Gravettes from S/W-France


Gracettes obliques katzmanThese are broken Gravette Points from the sites of Laugerie haute, Laussel and La Gravette in the Aquitaine.

Gravette Points are generally made from slender and narrow blades (“Gravettes”) or bladelets (“Microgravettes”). These points are characterized by a  straight or slightly curved blunted back , which is formed by very abrupt retouches. Many Gravettes have additional retouches  on the non-blunted edge, either near the point or near the base.

Gravette Points are part of  hunting equipments, and may have been inserted in to darts or arrows, although the organic remains of such implements have not been found so far.

Our imagination about Gravettian hunters is strongly biased towards Mammoth hunting and Mega Sites (aggregation sites? –for example at Dolní Vestonice I, Pavlov I and Predmostí I) of M/E-Europe. Anyhow in S/W-France, Red Deer and Reindeer hunting was the most important task of the Gravettian hunters. Mass kills of Reindeer, which are well known from later times (for example: Maiendorf, Stellmoor), were rather unlikely in the Aquitaine.

Archaeofaunal studies showed, that seasonally of hunting of a given species, rather than year-round killing, was a characteristic at several sites during the Gravettian in the Dordogne:

  • Cold-season hunting of red deer in Flageolet-1/7 and reindeer at Abri Pataud 5 and 3
  • Warm-season hunting of red deer in Ferrassie D2
  • Migration hunting (spring and fall only) of reindeer in Pataud 4.

Although, similar technical equipment, symbolic expressions and the “Venus statuettes” have been found over an enormous area and might suggest a high grade of uniformity of “Gravettian societies”, the hunting tactics of S/W-France may have been very different from those of other Microregions.

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