The Chatelperronian Industry The Chatelperronian Industry was an important industry in the central and southern parts of France. The term Chatelperronian comes from a site named la Grotte des Fees in the town of Chatelperron (Gravina et al, 2005). The industry is considered to be the earliest in the area, occurring in the Upper Palaeolithic era between 35,000 and 29,000 years ago (Gravina et al, 2005)…
As part of the Palaeolithic, there is heavy use of the lithic reduction technique and an emphasis on the use of one or two striking points as a way of creating stone tools (Movius, 1969). One of the most interesting aspects of the Chatelperronian industry is that many of the finds correspond to the period of transition between the middle and upper Palaeolithic eras, meaning that the Chatelperronian industry could straddle the interactions between Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens (Lenoble, 2008). In fact, recent analysis of bone samples from the Grotte du Renne and Saint Cesaire areas of France suggest that there are Chatelperronian tools that have been manufactured by Neanderthals (Hublin et al, 2012).. Evidence suggests that it was manufactured by later Neanderthals after interaction with Homo sapiens, suggesting that there may have been a cultural overlap between the two species and some sharing of ideas (Hublin et al, 2012) As previously mentioned, many of the key sites for research into the Chatelperronian industry are based in France, with St. Cesaire, Grotte du Renne at Arcy-sur-Cure, La Ferassie, Brassempouy, Roc de Combe and Le Piage being the most important and the most well-covered by the literature (Mellars, 2000). These sites have thrown up countless pieces of lithic evidence, including several types of stone tool that can be compared to Mousterian occupation artefacts (Harrold, 1981). Additionally, these sites have also shown that there are some key important features of the Chatelperronian industry, including the use of bone, shell and ivory in the tool-making proves – not often found at other archaeological sites of the same era (Lenoble, 2008). The history of research into the Chatelperronian is varied. At the Grotte des Fees, there are two cave entrances which play an important part in the development of the excavations in the areas. These were named in 1955 by Henri Delporte (Bailey & Hublin, 2006). However, the area has been of interest to archaeologists for some time, with Bailleau excavating and exploring the area since 1869 (Bailey & Hublin, 2006). The recognition of the site as important historically comes from these two researchers, who built on early recognition of the site in the middle parts of the 19th century by discovering fossilferous deposits full of relevant faunal remains (Riel-Salvatore et al, 2008). Early research by Bailleau focused mainly on the two caves in the area, which feature two levels – one of sands and silts from the Graveron river and deposit later of Gallo-Roman pots. In this early research, there was no evidence of bones or flint artefacts – later believed to be the result of Gallo-Roman looting or later railway workers in the area (Lenoble, 2008). It was the second cave that was explored that was more important archaeologically because it was intact and full of modern animal species remains. There was still no evidence of flint artefacts at this stage of excavation, although Bailleau interpreted some of the animal bone evidence from the second cave as proof that there was human activity at some point during the Pleistocene (Lenoble, 2008). It was actually the later work of Delporte that highlighted the importance of the site as a transition between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens. A series of small tests in 1962 showed that further excavations beyond the west profile of the cave wall showed ...
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