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LabEx Sciences archéologiques de Bordeaux 

The impact of Heinrich Stadials 3 and 2 on Paleolithic settlement in France: a multidisciplinary study

Porteur du projet : William BANKS (PACEA - équipe PPP)


- PréTech (UMR 7055)


- TRACES (UMR 5608)

Financement : 30 348€

Durée : 2,5 ans

Recrutements prévus : CDD

Comparisons of data concerning paleoclimatic variability, chronology, and human settlement are key to investigations of the relationships between archaeological cultures and the environmental frameworks within which they operated. Concerning the Upper Paleolithic in France, two periods of particular interest are Heinrich Stadials 3 and 2, and the Gravettian and Solutrean technocomplexes, respectively. However, the chronologies of these technocomplex’s different cultural phases (e.g., Middle Gravettian, Proto -Solutrean, etc.), as well as their geographic distributions, remain poorly understood. Such deficiencies prevent detailed understandings of how their distributions were influenced by concomitant rigorous climatic conditions and periglacial processes. First, this project aims to target relevant archaeological sequences, covering (partially or entirely) the interval in question (ca. 33– 23 ka cal BP), with the objective of analyzing all available radiocarbon ages with the use of Bayesian modeling methods in order to better constrain the chronological boundaries of specific cultural phases. We also will identify archaeological sequences that have well-documented and curated faunal collections from which we can obtain new AMS ages in order to augment and improve the existing dataset. Secondly, an exhaustive corpus of sites attributed to the broad chronological interval of interest and related archaeological cultures will be compiled from published sources and, more importantly, unpublished reports (salvage archaeology documentation). In parallel with this task, we will compile paleoenvironmental data, notably those that concern physical environments (desert extensions, periglacial conditions) and large mammal populations, in order to better characterize human occupational contexts.

With their respective chronologies more precisely defined and the possession of datasets pertaining to archaeological sites, periglacial indices, and faunal data, we will be able to better correlate the relevant archaeological cultures with millennial-scale climatic variability and examine how their geographic distributions relate to particular paleoenvironmental contexts.

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