Archaeology

The management of symbolic raw materials in the Late Upper Paleolithic of South-Western France: a shell ornaments perspective

10.24072/pcjournal.185 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 2 (2022), article no. e65.

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Personal ornaments manufactured on marine and fossil shell are a significant element of Upper Palaeolithic symbolic material culture, and are often found at considerable distances from Pleistocene coastlines or relevant fossil deposits. Here, we report on a significant collection of shell objects (n=377) from the Upper Magdalenian site of Rochereil (Dordogne, France). Despite the location of the site at more than 200km from the Pleistocene coast, the majority of the shells recovered here are unmodified, suggesting that transport and accumulation of shell raw material was an important component in the production of symbolic technologies some 16 15,000 years ago. A detailed comparative and microscopic reanalysis of this assemblage explores which species were selected, examines technological and taphonomic modification of the material, and compares this collection with the use of similar shell ornaments in the wider Magdalenian world.

Published online:
DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.185
Rigaud, Solange 1; O’Hara, John 2; Charles, Laurent 3; Man-Estier, Elena 4; Paillet, Patrick 5

1 CNRS, Univ. Bordeaux, Ministère de la Culture, PACEA, UMR 5199, F-33600 Pessac, France
2 Center for the Study of Human Origins, New York University, 25 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10003, USA
3 Muséum de Bordeaux, 5 place Bardineau, 33000 Bordeaux, France
4 Direction régionale des Affaires culturelles de Bretagne – Service régional de l’Archéologie, Campus de Beaulieu, avenue du Professeur Foulon, 35000 Rennes et UMR 6566 CReAAH, Université de Rennes 1, France
5 Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, UMR 7194 – HNHP, Département “Homme-Environnement”, Musée de l’Homme, 17 place du Trocadéro, 75116 Paris, France
License: CC-BY 4.0
Copyrights: The authors retain unrestricted copyrights and publishing rights
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Rigaud, Solange; O’Hara, John; Charles, Laurent; Man-Estier, Elena; Paillet, Patrick. The management of symbolic raw materials in the Late Upper Paleolithic of South-Western France: a shell ornaments perspective. Peer Community Journal, Volume 2 (2022), article  no. e65. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.185. https://peercommunityjournal.org/articles/10.24072/pcjournal.185/

Peer reviewed and recommended by PCI : 10.24072/pci.archaeo.100018

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The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.

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