Aspects of Site Formation Processes at the Paleolithic site of La Ferrassie (Dordogne), France


La Ferrassie is one of the best-known Middle and Upper Paleolithic sequences in Europe, playing a key role in the question of Neandertal mortuary behavior. Until now, geoarchaeologically-oriented research has focused on the long sequence exposed during the original excavations of Capitan/Peyrony and Delporte (early 20th century and 1968-1973, respectively) in the easternmost part of the site. Our research has exposed intact layers several meters away in the extreme western area of the site, next to the reported location of two adult Neandertal skeletons. We address here some preliminary results on the stratigraphic context of the human occupations in this western area by reconstructing the formation processes of the archaeological record. Our field and micromorphological evidence suggests that sedimentation in the west differs substantially from that that to the east, and the site is much more complex than viewing the eastern section alone. Furthermore, most of the human occupation in the westernmost part of the site was originally located on a topographic high NW of the current excavations, now destroyed by ancient road construction. These backdrops have implications for the context of the Neandertal remains and for understanding occupation strategies in different areas of the La Ferrassie site complex.

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Cite this Record

Aspects of Site Formation Processes at the Paleolithic site of La Ferrassie (Dordogne), France. Paul Goldberg, Vera Aldeias, Dennis Sandgathe, Alain Turq, Laurent Bruxelles. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396023)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;