The earliest use of pigment in South West France
Porteur du projet : Francesco D'ERRICO (PACEA)
- UPR 9048 ICMCB
Financement : 55 025€
Durée : 1,5 an
Recrutements prévus : 1 contrat post-doctoral (Laure Dayet, 1 an en 2016)
A major research challenge in archaeology, which is also a key research topic of the LaScArBx Cluster of Excellence, is the identification of when and how symbols were first used to mediate hominins behaviour. At present there still exists no comprehensive view of why pigment use emerged in the history of our lineage, how it evolved in various regions of the world, and for what purposes. In addition, the scientific community still lacks shared analytical protocols and standards that would allow researchers working on this topic to compare results at a broad scale. The present proposal aims to fill this gap by proposing an approach that integrates and implements a multitude of analytical tools and methods, applies them to the richest known collections of Middle and Early Upper Palaeolithic pigments from the Dordogne region, uses results to evaluate the behavioural complexity of Palaeolithic populations, and ultimately enable one to identify geographic and chronological trends in pigment exploitation and use between Neanderthal and Modern human populations.
A considerable amount of unpublished data on the elemental and mineralogical composition of pigments used at Mousterian sites such as Pech de l’Azé I, La Ferrassie, Combe Grenal, and La Tabaterie, has been accumulated over the last five years within the framework of the ERC project Tracsymbols, co-lead by this project presenter. Additional data will be obtained during this project from pigment collections of Lascaux and Castanet sites. If funded, this project will allow the LasScArBx to take advantage of this large body of data by securing their publication in high ranked journals. It will also promote methodological collaborations between four research institutions of the Bordeaux campus and make of the LasScArBx network an international leader in the integrated non-invasive analysis of Palaeolithic pigments.