This is a Chatelperronian Point found near Brive / France
Several Questions about the Chatelperronian:
- Who made the Chatelperronian? ( Persumably the Neantherthals, but AMHs could aso be the makers )
- Is there an antecedent technocompex? (The MTA-B?, the denticulated Mousterian?, the Protoaurignian?)
- Is there an overlap with the succesive Aurignacian? (Probaby not!- there are no prooven interstratifications)
- Is the Chatelperronian a “transitional” industry? (Probably not-at open air sites the industry is pure leptolithic without any mixture with a “Mousterian” component)
- How old is the Chatelperronian? C-14 dates in a time range of 30-45 k.a. BP are not very reliable to establish an absolute chronology of the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition. It therefore seems to be prudent to use other chronological markers and a relative chronological approach. Approximately 40. k.a. cal BP, a massive volcanic eruption took place in the Phlegraean Fields, in central Italy, spewing a plume of ash across large areas of south-central and Eastern Europe. The eruption deposits of this event are known as Campanian Ignimbrite (CI) Y-5 tephra. The (CI) Y-5 tephra can serve as major chrono-stratigraphic marker for the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition and is dated with high precision by A-40/A-39, independent of the C-14 dating, which gives unreliable data at sites > 30 k.a PB. The eruption event precedes the Heinrich (H) 4 event in the Greenland ice record, which is characterized by a very dry and cold climate.
- Wherever the (CI) Y-5 tephra marker is present, the classic Aurignacian consistently overlies the Campanian Ignimbrite, while the Mediterranean Protoaurignacian (at Castelcivita) and Uluzzian (at Castelcivita and Cavallo) and the “Transitional” Paleolithic industries of the Kostenki area (loci 14 and 17) are found below. The Chatelperronian occupations underlie the Protoaurignacian at Labeko Koba, Le Piage and Castelcivita. In turn; and Protoaurignacian levels are found below levels with Aurignacian I at Morin, Grotte des Fées at Chatelperron, L’Arbreda, Isturitz, Le Piage, Mocchi and Fumane.
- Unfortunately we have not a single site where in situ Chatelperronian is found together with the deposits of the (CI) Y-5 tephra. Stratigraphically the Chatelperronian always underlies the Aurignacian (at multiple sites in the Perigord: for example at La Ferrassie, Laussel; further North- at La Quina, Les Cottes, at Chatelperron and Acry sur Cure-). A Chatelperronian below a Protoaurignacian is known at Cueva Morin, Le Piage and Labeko Koba. Therefore the Paleolithic Sequence for Southern /West Europe is firmly established as: Chatelperronian / Uluzzian – Protoaurignacian-Y-5 tephra (40 k.a. cal BC) followed by the Aurignacien ancien (Aurignacian I).
- Please note that this post is based on the recent syntheses of MELLARS and ZILHÃO. Concerning the French and Italian sites there seems to be an overall agreement in the scientific community regarding the succession of technocomplexes: Chatelperronian / Uluzzian – Protoaurignacian-Y-5 tephra (40 k.a. cal BC) followed by the Aurignacian ancien (Aurignacian I).
- Anyhow in Northern Iberia, the local prehistorians are deeply influenced by the paradigm that the local UP evolves from the local Mousterian. These ensembles, which sometimes are above a Chatelperronian, are called Archaic Aurignacian. At Castillo 18 and Morin8/9 the “Archaic Aurignacian” is intercalated between a typical Aurignacian and a Mousterian. It is characterized by both a discoidal production of flakes, that are transformed to middle Paleolithic tools and a blade and bladelet production from prismatic cores transformed to upper Paleolithic tools. There is a technological continuum between blade and bladelet production by prismatic cores. If these ensembles come from an intact stratigraphy, they could well be called transitional. At Arbreda Cave the basal (“Archaic”) Aurignacian resembles the Protoaurignacian in France/Italy with Dufour and Font Yves bladlets but there are some carinated pieces in this ensemble, which suggest a different chaine operatoire of blade and bladelet production.