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Le Moustier Tools



IMG_7374moustierhandaxesm IMG_7375moustierracloirsm



Le Moustier, racloirs, side scrapers.

Age circa 55 000 BP.

Collection M. Bourlon

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source and text: Original, Muséum de Toulouse




mauricebourlonsm
Maurice Bourlon, prehistorian, in 1911, at Laugerie-Basse.

Born in Bourges in 1875, from a landowner father, Maurice Bourlon enlisted in the army in 1894. He died in combat at Higny in Meurthe-et-Moselle, on August 21, 1914.

Captain Bourlon was a remarkable prehistorian. Passionate about prehistory, he came to Les Eyzies a few years ago to seek help, advice and direction from Peyrony . He had set to work with unparalleled ardor. At Moustier , at Laugerie-Basse , in the Beune valley, he made very interesting excavations. He had the merit of clearly recognizing and demonstrating the existence of the clearest Magdalenian in Orleans.

At Laugerie-Basse, I remember seeing him, deep in the shelter, rummaging in the dark, with his feet in the water, and examining the heaps of debris left by the old diggers. He found there a quantity of curious tools and above all three beautiful engravings on limestone slab. One especially is an admirable representation of a bison.

Bourlon was full of enthusiasm, full of activity. As soon as he had a few moments of freedom, he arrived in the Dordogne and began to search relentlessly. He was a gay and charming friend, a prehistorian by heart and race, both expert practitioner and good theoretician. It is a real loss for French prehistory. We send him a last and very sad farewell.
Text above: Capitan (1915)



Photo: Unknown. This is a scan of a photo made available by the grandson of M. Bourlon, and published with his permission.

Source: The Bourlon family
Permission: This image is in the public domain
Text: Capitan (1915)
Additional text: Wikipedia


IMG_7376lemoustierracloirsm
Le Moustier, racloir, side scraper.

Age circa 55 000 BP.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source and text: Original, Muséum de Toulouse




IMG_7387levalloiscoresm
Le Moustier, Levallois core.

Collection of Jean-Baptiste Noulet.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source and text: Original, Muséum de Toulouse




neanbaptistenouletsm
French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Noulet

Jean-Baptiste Noulet (1 May 1802 – 24 May 1890) was a French scientist and naturalist who helped to prove the archaeological existence of humans and was one of the pioneers of the scientific discipline of prehistoric archaeology. He was born in Venerque.

In 1851, at Clermont-le-Fort, he discovered the remains of Pleistocene fauna, along with the presence of lithic artefacts, findings that proved the co-existence of Pleistocene animals with humans, and in essence, confirmed ideas that were earlier proposed by prehistorian Jacques Boucher de Perthes.

Photo: Didier Descouens, 2010
Permission: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license
Source: Muséum de Toulouse
Text and proximal source: Wikipedia




IMG_7380moustiersm
Racloir, side scraper, emblematic of the Mousterian.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Collection: É. Cartailhac
Source: Original, Muséum de Toulouse




IMG_7380moustiersm
Percuteur, hammer stone.

( This is obviously a 'found' tool, with no need for further modification. In cases like this, the collector must decide whether it was used as a tool or if it is simply a random piece of rock. It may be put in the category of tool by considering wear or damage marks on the stone, and whether it is out of context, that is, in an archaeological layer, and whether it is quite different to the 'country rock'. In this case, there would probably be damage at the percussion end, and it was found in an archaeological layer without similar rocks of natural origin.

I can picture the artisan at the edge of the Vézère, spying this rock at its edge, picking it up, and deciding that it was perfect for the job - Don 
)

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Collection: É. Cartailhac
Source: Original, Muséum de Toulouse




cartailhacsm
Émile Cartailhac was born at Camarès in 1844, and for more than fifty years was one of the dominant figures in the study of prehistoric archaeology in France. He settled early at Toulouse, and founded there in 1866 à museum of human palaeontology. His success as a lecturer was immediate, and eventually led to his appointment as professor of prehistoric archaeology, the only appointment of the kind in France at that time.

Photo: Unknown, studio photograph
Proximal source: https://archeologie.culture.fr/
Text: Adapted from https://www.nature.com/articles/109147a0




IMG_7386moustierpercuteursm


Percuteur.

( In marked contrast to the found percuteur above, this one has been extensively modified for the purpose. It would have been used on larger cores, where more leverage and impact was required - Don )

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Collection: É. Lartet
Source: Original, Muséum de Toulouse




IMG_7385moustier_bifacesm
Biface, hand axe.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Collection: É. Lartet
Source: Original, Muséum de Toulouse




Le Moustier tools
Le Moustier, layer G, excavations of D. Peyrony.

Age circa 55 000 BP.

  ■1 Bifaces, hand axes
  ■ 2 Racloirs, side scrapers

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Originals, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Le Moustier tools
Le Moustier, layer G, excavations of D. Peyrony.

Age circa 55 000 BP.

  ■1 Bifaces, hand axes
  ■ 2 Racloirs, side scrapers
  ■ 3 Encoches/denticulés, notched/serrated tools

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Originals, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Le Moustier tools
Le Moustier, layer G, excavations of D. Peyrony.

Age circa 55 000 BP.

  ■ 3 Encoches/denticulés, notched/serrated tools
  ■ 4 Tools of the upper Palaeolithic type
  ■ 5 Special tools

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Originals, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Combe Grenal  bones
Bones and other organic remains from le Moustier, layer G, excavations of D. Peyrony, as well as those from Combe Grenal, layer 14, excavations of F. Bordes.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Originals, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Le Moustier tools
Le Moustier, layer H, excavations of D. Peyrony.

Age circa 55 000 BP.

