Badegoule- an important Archaeological site for the Solutréen and Badegulien in S/W-France


This are some artifacts from the Badegoule. The first tool (Fig. 1) is a “point a face plane”, prototype to the later  “feuilles de Laurier” – during the late phases of the Solutréen (Fig. 2 and 3).

Points a face plane were repeatedly invented during the Old World paleolithic. Their first appearance have been documented during the IUP of Ksar Akil (Lebanon) at ca 40 k.a. BP.  They reappeared during the late Gravettian of s/W- France (Corbiac) and the early  Epigravettian at the Ligurian Coast ( e.g. Balzi Rossi) but also in S-Italy (Paglici cave). Microtraceology indicated their use as projectiles but also as knifes.

The history of research at Badegoule extends back to virtually the beginning of the science of Paleolithic archaeology, when François Jouannet made first soundings at this large site in 1815.

Jouannet (1765–1845) was one of the first who, early in the 19th century dug in the Perigord’s rock shelters and, with considerable insight, distinguished their Paleolithic chipped stone tool industry from the ground and polished forms he found nearby in open-air Neolithic stations. Anyhow, Jouannet´s reference frame in the interpretation of his findings remained the holy bible.  He assumed that the two industries were more or less contemporary and argued that their makers were probably descendants of Noah’s grandson, Gomer, who many antiquaries believed colonized Northwestern Europe following the Deluge.

badegoille 1

The site of Badegoule is located  in the Lardin-Saint-Lazare commune (38 km east of Perigueux, Dordogne, France) at the base and the extremity of a limestone cliff facing south, on the left bank of a tributary of the Le Cern brook, a right tributary of the Vézère. The site consists of three abris and terasses, covering a large surface on the slope of the present relief (ca. 100 m long and 20 m deep).

After first diggings 1815 by F. Jouannet, Badegoule was well known as an archaeological site since the 19th century.  It was mentioned in the seminal works of Lartet and Christy (Reliquiae Aquitanicae) in 1865. The lateral  terasses have been more or less emptied during he 19th century by Hardy, Massenat, Piard and others. In the beginning of the 20th century many more or less conscientious excavators worked there. Between 1909/10 and 1911, the infamous Otto Hauser rented the site and as usual we have no precise information about his research. M. Peyrony made the first scientific excavations and published his results in 1908. More recently, there have been excavations by A. Cheynier (1930, 1948) and by J. Couchard (1966). The latter has worked in a different locus named Badegoule Ouest.

For Peyrony from the base to the top it is possible to distinguish : A = Solutrean (brown level), B = Poor (scree), C = Solutrean (red level), D = Magdalenian (dark brown conglomerate), E = Poor (sandy level), F = Magdalenian (brown level), G = Recent soil. For Cheynier from the base to the top of the stratigraphy, there is : I = Solutrean, a sterile level, II = Middle Solutrean (rubble), III = Middle Solutrean (black with ashes), IV = Upper Solutrean (grey level), V = Final Solutrean (grey level), VI = early Proto-Magdalenian (dark-red hard brecchia), VII = early Proto-Magdalenian (clear-yellow fine, smooth, powdery brecchia). Cheynier principally verified this stratigraphy at Badegoule central. According to Taborin and Thiébault (1994), the correlation between the Peyrony and the Cheynier stratigraphies could be the following : A, C and D = IV and V ; D and F = VI and VII. Note that the Magdalenien and Proto-Magdalenian entities at the site have been renamed in Badegulien.


Geographically confined to Southwestern France and the Iberian Peninsula, and occurring within a moderately short chronological range (c. 25–19 k.a. cal BP) that roughly matches the course of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), the Solutrean represents a clear techno-typological disruption from the preceding pan-European Gravettian / Epigravettian techno-complexes.

Typological chronologies and “fossil directeurs” do not have the time resolution once thought, although it is clear that during the early Solutrean, which is present in S/W-France and Iberia, Points a face plane are common. In the middle and advanced Solutrean, these points are gradually replaced by laurel-leaf points, willow-leaf points and shouldered points.

Local styles appeared, like “the large Laurel leaf phenomenon “, tanged points at Parpallo ( “Parpalló-type” points are now dated to a much earlier time at ca. 25 ka cal BP than previously thought), points with a concave base in Iberia, and bizarre implements, with notches or asymmetrical shapes. The presence, absence and relative frequency of supposedly diagnostic Solutrean points are variable among individual levels and sites for reasons of functional, stylistic and sampling differences.

There is no way to subdivide the Solutrean into general chronological phases based on C-14 dating . Calibrated C-14 data question the status of the traditionally-defined type-fossils as precise temporal markers for each Solutrean phase in S/W-France and Iberia.

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