Institut national de recherches archéologiques préventives
Recent publications
This article presents the results of an archaeological archive research. Field recording documents from the Rivaux site in France, which was excavated from the 1970s to the 1990s, were exploited. After digitising a set of field notebook pages, the author developed an application, called Archeotext, which allows transcribing and georeferencing these documents. Some of the results obtained show new ways of exploiting this type of archive by using certain methods and techniques of the digital humanities.
Comparative macro-archaeological investigations of the human deep past rely on the availability of unified, quality-checked datasets integrating different layers of observation. Information on the durable and ubiquitous record of Paleolithic stone artefacts and technological choices are especially pertinent to this endeavour. We here present a large expert-sourced collaborative dataset for the study of stone tool technology and artefact shape evolution across Europe between ~15.000 and 11.000 years before present. the dataset contains a compendium of key sites from the study period, and data on lithic technology and toolkit composition at the level of the cultural taxa represented by those sites. The dataset further encompasses 2D shapes of selected lithic artefact groups (armatures, endscrapers, and borers/perforators) shared between cultural taxa. These data offer novel possibilities to explore between-regional patterns of material culture change to reveal scale-dependent processes of long-term technological evolution in mobile hunter-gatherer societies at the end of the Pleistocene. Our dataset facilitates state-of-the-art quantitative analyses and showcases the benefits of collaborative data collation and synthesis.
Here we report on Neanderthal engravings on a cave wall at La Roche-Cotard (LRC) in central France, made more than 57±3 thousand years ago. Following human occupation, the cave was completely sealed by cold-period sediments, which prevented access until its discovery in the 19th century and first excavation in the early 20th century. The timing of the closure of the cave is based on 50 optically stimulated luminescence ages derived from sediment collected inside and from around the cave. The anthropogenic origin of the spatially-structured, non-figurative marks found within the cave is confirmed using taphonomic, traceological and experimental evidence. Cave closure occurred significantly before the regional arrival of H. sapiens, and all artefacts from within the cave are typical Mousterian lithics; in Western Europe these are uniquely attributed to H. neanderthalensis. We conclude that the LRC engravings are unambiguous examples of Neanderthal abstract design.
This contribution synthesises the PIXE and ICP-AES elemental analyses carried out on a large dataset, comprising of 300 copper-alloy objects dating mainly to the Late Middle Ages. The objects are drawn from heritage institutions and archaeological contexts in various regions between the Meuse and the Loire rivers (France and Belgium). This investigation focuses on the main elements that make up the alloys (Cu, Zn, Sn, Pb). Past studies have often defined the composition of an alloy as an intentional choice, however in this paper we aim to identify the constraints in alloy manufacture in a bid to understand the degree of freedom enjoyed by craftsmen during this period. We will also evaluate to what degree the constraints imposed by technique, economic conditions and social requirement, affected production in a complex multifactorial system. We have opted to define alloys by object type, functional area and social context, by chronology and product ranges. For cast table- and the kitchenware, we have observed that alloys and the objects are standardised on a trans-regional scale. Conversely, the hammered objects are produced with a greater freedom, leading to a new hypothesis regarding specific workshop practices. Finally, we will propose a predictive model for cast objects that we hope is better suited for the study of heritage objects, their materials and their production processes, to be verified in future studies. This approach emphasises the importance of considering everything that makes an object what it is: its function, status and place in the market, when researching heritage materials.
Despite the localisation of the southern Caucasus at the outskirt of the Fertile Crescent, the Neolithisation process started there only at the beginning of the sixth millennium with the Shomutepe-Shulaveri culture of yet unclear origins. We present here genomic data for three new individuals from Mentesh Tepe in Azerbaijan, dating back to the beginnings of the Shomutepe-Shulaveri culture. We evidence that two juveniles, buried embracing each other, were brothers. We show that the Mentesh Tepe Neolithic population is the product of a recent gene flow between the Anatolian farmer-related population and the Caucasus/Iranian population, demonstrating that population admixture was at the core of the development of agriculture in the South Caucasus. By comparing Bronze Age individuals from the South Caucasus with Neolithic individuals from the same region, including Mentesh Tepe, we evidence that gene flows between Pontic Steppe populations and Mentesh Tepe-related groups contributed to the makeup of the Late Bronze Age and modern Caucasian populations. Our results show that the high cultural diversity during the Neolithic period of the South Caucasus deserves close genetic analysis.
