Reference : Late Mousterian red pigment processing in Les Bossats, Seine-et-Marne (France)
Scientific congresses and symposiums : Unpublished conference/Abstract
Arts & humanities : Archaeology
Late Mousterian red pigment processing in Les Bossats, Seine-et-Marne (France)
Salomon, Hélène mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > > Centre européen en archéométrie >]
Bodu, Pierre [> >]
Geurten, Stéphanie [> >]
International Symposium on Archaeometry
du 28 mai au 1er juin 2012
[en] Les Bossats, near Ormesson, is a newly discovered late mousterian site dated around 47.000 B.P. by thermoluminescence. The archaeological level, fossilized by loess, revealed a rich industry based on the discoide mode, associated with numerous fragments of red pigment rocks. The geological sources were identified by means of SEM-EDX, XRD, FT-IR, PIXE and by petrographical observation of thin sections. The past mechanical and morphological modifications of the pigment blocks were characterized by macro-photography, microscopy and topographical micro-measures of the used surfaces.

It was thus possible to demonstrate that the colouring materials were brought to the site by the Neanderthals and the supply in raw material was local. Eleven blocks show different use marks such as facets, grooves and scars. The colouring materials employed by the Neanderthals on the camp site were used by different process (scraping, rubbing, crushing and grinding) in order to obtain red powder.

The archaeological remains reveal an organized proceeding sequence of red pigment. During the late Mousterian a great phenomenon in expansion in western Europe is remarkable by the much wider exploitation of mineral red and black pigments corresponding to technical modifications and divers utilizations under development. As such, it questions our perception of the humanity of Neanderthal. Did he produced symbol by using pigments or were these minerals part of the economy of subsistence?

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