Solutean Shouldered Point from Fourneau du Diable


Fourneau du Diable is a Rock Shelter open to the south at the junction of the Moneries and Dronne valley (right bank) between Brantome and Bourdeilles. The site  consists of two terasses  in a line of cliffs, named upper and lower terasse. Other sites in the vicinity are the cave of Pey de l’Azé (Solutréen supérieur), des Bernous (Moustérien, Aurignacien), abri des Bernous (Solutréen supérieur), abris des Francillous, grotte de Montama (Aurignacien), and the even famous Trou de la Chèvre (Moustérien, Gravettien, Aurignacien).
The site was first recognized as early as 1863 and later excavated by D. Perony, who established the gross  stratigraphy for the upper and lower terasse and published his results in 1932. Peyronyies ilustrations were, as usually crude, but there are very fine photographs of the Solutrean samples.
On the lower terasse a Gravettian with (Micro)-Gravettes, Elements tronquees and Noailles Burins was found below a Solutrean with leaf points and some Solutrean shouldered points.
The Solutreen of the upper trerasse (3 layers) was more abundant with several hundred samples of extremely fine made shouldered points. While in the lower two layers, leaf points were also present, points a cran were the only projectiles found in the upper layer.

In Europe, points with hafting specializations are represented by a variety of shouldered and tanged points from the Gravettian, Pavlovien, Willendorf-Kostenkian, Solutrean, Epigravettian and Magdalenian. In Asia tanged points appeare  early in the upper paleolithic. Because of the presence of a clearly defined penetrating triangle combined with an elongated hafting mechanism, this class of projectiles  tends to be long and thin. It has been demonstrated that shouldered points became narrower and thinner over time, suggesting the more efficient use of raw material and increasing skills of Homo Sapiens in producing such a sophisticated weaponry.

The tip cross-sectional area (TCSA, calculated by the formula: 1/2 maximum width x maximum thickness) is one variable that influences the penetration of a projectile. The smaller the TCSA, the higher is the killing efficiency.  For Solutrean shouldered points the TCSA is lower than the TCSA for MSA-, Levallois-, Clovis- and Folsom- Points and within the range of values found for Neolithic arrow-heads (Villa 2009). It can be suggested that the late Solutrean points could have been used for the bow and arrow technology, allthough there is no direct evidence for this technology before the younger Dryas (Ahrensburgian).

About Katzman

During my whole life I was fascinated by stone age artefacts. Not only the aesthetic qualities of these findings, but also the stories around them and the considerations arising from their discovery, are a part of my blog. Comments and contributions are allways welcome! About me: J.L. Katzman (Pseudonym). Born in Vienna. Left Austria in 1974 and did not regret. Studied Medicine and Prehistory at a German University. Member of a Medical Department at a German University. Copyright 2010-2017 by JLK. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to use material in these posts so long as you cite the work.
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