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Université de Bordeaux
LabEx LaScArBxCluster of Excellence
Cluster of excellence

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A  considerable  amount  of  unpublished  data  on  the  elemental  and  mineralogical composition  of pigments used at Mousterian sites such as Pech de l’Azé I, La Ferrassie,  Combe Grenal, and La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.