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The human occupation of the northwestern Pyrenees in the Late Glacial: New data from the Arudy basin, lower Ossau valley

Abstract : Excavated since the 1860s, the Arudy basin has yielded a number of rich Magdalenian sites that enable us to address the question of the human reoccupation of the lower Pyrenean valleys at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum. Until the 1990s, it was considered that at Arudy this reoccupation started ca. 16,000 cal BP in the Middle Magdalenian and continued into the Upper Magdalenian until ca. 14,000 cal BP. However, since the mid-2000 s, this picture has been modified through a series of new analyses, excavations (caves of Laa 2 and Tastet), 14C dates and reassessment of ancient collections. Evidence of human occupation ca. 20,000–19,000 cal BP, although limited, has been identified at Laa 2 and Tastet, consistent with numerous data obtained at Pyrenean scale showing a deglaciation of the north Pyrenean foothills as early as the end of the global LGM. The number of sites with evidence of Magdalenian has increased, showing that human presence in the basin was more intensive than previously thought. The Middle and Upper Magdalenian occupations have been redated to at least 18,000–17,500 cal BP to 15,000–14,500 cal BP, with the transition between the two phases probably occurring ca. 16,600–16,200 cal BP. The faunal records of these sites document an emphasis on horse hunting, which is not common in the northern Pyrenees, but also witness an evolution over time in the range of species hunted. Furthermore, the Pyrenean affinities of the Arudy groups and their relations with neighboring regions, such as Spain and the northern part of the Aquitaine basin, can be addressed through new evidence: in particular lithic and osseous raw materials and specific types of projectile tips. These results significantly change our view of the nature, rhythm and chronology of the Late Glacial settlement in this area.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - 12:01:20 PM
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Jean-Marc Pétillon, Mathieu Langlais, Delphine Kuntz, Christian Normand, Carolyn Barshay-Szmidt, et al.. The human occupation of the northwestern Pyrenees in the Late Glacial: New data from the Arudy basin, lower Ossau valley. Quaternary International, Elsevier, 2015, 364, pp.126-143. ⟨10.1016/j.quaint.2014.09.022⟩. ⟨hal-01172351⟩



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