Article

The Badegoulian of northern Aquitaine: New means of interpretation

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Abstract

Any attempt at a synthesis of the Badegoulian in the northern Aquitaine basin is a risky undertaking. Firstly, the sample of sites and the quality of available data are highly variable and diverse. Moreover, the analysis of lithic industries is often complicated by a diversity and variability expressed both in finished tools and modes of knapping, which in turn condition the degree of elaboration of the industries themselves. In this context, and in the absence of a body of well-dated assemblages, even the seriation of the Badegoulian is a delicate matter. Nonetheless, the resurgence of work on the subject since the beginning of the 1990s should allow us, perhaps more securely in this region than in others, to advance a certain number of propositions capable of increasing our knowledge of Badegoulian typology, technology and economy. Given this state of affairs, we have chosen to underline certain general features that, on a regional scale, we see as stable and invariant characteristics of the Badegoulian: lithic production often dominated by flakes but in which blades remain an intangible component, and a typology characterized by the significant presence of raclettes or transverse burins. We then go on to identify traits that are either unsystematically associated with these invariant, defining characteristics, or which are constantly present but sometimes in very small quantities; and we raise the question as to their significance. Is the extreme diversity that we observe the expression of real variability? If so, is not this in itself a strong characteristic of the Badegoulian? We believe that this bipartite structure of primary and secondary characteristics enables us to better characterize and understand the Badegoulian in the northern Aquitaine basin. To this end, this first attempt at a synthesis needs to be evaluated against other available data (archaeozoology, bone industry, ornaments, portable art).

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