The limestone caves and abris along the Vézère offer some of the most interesting and important prehistoric sites in the world. Limestone is a sedimentary rock that consists mainly of calcium carbonate produced by the amalgam of the calcareous remains of marine animals. Rockshelters are natural overhangs or shallow caves that were formed through wind erosion, water erosion, and the dissolution of soft layers within the rock.
The Prehistoric deposits of Belcayre are located on the territory the municipality of Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère, a charming little village, in a curve in the Vézère river. For the entire area, four rockshelters with Palaeolithic remains have been identified. A small shelter with Magdalenian findings, called Gîte inondé in the Literature, a collapsed abri with three superimposed Paleolithic deposits called Abri de Metairie, an other small shelter without a name that was destroyed during quarry operations and a rockshelter one hundred fifty meters further downstream, called Abri de la gravure du Renne.
Much of the Paleolithic deposits at Abri de la Métairie have been destroyed during road building operations in 1885. The succession of strata begins with a denticulated Mousterian, followed by an Aurignacian I (and maybe also by an Aurignacian II/III) and a “older” Magdalenian of unknown age. While the Aurignacian of the nearby Abri du Renne is rich in burins, the corresponding strata at the Abri de la Métairie are poor in these implements, which were almost made on flakes, not on blades. I therefore suggest that the two burins displayed here are from the poorly characterized Magdalenian levels.