  ■ 3 Encoches/denticulés, notched/serrated tools
  ■ 4 Tools of the upper Palaeolithic type

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Originals, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Le Moustier tools
Le Moustier, layer H, excavations of D. Peyrony.

Age circa 55 000 BP.

  ■ 3 Encoches/denticulés, notched/serrated tools
  ■ 4 Tools of the upper Palaeolithic type

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Originals, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Le Moustier tools
(left) Le Moustier, layer H, excavations of D. Peyrony.

(right) Le Moustier, layer I, excavations of D. Peyrony.

Ages circa 55 000 BP, 50 000 BP respectively.

  ■1 Bifaces, hand axes
  ■ 2 Racloirs, side scrapers
  ■ 3 Encoches/denticulés, notched/serrated tools
  ■ 5 Special tools

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Originals, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Le Moustier tools
Le Moustier, layer I, excavations of D. Peyrony.

Age circa 50 000 BP.

  ■ 3 Encoches/denticulés, notched/serrated tools

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Originals, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Le Moustier tools
Le Moustier, layer I, excavations of D. Peyrony.

Age circa 50 000 BP.

  ■1 Bifaces, hand axes
  ■ 2 Racloirs, side scrapers
  ■ 3 Encoches/denticulés, notched/serrated tools
  ■ 4 Tools of the upper Palaeolithic type
  ■ 5 Special tools

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Originals, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Le Moustier tools
Bones and other organic remains from le Moustier, layers H and I, excavations of D. Peyrony.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Originals, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Le Moustier tools
Le Moustier, layer J, excavations of D. Peyrony.

Age circa 40 500 BP.

  ■ 2 Racloirs, side scrapers
  ■ 3 Encoches/denticulés, notched/serrated tools

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Originals, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Le Moustier tools
Le Moustier, layer J, excavations of D. Peyrony.

Age circa 40 500 BP.

  ■ 3 Encoches/denticulés, notched/serrated tools

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Originals, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Le Moustier tools
Le Moustier, layer J, excavations of D. Peyrony.

Age circa 40 500 BP.

  ■1 Bifaces, hand axes
  ■ 3 Encoches/denticulés, notched/serrated tools
  ■ 4 Tools of the upper Palaeolithic type
  ■ 5 Special tools

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Originals, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




Le Moustier tools
Bones and other organic remains from le Moustier, layer J, excavations of D. Peyrony.

Note that the age given here for layer J, circa 45 000 BP, is at variance with that given on the display immediately above of the stone tools, circa 40 500 BP.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Originals, Le Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac




reliquiaeaquitan00lartuoft_raw_0361sm
Figs. 1 a, 1 b, I c. Large broad flake, worked into a lanceolate form by careful chipping along the edges of the outer face.

Dark-grey flint, slightly glazed. Lightly weathered by surface-change on the face 1 b.

Length 122 mm, breadth 60 mm, thickness 18 mm.

Le Moustier.



Figs. 2 a, 2b, 2c. Implement of ovato-lanceolate form, almost equally convex on each face; the narrow or pointed end considerably thinner than the broad end or butt.

This specimen has been roughly chipped from the solid, and then more carefully worked on the edges of the pointed end, thus resembling some of the old worked flints from the Valley of the Somme.

A small portion of the original crust of the flint is left on the outer curve of Fig. 2 b.

Dark-grey flint, slightly glazed.

Length 90 mm, breadth 57 mm, thickness 30 mm.

Le Moustier.

Source and text: Lartet and Christy (1875)
Proximal source: https://archive.org/



reliquiaeaquitan00lartuoft_raw_0380sm
These specimens belong to the type of implement specially adapted for being held in the hand by the thick and naturally rounded margin; whilst the opposite margin, reduced to a sharp curved edge by careful chipping, can be used as a hatchet or chopper, and seems well fitted for smashing the marrow-bones which are found broken among the hearth-stuff of the caves in great profusion.

These choppers vary much in size, and were chiefly found in Le Moustier Cave, a few only having occurred at Les Eyzies or elsewhere. Many seem to show signs of wear; and some have the edge chipped at a much more obtuse angle than others.

1. One-edged cutting-instrument, or chopper, formed from a block of grey flint, which has been first reduced by bold chipping to a flattened form, and then finely chipped on both faces along one margin, so as to produce a sharp cutting edge in the form of a segment of a circle.

The other margin is left with the natural crust of the flint, and can be conveniently held in the hand. On the side figured, a portion of the crust remains, the rest of the surface having been chipped away.

From Le Moustier.

Length 130 mm, breadth 88 mm, thickness 32 mm.


2a, 2b. A similar instrument, but bevel-edged, formed of a large thick flake, that has been struck off at a single blow from a block of flint, and then brought to a curved cutting-edge along one border by the chipping away of the outer face.

This flint is nearly black, with a yellowish crust remaining on the portion that is convenient for holding in the hand.

2a shows the chipped side, with some of the crust remaining; fig. 2b, the flat side.

From Le Moustier.

Length 95 mm, breadth 74 mm, thickness 21 mm.

Source and text: Lartet and Christy (1875)
Proximal source: https://archive.org/








References

  1. Capitan, L., 1915: Bulletin de la Société Préhistorique Française, 1915, pp 137 - 138
  2. Favraud, A.,1908/1909: La station Moustérienne du Petit-Puymoyen Alcan, F. (ed) Revue de L'École d'Anthropologie de Paris, 1908-1909 (not in copyright)
  3. Lartet, E., Christy H.,1875: Reliquiae aquitanicae : being contributions to the archaeology and palaeontology of Pèrigord and the adjoining provinces of Southern France, London: Williams, 1875
  4. Peyrony, D., 1930: Le Moustier. Ses gisements, ses industries, ses couches géologiques Revue anthropologique, XL, 1930, p49 - 52



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