Laugerie Points in the late Magdalenian of S/W-France: The reappearance of the Flechette

laugerie aggsbach flechette 1

aggsbach

This is a Flechette (“Point de Laugerie”) from Laugerie basse, found during the early 20th century excavations at the site. These armatures are known from the “Magdalenien superieur” in the Aquitaine and Vienne (Laugerie basse, Grotte Richard / Eyzies, Rochereil, Limeul, Teyjat,La Madeleine, Longueroche, Abri Morin, Abri Faustin) and although they are not very common, even at large aggregation sites, points de Laugerie together with points de Teyjat and Magdalenian shouldered points are markers of regional group identity. It is interesting that Flechettes and even large Gravettian-points reappeared in the late Paleolithic record about 15 k.a. after their first appearance during the early Gravettian, indicating that the solutions for effective stone tipped weaponry are limited and are invented and reinvented again. Such artifacts are not known from other important Magdalenian provinces in Europe (Rhine valley, Moravia, Paris basin, Pyrenees’..).

Functional study of Magdalenian projectiles showed traces and residues identifying them as hafted armatures. While small backed bladelets were part of a composite weapon, points de Laugerie, Points de Teyjat and Magdalenian shouldered points are characterized as “stand alone” projectile heads to be used in darts or arrows.

Points de Laugerie are made from foliated straight blades with an average length of ca 5,5 cm at Morin. They are always characterized by inverse retouche on at least one margin of the piece.  Retouches are usually alternating (direct on one margin and inverse on the other) and maybe confined to the tip and the base. Bilateral invers retouches are often seen on the base of the piece ( as in the example that is displayed here). The retouche is generally flat or semi abrupt, despite the occasional presence of a few abrupt retouches.

Until now we have no techno-functional characterisation of the production and use of these interesting projectiles. I even miss a work about their spread during the late Magdalenian.

Suggested Readings: 

http://www.rechercheisidore.fr/search/resource/?uri=10670/1.mdjdas

The original Laugerie Basse, known as l’abri Classique, was completely excavated, and the abri is now occupied by buildings, including shops, a restaurant and private dwellings. From the admirable web-site: Don’s Maps

img_0532laugeriebasseclassique

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