Solutrean points from the Placard cave

Solutrian points from the Placard cave (middle or upper Solutrian; about 20k.a. BP). This artefacts were made by fine pressure flaking on (heat tempered) excellent flint. Until recently it was suggested, that this techniqe were not invented before the Solutrean of WesternEurope, but there is now a much earlier evidence from the Blombos Cave in Southern Africa from the Sillbay levels at this site at 75 k.a. BP (Mourre et al. 2010).

It seems that first excavations at the Placard cave (Vilhonneur, Charente) took place in 1853. For the next hundred years the cave was the target of surveys and prospects that were performed without serious archaeological methods and without valid accounts.

The official and somewhat theoretical stratigraphy was published by A. de Mortillet in 1906. He described a “Robenhausien” on the top and below, three Magdalenian levels, two Solutrean levels and, at the base the Mousterian. On his stratigraphy, each level was isolated by a sterile layer formed by the debris, which fell from cave ceiling.

Renewed serious excavations during the last 30 years were able to trace intact Paleolithic deposits. The most interesting findings in the Solutrean layers were the detection of a dozen enigmatic signs named: “aviforms” (in the shape of birds wings).  It is suggested that such signs, which are found in the Charente (Le. Placard) and in the Departement Lot (Pech Merle, Cougnac) are constitutive for a  cultural group or even a group with a common ancestor,  who attended these caves during the LGM separated by more than 150 km from each other.

The Placard Cave has played an important role during a famous debate of the Paleolithic research early in the 20th century, the “Aurignacian battle”.  The young H Breuil insisted that the Aurignacien was a Paleolithic entity between the Mousterian and Solutrean and finally proved this fact by stratigraphies of the Les Eyzies vicinity (Laussel, Le Ruth etc.). His opponents insisted that the Mousterian was always followed by the Solutreen, without an intercalated Aurignacien and that Placard was the best place to demonstrate this. Finally Breuil won this battle by scientific evidence and by establishing once and for all that the Aurignacian preceded the Solutrean.

Artifacts from Placard at the Logan Musum:

Art and Signs from Placard:

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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