Fontmaure and the “Moustérien typique final à lames”

These are blades from the Fontmaure site putatively assigned to the upper Mousterian level detected by Luis Pradel in 1938.

The Fontmaure site was first recognized in 1905, plundered by amateurs until 1935 ,and finally destructed by quarry operations. Fontmaure is famous for its multicolored jasper artefacts. Artifacts from the site represent a long time span between the Acheulean and the Neolithic.

Pradel described two Mousterian levels: A lower level with a classic MTA ensemble and an upper level, called by him: “Moustérien typique final à lames”. The artifacts were embeded in an old soil and putatively described to an interstadial of the last glaciation-a designation which is not really helpful regarding the many climatically “up`s” and “downs” during late OIS5 and OIS3. Handaxes were virtually absent. The blades are relatively short and broad and both Breuil and F. Bordes claimed a “typical Mousterian character” for them. A number of small bladelets were also part of this ensemble. Most blades are made, regarding my own observations, from bipolar cores using a hard hammer technique. Some pyramidal cores were also present. Retouched tools comprise scrapers and elongated Mousterian „points“. Pradel described several burins and endscrapers and several backed blades, resembling Abri Audit points.  He also described many backed elements, which he called: “tablettes à bord abattu”. These items are essentially very different from any known middle or upper Paleolithic types of the region and may represent rejuvenation debitage. Flakes were detached from discoid cores while the Levallois technique is quasi absent.

It is lamentable, that the Fontmaure site, which could be assigned to a new “facies” of a late Mousterian has been destroyed and was excavated “too early”. No modern technological analysis has been performed on the old material. The significance and chronological position of the “Moustérien typique final à lames” will therefore remain open for further discussions and maybe these issues may never be sufficiently resolved.

The site today. Intact strata are said to be still present at the site (Courteously by Walter Stroowinder)

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One Response to Fontmaure and the “Moustérien typique final à lames”

  1. Calvet says:

    A small precision on the site of Fontmaure:
    There are still moustériens levels “in position” in the region of Fontmaure.
    What means, that everything is not lost for the study of the context of the beautiful industries in “jasper”.
    Thank you for your magnificent blog!!
    Best regards

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