Gravettian with Noailles Burins

These are typical Noailles Burins from the Fourneau du Diable Site in the Dordogne.

The upper paleolithic with Noailles Burins (Noaillian of Nicholas David or Périgordien Vc of Denis Peyrony at La Ferrassie) is considered to be an integral part of the Gravettian technocomplex during the Tursac-oscillation, although backed pieces are uncommon in “Noaillian” ensembles. The Noaillian is concentrated in S/W-France, especially in the larger Aquitaine, Pyrenees, Charente, Lot/Tarn et Garonne, and the Brive vicinity. There are also sites in the Provence and at the Tyrrhenian coast in Italy.

The Noailles burin is a small and even microlitic angle burin on retouched truncation, often multiple, and with thin removals stopped by notches. The burin is named after the Cave of Noailles in the Correze, first “excavated” in 1900 by Bardon and Bouyssonie just within a week. The Noaillian is characterized by a high percentage of typical burins and a low frequency of backed pieces. Functional studies on Noailles burins are rare.

There is an ongoing debate if the Noaillian represents:

  •  an evolutionary stage
  • a specific ethnic Group (the “Noaillians”)
  • a particular activity within the Gravettian technocomplex

At the Noaillian settlement of Bilancino, dated about 25.k.a BP, archaeological documentation, chemical analysis and microtraceology, reconcile to a functional interpretation of Noaillian burins. This site was a seasonal camp for the harvesting and the processing of rushes (Typha) and grasses (Gramineae). The excavations revealed that these wild plants were processed by a grinder and a grindstone to flour. Bilancino is one of the earliest examples for this technique during the upper Paleolithic so far. If Noailles Burins were selectively used for processing plants is unknow, but rather improbable regarding the multifunctional use of many other upper paleolithic tools.

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