis of worked antler objects from the Aurignacian was undertaken. Based on the study of several archaeological assemblages, more particularly the one stemming from Denis Peyrony’s excavations at the Castanet rock shelter (northern sector) and on experimental reconstructions, Despina Liolios confirmed the use of splitting on antler and identified it as part of a procedure, known as the ‘splitting and wedging procedure’ (the production of sections by transverse cutting of the beam, followed by longitudinal division of the sections by splitting/ wedging). The ‘splitting and wedging procedure (refend) was then considered as being the only method used by the Aurignacian people to produce elongated rod-shaped antler blanks (baguettes). However, during the 2000s the study of new Aurignacian assemblages made it possible to identify artefacts the characteristics of which attest to the use of different fracturing technique (sensu Christensen, 2016) for antler processing: direct percussion. Among these assemblages the onr stemming from the recent excavation carried out at the Castanet rock shelter (southern sector, directed by Jacques Pelegrin and Randall White, followed by Randall White) is notable. Other artefacts which were produced using the same technique were also identified amongst the assemblages stemming from the early 20th century excavations (northern sector) of the site. Because they call into question the exclusivity of the use of the ‘splitting and wedging procedure’, these indications for the use of direct percussion prompted us to undertake a reassessment of the reindeer antler exploitation systems at the Castanet rock shelter. The study of morpho-technical characteristics of antler blanks confirmed that at least some were indeed a result of lato sensu fracturing involving direct percussion. This technique was also used as a first step in the initial shaping of objects. However, in the absence of sound conservation of the archaeological remains, the overall dynamics of antler exploitation remains unclear, and will require the use of experimental reconstruction to be refined.
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Elise Tartar. La fracturation du bois de renne à l’Aurignacien : mise en évidence d’une nouvelle modalité d'exploitation impliquant la percussion directe. "À coup d'éclats" La fracturation des matières osseuses en Préhistoire : discussion autour d'une modalité d'exploitation en apparence simple et pourtant mal connue, Apr 2017, Paris, France. pp.119-138. ⟨hal-02359140⟩

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