The Badegoulian: Ugly Technocomplex- or Sophisticated Adaption?


The research history regarding the Badegoulian technocomplex began 1939 with the publication of Cheynier (1939) on a certain “Proto-Magdalenian” of the Badegoule site (not to be confused to the late Gravettian at Pataud, Laugerie and Le Blot!). The name of this cultural stage has changed through the last decades from Proto-Magdalenian to Magdalenian 0 and Magdalenian I, which has caused some confusion. The term generally in use today is the Badegoulian with oldest dates from S/W-France (23,500 and 20,500 cal. BP), generally suggested to be the region of origin of the Badegoulian.

The Badegoulian is the technocomplex short after the LGM and during the Lascaux oscillation.The time around the LGM was a cold and harsh climate attracting steppic animals such as reindeer, horse, saiga antelope and mammoth. During the following Lascaux oscillation, which is contemporary with the Badegoulian complex, the climate became warmer and more humid. These improved climate changes complemented the fauna situation with larger bovids as bison and aurochs and red deer during the Lascaux oscillation.

The Badegoulian is present from the South/West France to the Paris Basin with some outliners in Northern Spain and the Rhone valley.  The site of Wiesbaden-Igstadt in the central Rhineland , the Kastelhöhle-Nord Middle Horizon in the Swiss Jura and the Zoitzberg scatter close to Gera in Thuringia reveal great similarities to the early Badegoulian and may indicate an extension of the technocomplex to central Europe during short episodes.

Recent Badegoulian  research has been concentrated on south-western France, an unique environmental mosaic extending from the plains of the Aquitaine and Languedoc up to the foothills of the Pyrenees, incorporating the limits of the Poitou region to the north, the limestone plateaus of the Massif Central to the east, and bound to the west by the “Sands of the Landes”.


Generally the lithic industry was only moderate standardized and characterized by a prominent flake production. Blades and an independent bladelet production ( with secondary products:“pièce de la Bertonneare”) are present, but in smaller quantities compared to the later Magdalenian. The technology is characterized as a highly adaptive  “Travel technology”.

The tool assemblages from the Badegoulian are determined by two types, which have chronologically significance. The transverse burins together with star shaped perçoirs dominate the Early Badegoulian (Badegoulien Inferieur), whereas the raclettes dominate the Late Badegoulian (Badegoulien Superieur). Furthermore, the Badegoulian bone industry was produced by a unique technique where the reindeer antlers were worked by direct percussion, which was used to modify the flattened sagaies sections.

In S/W France, the second part of the Upper Paleolithic witnessed an abrupt change in the development of technological traditions: around 19,5 k.a. BP (23,5–23 k.a. cal. BP), the Solutrean industries disappeared and were replaced by very different Badegoulian assemblages. On the other hand,  it seems that the Badegoulian was one (but not the only one) root of  the Magdalenian around 17,5 k.a.BP (20,5 BP).

Fig. 1: Vezere Valley (found near St. Leon), Fig. 2 and 3: La Chapelle-Saint-Megmin (Loiret)

Station du Paléolithique supérieur à La Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin (Loiret)

sem-linkAbbé A. Nouel

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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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8 Responses to The Badegoulian: Ugly Technocomplex- or Sophisticated Adaption?

  1. Simona says:

    Dear Katzman,
    new dates suggests that Solutrean, in W/E France, ends around 20 ka Bp.
    In your article I read that Solutrean industries disappeared around 23 ka BP.

    Thank you.

  2. Katzman says:

    Hi Simona,

    non calibrated 20 k.a. BP can be translated in calibrated 23 k.a. cal. BP.

    “In S/W France, the second part of the Upper Paleolithic witnessed an abrupt change in the development of technological traditions: around 19,5 k.a. BP (23,5–23 k.a. cal. BP), the Solutrean industries disappeared and were replaced by very different Badegoulian assemblages”.

    Best Regards
    JLK (

  3. Simona says:

    Sorry, I would say ends around 20 cal Bp.
    I have now two terminal dates for Solutrean: 23 cal Bp and 20 cal Bp.

    I don’ t know when Solutrean ends in France.

    Thank you


  4. Katzman says:

    Papers for free:

    On the Chronological Structure of the Solutrean in Southern Iberia:

    “In the framework of the European Upper Paleolithic the Solutrean techno-complex emerges as
    one of the most unique and intriguing cultural phenomena. Geographically confined to Southwestern
    France and the Iberian Peninsula, and occurring within a moderately short chronological
    range (c. 25–19 ka cal BP) that roughly matches the course of the Last Glacial Maximum
    (LGM), it represents a clear disruption from the previous pan-European techno-complexes”

    Or : Lawrence Guy Straus, David J. Meltzer and Ted Goebel: Ice Age Atlantis? Exploring the
    Solutrean-Clovis ‘connection’

  5. Jef Mennes says:

    How can I download the book “Le Solutréen en France” de P. Schmidt?

    Many thanks,

  6. Katzman says:

    The heavy weighted pdf can be downloaded via Bruce Bradly`s page:

  7. Charles Hannan says:

    Hello, I live in the Limburg region of Belgium and walk fields regularly in search of stone tools, in which I have quite a few now. One in particular is very similar to the star shaped stone, only mine has just two points creating a heart shape. I have photos if you are interested in them since my location isn’t too far from the ones you have described in your article. Thanks so much,


  8. Katzman says:

    Interesting!- you can send the photos to my email adress:

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