Old Stone Age

Combe-Capelle Bas - Results (continued)

The second error in recovery concerned the Mousterian of Acheulian industry that reportedly came from the upper most level of the site. While virtually no evidence of such an industry was present in the area of the trench where this excavation took place, very similar industries are known from both Abri Peyrony (located directly upslope from Combe-Capelle Bas) and from various localities several tens of meters to the east of the trench. One of these eastern localities was tested several years ago by Paul Fitte and Maurice Bourgon, and the collection from their test matches quite closely the description of the industry that is often attributed to Combe-Capelle Bas. While the reports of Peyrony were not altogether clear in this regard, there is evidence in them to suggest that collections were recovered in this eastern zone during the time of Ami's excavation and simply correlated to the sequence of the trench because of similarities of the sediments in which the materials were found.

Thus, the anomalous industrial sequence at Combe-Capelle Bas has turned out to be simply an artifact of recovery. While this is an important finding, it also emphasizes dramatically the fact that many collections of archaeological material recovered before the use of modern techniques may have been seriously distorted. This is an important lesson that simply cannot be overlooked when analyzing such material.