Modern humans have populated Europe for more than 45,000 years1,2. Our knowledge of the genetic relatedness and structure of ancient hunter-gatherers is however limited, owing to the scarceness and poor molecular preservation of human remains from that period³. Here we analyse 356 ancient hunter-gatherer genomes, including new genomic data for 116 individuals from 14 countries in western and central Eurasia, spanning between 35,000 and 5,000 years ago. We identify a genetic ancestry profile in individuals associated with Upper Palaeolithic Gravettian assemblages from western Europe that is distinct from contemporaneous groups related to this archaeological culture in central and southern Europe⁴, but resembles that of preceding individuals associated with the Aurignacian culture. This ancestry profile survived during the Last Glacial Maximum (25,000 to 19,000 years ago) in human populations from southwestern Europe associated with the Solutrean culture, and with the following Magdalenian culture that re-expanded northeastward after the Last Glacial Maximum. Conversely, we reveal a genetic turnover in southern Europe suggesting a local replacement of human groups around the time of the Last Glacial Maximum, accompanied by a north-to-south dispersal of populations associated with the Epigravettian culture. From at least 14,000 years ago, an ancestry related to this culture spread from the south across the rest of Europe, largely replacing the Magdalenian-associated gene pool. After a period of limited admixture that spanned the beginning of the Mesolithic, we find genetic interactions between western and eastern European hunter-gatherers, who were also characterized by marked differences in phenotypically relevant variants.
This article is based on an EAA session in Kiel in 2021, in which thirteen contributors provide their response to Robb and Harris's (2018) overview of studies of gender in the European Neolithic and Bronze Age, with a reply by Robb and Harris. The central premise of their 2018 article was the opposition of ‘contextual Neolithic gender’ to ‘cross-contextual Bronze Age gender’, which created uneasiness among the four co-organizers of the Kiel meeting. Reading Robb and Harris's original article leaves the impression that there is an essentialist ‘Neolithic’ and ‘Bronze Age’ gender, the former being under-theorized, unclear, and unstable, the latter binary, unchangeable, and ideological. While Robb and Harris have clearly advanced the discussion on gender, the perspectives and case studies presented here, while critical of their views, take the debate further, painting a more complex and diverse picture that strives to avoid essentialism.
We successfully measured four radiocarbon dates on two specimens of a black geometric rock painting with a fragment in jeopardy of naturally spalling off in the wall of a rock shelter in the Ẓufār region, in the south of the Sultanate of Oman. Extraction of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) for radiocarbon dating of the binder in the black pigment of the rock painting specimen was conducted in the plasma oxidation laboratory at the Office of Archeological Studies in Santa Fe, NM. The radiocarbon content was measured on the Swiss ETH-Zürich accelerator mass spectrometer MICADAS. The dates obtained agreed with one another within the statistical uncertainty and the average date of the four samples was 1500 ± 35 radiocarbon years BP. The calendric equivalents of the average date results in calendric calibration date ranges that span the mid-fifth through mid-seventh centuries (440–453 CE, 478–496 CE, and 534–646 CE). This research demonstrates that it is possible to date the black paintings of the Jebel al-Qara’ area of Oman; this is the first pictogram that was dated using radiocarbon dating in the region.
Where most scholarship on the origins of the sugar revolution has focused on the English islands, this article draws on detailed research in Dutch and French archives to show how Dutch merchants were crucial actors in promoting the sugar revolution in the Lesser Antilles. Despite the fact that both English and French islands experienced similar developments, the relationship between these islands is barely known in English literature largely due to the language barrier. Illustrating the Dutch-French relationship allows us to develop a more regionally inclusive and trans-national perspective that shows how the early Caribbean economy, French and English, benefitted from a web of links forged by ambitious Dutch merchants between Europe, Brazil, and the Caribbean.
En 2016, la mission franco-suisse de Saqqarah a dégagé le péribole de la pyramide de la reine Ânkhnespépy II. Dans l’angle sud-ouest du monument, plus de dix mille ossements de bovidés ont été mis au jour. La découverte de deux momies et d’un naos a permis de comprendre que l’ensemble provient d’une nécropole pillée dans l’Antiquité et non encore repérée. Les momies ont révélé n’être composées que d’ossements, montrant qu’il s’agissait d’animaux sacralisés, peut-être en relation avec le taureau Apis.
