The Prehistory of the Bergerac region in the Dordogne.

Two bifaces from Corbiac (Commune de Lembras)

The Bergerac flint outcrops represent one of the finest sources of high quality flint in France. Consequently there is an immense number of Paleolithic and Neolithic Workshops near Bergerac, exposed by plow or by natural erosion, early recognized in the formative days of Prehistory.

“Our trip to Bergerac and Issigeac was very interesting (…). Finally back, we had collected 105 Kilos of flint…(Daleau F., Letter to Grellet-Balguerie 1887). F. Daleau was not the only amateur, who shuffled together enormous amounts of Stone Age implements during the 19th century. During these times many large private collection of flint implements of the Bergerac vicinity were built. For example the collection of Mr. Dumas, a baker, included between twenty thousand and thirty thousand pieces. Five thousand of these implements were later sold to A. De Mortillet for his private collection. While some of these private collections were fully developed during the 20th century, others got missing: At the château de Lanquais, the Vicomte de Gourgue (1801-1885) early cumulated thousand of artifacts for one of the largest prehistoric collections in the Perigord. This collection seems to be irreversibly dispersed during the last 20 years.

While uncontrolled surface collections played a major role until the 1950ies, the first detailed excavations were performed at the Gravettian site of Corbiac (Commune de Lembras) from 1960-1970 by François Bordes. During the following years the Guichards from the National Museum of Prehistory at Les Eyzies prospected and excavated the sites of Canaule, Usine Henry, Les Pendus, Troche, Les Bertranoux and les Barbas (all sites are located in the Commune de Creysse). The next decades saw the emergence of an “Archéologie preventive” and the multidisciplinary excavations of several exceptional sites.

The history of the region begins at 230 k.a. BP (Acheulean at Cantaluette 1) and Combe Brune (156 k.a. PB). Several Mousterian sites with Levallois technique are contested at Garris 2, Combe Brune 1, La Doline, Vieux Coutet and Cantaluette 4) during OIS5-3.

The discovery of the open-air site of Vieux Coutet (Creysse) is of special interest, because it contained three archaeological levels attributed to the Mousterian, Chatelperronian and Early Aurignacian.

The early Aurignacian is also present in situ at Barbas III and La Graulet 6.

Cantaluette 2 was a workshop for large Solutrian Laurel leaves points. Abundant Magdalenian material is present at the Usine Henry, Villazette, Tiregand, Canaule and la Brunetiere Sud. At la Graulet 4 a profound techno-typological analysis of the production sequences was possible.

During the Neolithic, large workshops for the production of large blades were present, sometimes using the ”livre-de-beurre” technique, already known from Grand Pressigny (http://www.aggsbach.de/2011/02/grand-pressigny/).  In addition the INRAP-Archeologists detected the a Neolithic village from the  Late Neolithic period, circa 3,5-3k.a. BC. (http://www.inrap.fr/preventive-archaeology/Press-release/Archives/2007/p-1840-lg1-Bergerac-first-Neolithic-village-in-the-South-West.htm)

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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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One Response to The Prehistory of the Bergerac region in the Dordogne.

  1. Pingback: Handaxe from Bergerac | Aggsbach's Paleolithic Blog

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