Reference : Specialized « ochre » procurement strategies in the Transition context : the red pigm...
Scientific congresses and symposiums : Poster
Arts & humanities : Archaeology
Specialized « ochre » procurement strategies in the Transition context : the red pigments from the Châtelperronian of the Grotte du Renne, Arcy-sur-Cure (France)
Salomon, Hélène mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > > Centre européen en archéométrie >]
Coquinot, Yvan [> >]
Beck, Lucile [> >]
Vignaud, Colette [> >]
Lebon, Matthieu [> >]
Odin, Giliane [> >]
Mathis, François mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département de physique > Physique nucléaire, atomique et spectroscopie >]
Julien, Michèle [> >]
International Symposium on Archaeometry
du 28 mai au 1er juin 2012
[en] In many reports of prehistoric pigment studies, these artefacts are considered as the testimony of past symbolic activities. The first step of the processing sequence, that is to say the acquisition of raw colouring material, is not well described and understood. Physico-chemical (SEM-EDS, XRD, TEM-EDX, µPIXE-µPIGE) and petrological analysis were carried out on the colouring materials excavated in the châtelperronian layers (40000-35000 B.P.) of the French site the Grotte du Renne in Arcy-sur-Cure. The Châtelperronian is one of the transitional techno-complexes, basically one of the last cultures made by Neanderthals in Europe. The physico-chemical data were related to the location of the colouring materials on the site, in association with exceptionally well preserved “hut” structures. It was thus possible to demonstrate that none of these materials, either red or black, was heated before being used, contrary to what had been assumed so far. The supply in colouring materials was as carefully organized as for mineral materials such as flint, for example; they were collected in different geological formations occasionally showing on the surface, close to the cave and at more than 30 km from the cave. The exploitation of these geological sites did not vary during the whole Châtelperronian period, and privileged materials which can easily be ground to powder. The set of colouring minerals from the Grotte du Renne reveals Neanderthals’ in-depth knowledge of mineral materials; they understood perfectly well their properties and qualities, and used them extensively, so that the raw colouring material was part of the livelihood and the Châtelperronian site must have been a literally dazzling sight, all red and black.

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