Archaeological research shows that the dispersal of the Neolithic took a more complex turn when reaching western Europe, painting complex picture of interactions between autochthonous hunter-gatherers and incoming farmers. In order to clarify the mode, the intensity and the regional variability of biological exchanges implied in these processes, we report new palaeogenomic data from Occitanie, a key region in Southern France. Genomic data from 28 individuals originating from six sites spanning from c. 5,500 to c. 2,500 BCE allow us to characterize regional patterns of ancestries throughout the Neolithic period. Results highlight major differences between the Mediterranean and Continental Neolithic expansion routes regarding both migration and interaction processes. High proportions of hunter-gatherer ancestry in both Early and Late Neolithic groups in Southern France support multiple pulses of inter-group gene flow throughout time and space and confirm the need of regional studies to address the complexity of the processes involved.
Dogs are among the most variable species today, but little is known about the morphological variability in the early phases of their history. The Neolithic transition to farming may have resulted in an early morphological diversification as a result of changes in the anthropic environment or intentional selection on specific morphologies. Here, we describe the variability and modularity in mandible form by comparing 525 dog mandibles from European archaeological sites ranging from 8100 to 3000 cal. BC to a reference sample of modern dogs, wolves, and dingoes. We use three-dimensional geometric morphometrics to quantify the form of complete and fragmented mandibles. We demonstrate that an important morphological variability already existed before the Bronze Age in Europe, yet the largest, smallest, most brachycephalic or dolichocephalic extant dogs have no equivalent in the archaeological sample, resulting in a lower variation compared to modern relatives. The covariation between the anterior and posterior parts of the mandible is lower in archaeological dogs, suggesting a low degree of intentional human selection in early periods. The mandible of modern and ancient dogs differs in functionally important areas, possibly reflecting differences in diet, competition, or the implication of ancient dogs in hunting or defence.
Multiple factors have been proposed to explain the disappearance of Neandertals between ca. 50 and 40 kyr BP. Central to these discussions has been the identification of new techno-cultural complexes that overlap with the period of Neandertal demise in Europe. One such complex is the Châtelperronian, which extends from the Paris Basin to the Northern Iberian Peninsula between 43,760–39,220 BP. In this study we present the first open-air Châtelperronian site in the Northern Iberian Peninsula, Aranbaltza II. The technological features of its stone tool assemblage show no links with previous Middle Paleolithic technology in the region, and chronological modeling reveals a gap between the latest Middle Paleolithic and the Châtelperronian in this area. We interpret this as evidence of local Neandertal extinction and replacement by other Neandertal groups coming from southern France, illustrating how local extinction episodes could have played a role in the process of disappearance of Neandertals.
This article tries to demonstrate that the former governor of Essequibo, Jan van der Goes, was also the Indian prince called Vandergoes met by the English, French, and Dutch in the early second half of the seventeenth century at Cayenne. This hypothesis is supported by detailed information on the career of Jan van der Goes derived from the general meetings of the Zeeland Chamber of the WIC and by appearances of the aforementioned Vandergoes in various European documents. In addition, the incorporation of this Dutchman among the Arecarets reveals a particular Amerindian adaptation to colonization along the Wild Coast.
The Iron Age period occupies an important place in French history, as the Gauls are regularly presented as the direct ancestors of the extant French population. We documented here the genomic diversity of Iron Age communities originating from six French regions. The 49 acquired genomes permitted us to highlight an absence of discontinuity between Bronze Age and Iron Age groups in France, lending support to a cultural transition linked to progressive local economic changes rather than to a massive influx of allochthone groups. Genomic analyses revealed strong genetic homogeneity among the regional groups associated with distinct archaeological cultures. This genomic homogenisation appears to be linked to individuals’ mobility between regions as well as gene flow with neighbouring groups from England and Spain. Thus, the results globally support a common genomic legacy for the Iron Age population of modern-day France that could be linked to recurrent gene flow between culturally differentiated communities.
This article presents the geomorphological mapping of the Kalamas river delta in Thesprotia (Epirus, north-western Greece). The Kalamas (also known as Thyamis) is one of the three main deltas of this region. Detailed mapping was performed through analysis of field geomorphological surveys and interpretation of old maps, satellite images, aerial photos, and DEM. The evolution of the delta as well as its current morphology derives from complex interactions between alluvial, marine dynamics and human activities. Several palaeo-channels have been identified, and the recent morphology of the delta has been altered by the construction of a dam and the canalization of the river during the second half of the twentieth century. The coastline is complex, and mainly consists of lagoons, sandy barriers and sand spits. Since part of the delta has been prograding for about fifty years, the current dynamics indicate erosion as well as progressive submersion of these low coasts.
