A large Gravette from the La Rochette rock shelter

This is a large Gravette(8cm long) from the La Rochette rock shelter, introduced during earlier posts. a La Rochette is an  Abri, situated near Le Moustier, which was almost completely destroyed by various ”excavators” (among them the infamous Otto Hauser). H. Delporte worked on what was left during the early 1960ies. He published an important sequence with Charentien- MTA-A and MTA-B, Castelperonnian, Aurignacian (Aurignacien ancien et recent: C14: 36-29 k.a.) followed by a Gravettian with Noailles burins and traces of Solutrean on the top of the sequence.

The artifact displayed here, is a classic large Gravette point , indicating that there must have been a pre-Noailles phase at this rock shelter. Similar observations can be made at the Laussel material, where Font-Robert points, Noailles burins and large Gravettes were lumped together during the “excavations”. Such large Gravettes are characteristic of the Gravettian in the larger Aquitaine before the Tursac oscillation and before the Noailles-phase. Famous examples are the three strata at La Gravette, the Abri Le Poisson, Le Facteur,  Trou de la Chèvre, Roc de Combe (Lot), Laussel, and Abri Pages at Ruth, Roc de Combe Capelle and the couche J at La Ferrassie. Further North, wonderful large Gravettes were found at Les Cottes (Vienne) and at some Belgian sites (Station de l’Hermitage à Huccorgne and at Spy for example). Urther south woderful exmple are known from Isturitz.

At Paglicci Cave (Mount Gargano, South Italy), the early Gravettian is found in layers 23 and 22 and is dated  in a phase between Arcy and Tursac. The industry includes a great number of La Gravette points, but larger points are outdated by microgravettes backed points. Some fragmented fléchettes are also present.

Regarding the rest of Europe, large Gravettes have to be rather suggested as “abnormalities”. During the last decade, early Gravettian sites in France (AZE Camping de Rizerolles; Sire; Vigne Brun)  dating from 29-27 k.a . BP have been excavated. Large Gravettes are absent in these industries. Microgravettes, so called “Nanogravettes”, some Font-Robert points and flechettes (only at Vigne Brun) are characteristic for these ensembles. There are stylistical connections with S/W Germany (Hohle Fels, Geißenklösterle; Level Ia, Neanderthal ) and even with Willendorf 2/5 (30 k.a. BP) and the sites of the east European plain. While microgravettes were used as projectiles, large Gravettes seemed to have served for multiple purposes.

Suggested Reading: http://www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/article/galip_0016-4127_1969_num_12_1_1342

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