Upper Paleolithic from Rochereil (Grand Brassac, Dordogne)


These are broken Azilian points, a backed bladelet from the late Magdalenian and two burins From Rochereil.

The Rochereil cave, is named after the Watermill Moulin de Rochereil located on the right side of the river Dronne near the confluence of the Euche, a right tributary of the Dronne, about 2.5 miles north of Lisle (Dordogne).

The cave is situated in a more than 20 m high limestone cliff. The floor area of Rochereil is not larger than 10 square meters. The prehistoric remains have been found in its interior and on a terrace, situated immediately in the front of the cave.

First “sondages” were carried out in 1900 by the Marquis de Fayolle and M. Feaux. Renewed investigations were performed by P.E. Jude between 1935 and 1939 and published in 1960.

Jude divided the late Pleistocene deposits into several levels and in two sequences, mainly by the typology of the harpoons and the faunal remains. The older sequence is a Magdalenian VI, the younger an Azilian. The stone artifacts of all strata were produced mostly from blue-black flint that can be found in nearby Santonian outcrops.

The basal late Magdalenian is characterized by burins (about 60% of the inventory, including burins bec-de-perroquet), typical late Magdalenian points (Point de Laugerie-Basse, Point de Teyjat). Backed pieces are rather rare (about 10% of the inventory). An important bone and antler industry, decorated with fine engravings is also present. The artifacts displayed here come from this layer.

The following late Magdalenian is characterized by the first appearance of Azilian-points and large blades prepared by a “Retouche écailleuse scalariforme”, which are also found during the following Azilian. Regarding these blades, Peyrony, who visited the cave in the early 1930ies first thought, that they belonged to the Neolithic! Now it is recognized that these features are very characteristic of the “Aziliasation” during the second half of the Bölling Interstadial between the Pyrenees and the Rhone valley.

The sequence ends with a rich upper Azilian layer with a postglacial fauna, mainly characterized by the flat Azilian harpoons made of deer antlers, large retouched blades, Azilian Mono- and Bi-Points and thumbnail scrapers.

Retouched Blades from the Azilian Layer ( From: Jude, P.E. (1960). La grotte de Rochereil: station magdalénienne et azilienne. In: Archives de l’Institut de Paléontologie Humaine, mém 30. Masson)

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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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