Present-day people from England and Wales harbour more ancestry derived from Early European Farmers (EEF) than people of the Early Bronze Age¹. To understand this, we generated genome-wide data from 793 individuals, increasing data from the Middle to Late Bronze and Iron Age in Britain by 12-fold, and Western and Central Europe by 3.5-fold. Between 1000 and 875 bc, EEF ancestry increased in southern Britain (England and Wales) but not northern Britain (Scotland) due to incorporation of migrants who arrived at this time and over previous centuries, and who were genetically most similar to ancient individuals from France. These migrants contributed about half the ancestry of Iron Age people of England and Wales, thereby creating a plausible vector for the spread of early Celtic languages into Britain. These patterns are part of a broader trend of EEF ancestry becoming more similar across central and western Europe in the Middle to Late Bronze Age, coincident with archaeological evidence of intensified cultural exchange2–6. There was comparatively less gene flow from continental Europe during the Iron Age, and Britain’s independent genetic trajectory is also reflected in the rise of the allele conferring lactase persistence to ~50% by this time compared to ~7% in central Europe where it rose rapidly in frequency only a millennium later. This suggests that dairy products were used in qualitatively different ways in Britain and in central Europe over this period.
The purpose of this article is to present an inventory of certain faunal remains from Linearbandkeramic (LBK) settlements in the Paris Basin (Ile-de-France, Hauts-de-France and Champagne) that seem to belong to a particular category, that of “sign-objects,” in other words, tangible evidence intended to be shown and directly interpretable by an observer belonging to the society which produced them. Based on three categories of archaeological contexts, a ceremonial enclosure, settlements and graves, we will attempt to highlight the species that were important to Neolithic society. Two of them, the domestic cattle and the aurochs, are particularly involved in the deposits through the exhibition of their bones or their horn cores. Sheep and roe deer are also involved through, for example, transformed bones such as perforated tibias or sharpened roe deer antlers. The results of the analysis were integrated into an archaeological model previously developed to approach the social structure of the Neolithic society.
The detection of Middle Palaeolithic human activity areas represents a methodological challenge at the boundary between two disciplines: archaeology and spatial analysis. During the course of the past decades, with the democratisation of tools such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), prehistorians have developed a wide diversity of methods for the study of the spatial organization of occupation levels. We must now choose the best adapted method to our spatial problems, our archaeological contexts, but also our set of geographic data, from the existing methods. In this context, we devised a new spatial analysis protocol, highlighting archaeological and spatial criteria that constrained our choice of methods and estimating their reproducibility. The construction and application of our protocol is based on the Middle Palaeolithic open-air sites of Caours and Beauvais, situated in the North of France. On account of the ideal preservation conditions at these sites, they are propitious candidates for spatial analysis. In addition, these sites rank among those with the most abundant faunal remains of the region and our study focuses on this category of remains. The combined use of two methods of spatial analysis – K-means clustering and Kernel Density Estimation – enables us, on one hand, to effectively detect human activity areas, their number and their distribution. On the other hand, this protocol contributed to their characterisation and the description of their role for the functioning of the occupation level. For both of the studied sites, we brought to light several areas of butchery activities organized around a combustion zone. In the case of Caours, areas of specific butchery activities, devoted to one or two species, were identified.
Institution pages aggregate content on ResearchGate related to an institution. The members listed on this page have self-identified as being affiliated with this institution. Publications listed on this page were identified by our algorithms as relating to this institution. This page was not created or approved by the institution. If you represent an institution and have questions about these pages or wish to report inaccurate content, you can contact us here.
537 members
Frederique Durand
  • Department Grand Sud-Ouest
Nicolas Thomas
  • Department Centre/Ile-de-France
Jean-Luc Locht
  • Hauts-de-France
Christine Chaussé
  • Department Centre/Ile-de-France
Frédéric Broes
  • Hauts-de-France
121, rue d'Alésia, 75014, Paris, Ile-de-France, France
Head of institution
Président : Dominique Garcia, Directeur général délégué : Daniel Guérin
++33/(0)1 40 08 80 00
++33/(0)1 43 87 18 63