Old Stone Age

1968-1998

The site was abandoned until 1966 when Jean Combier undertook modern, systematic excavations in areas left intact by earlier trenches which continued until 1976.

In 1968, scars left by old trenches were still visible after the hillside was cleared of vegetation.
Combier mapped all previous trenches for which he could find records. He found that the central portion of the site, "Le cros du charnier" and parts of the area known as "Terre Seve"were almost emptied of deposits .

 

He concentrated on areas at the eastern edge of the site left untouched because deposits were shallow and contained no "magma". However,  40 to 60 cm thick layers of Magdalenian were still in place in Units N16 and P16.  And a well preserved sequence of deposits were found in Units I11 and J10.
The excavations pursued a double objectives .  First, redefine and date the successive  layers of occupations and establish their environmental context. And second, open an areas large enough to expose the remains and study their distribution to recreate the range of activities practiced at the site by its Paleolithic occupants.  The latter goal was achieved with the systematic excavation of a 100 m2 block ofhe Magdalenian layers in P16.  Series of test pits provided the kind of stratigraphic data required to fulfill the first objective.
View of Units N16 and P16 at the eastern edge of the site, overlooking the Valley.

 

A deep test pit in the area known to contain a deep sequence of deposits in Unit I11was opened in 1986 with the participation of B. Kervaso to complete the geological study of the site.

More recently (1997 and 1998) excavations undertaken in collaboration with the University of Kansas with the participation of J. Hofman and A. Montet-White reopened the I11 test pit and then concentrated on the early Upper Paleolithic components (Aurignacian in Unit M12 and Gravettian in Unit J10).

 

M  Magdalenian

S  Solutrean

G  Gravettian

A  Aurignacian

Mn  Mousterian

Some 4000 years separate the Solutrean from the earliest Magdalenian occupation found in unit P16.  An slmost 8000 year long gap separates the Solutrean from the Gravettian.  There is a greater degree of continuity between the Aurignacian and the Gravettian.  A long hiatus (20000 years separate theMousterian layers from the Aurignacian.