THE TRACES OF FIRE OF THE CHAUVET CAVE: FROM THERMAL IMPACTS ON THE WALLS TO FIRE CHARACTERISATION - EXPERIMENTATION AND MODELLING – ITHEM
Pierre GUIBERT IRAMAT-CRP2A
Cluster of excellence: PACEA UMR 5199, Bordeaux – Team PPP
Outside the cluster: I2M UMR 5295, Talence- Teams GCE and TREFLE
Expert colleagues TRACES UMR 5608, Toulouse ArScAn, UMR 7041, Nanterre CEPAM, UMR 6130, Nice MNHN (Paris) - Archaeology, Archaebotany, Archaeometry, UMR 5138 UFR STM, Lyon ASPECT Association, Targon
Duration: 2 years (1st January 2012 – 31st December 2013)
This project is based on taphonomic observations carried out in the Chauvet cave (Ardèche). From the start of the studies, some walls affected by rubefaction provoked by the heat of some fires had been located in some areas. Relative chronology data and indirect dating helped to link this facies to the Aurignacian culture. Thermoluminescence analysis of rubefacted rock samples shows temperatures of at least 300 °C. Several hypotheses may be suggested to identify the function of these fires: lighting, heating and/or colourants production (wood coals). To discuss this, we offer to set some experimental fires in an underground quarry, combined with a set of environmental measures. They aim to firstly understand the working of a fire in an underground environment and its impact on a wall. The researchers will then try to get closer from the geological context of the Chauvet cave conducting experiments on an artificial wall made with Urgonian limestone blocks coming from Ardèche.