Soucy near Lalinde / Dordogne

This is a heavy burin on truncation coming from a collection assembled before 1930 by Mr. Sanay in Paris, found at the rock shelter of Soucy near the Roche de Lalinde and Gare de Couze site in the Dordogne / S/W-France.

These sites are famous for their engravings, especially those of female figurines engraved on limestone slabs, once called by G. Bosinski: Femmes sans tête. These figurines were made both as portable statues, rock engravings, stone plaquettes and schist slabs.  They display no head and are represent highly stylized femal bodies, with over-sized buttocks, long trunks and small or missing breasts. They are known from France (Combarelles, Fontalès, Lalinde, Gare de Couze), Germany (Gönnersdorf, Andernach, Petersfels, Nebra, Oelknitz) but are also  from Moravia (Pekárna), Mégarnie, in Belgium, Wilczyce in Poland and Italia (Grotta Romanelli). The stylized statuettes from Mezin and Mežirič in the Ukraine are earlier than those in the rest of Europe, but maybe an independent invention.

Such portable limestone plaquettes show numbers of schematized female figures in dance formation. In his microscopic analysis of female imagery from Gönnersdorf, Lalinde, and Mezin, among other sites, Marshack demonstrates that vulvas, vaginas, and buttocks were repeatedly overmarked, presum- pprobably  on different Ritual (?) occasions. On the Lalinde plaquette, women are linked by lines running between the deeply gouged powerpoints of their vulvas.

Soucy is situated near the  final Magdalenian sites of Lalinde and Gare de Couze (Upper Magdalenian in the Dordogne starts around 18,2 k.a. cal BP, final Magdalenian around 17 k.a. cal BP). Soucy was a large rock shelter on the right side of the Dordogne valley, partially destroyed by weathering. It was detected as an archaeological site by M. de Bracquemont in 1881 and later excavated indepently by Delugin and R. Daniel around 1912. D. Peyrony visited the site in 1918 and  detected  in the deblais engravings on limestones slabs, similar to those, that have been found at Lalinde and Gare the Couze.

By the presence of Harpoons and burins de Bec-de-perroquets, it became soon clear that the lithic material, discovered here, came from a final Magdalenian. The excavators reported that the findings came from 3 or 4 strata, which according to them showed no differences in the overall composition of the lithic inventories.

The inventory consists of many burins, mainly dièdre, followed by burins on truncation. These burins rather robust and may have played a role in the production of engraving on limestone slabs. The site is rich on becs de perroquet, dispersed over several collections (collection Delugin, Musée de Périgueux,  Musée de Toulouse and others). Many backed blade lets may have left unrecognized, during the early excavations. 3 pointes de Laugerie-Basse, characteristic for the late Magdalenian S/W-France are also present.

Suggested Readings:

The last photo shows the engraved limestone block from Lalinde, displaying several figurines “sans tete” Source: Picture taken in 1974 at the Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies)


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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2 Responses to Soucy near Lalinde / Dordogne

  1. Marnie Dunsmore says:

    That’s interesting.

    I remember looking at some of the Marshak work on Mezin drawings a few years ago.

    Did you know that there is a site in Alberta, Canada, that could be interpreted as having similar drawings?

    I would have dismissed this drawing as purely coincidental, but the mythology of the Niitsitapi clearly juxtaposes elk (wapiti) imagery onto their conceptions of femininity and sexuality.

    And at least in my mind, I don’t think there is any doubt that at least some of the ancestors of the Niitsitapi were firmly planted in North America before 24,000 year ago (based on the position of greatest extent of glacial ice, the preponderance of archaeological evidence, and genetics). Niitsitapi histories and customs clearly recount memory of being close to the edge of the glacial ice, and also hold as most sacred those locations just south of the ice that were not glaciated. (This has always been the case, even before the geologists understood where the ice extended to.)

    On a related note, something I found out in the last year or two is that the Niitsitapi built low walls around the bottom of their tipis during the winter (up until about 1930). This reminds me of the stone wall base excavated at the Mal’ta site ( Mal’ta is one of those Gravettian sites that Marshak was so interested in.

    A connection between the Magdelanian and North American Ice Age? Not sure, but I do think it is time to get a little more serious about dating some of those Pre-Clovis sites in North America.

  2. Katzman says:

    the most important difference between these pictures is, that at Lalinde the late Magdalenien iconographic tradition of “les femmes sans tête” is present, while in Alberta the figures have heads….

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