inora


Inora Newsletter #42
Divers

CHAUVET CAVE:
RESULTS OF THE MULTIDISCIPLINARY STUDIES

This title was the one used for the thematic meetings of the French Prehistoric Society which took place on 11 and 12 October 2003 in Lyon. The members of the team presented the results of their work on the Chauvet cave.

The two scores of articles on very different aspects of the cave are due to specialists in various provinces. They bring a number of complementary or novel information that supplement the collective book we published in 2003 (J. Clottes [ed.], Return to Chauvet Cave. London, Thames & Hudson).

We are not going to sum them up here. We shall just point out a couple of precise examples of important advances and also the convergent results of our research.

Fig. 1. Chauvet Cave. The reindeer of Phase I (after V. Feruglio & D. Baffier
in Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française, 102, 1, 2005: 156).

Fig. 2. Chauvet Cave. The reindeer of Phase II (after V. Feruglio & D. Baffier
in Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française, 102, 1, 2005: 156).

First of all, the periods of the frequentation of the cave by humans and large animals have been thoroughly confirmed by several lines of research. Out of the 46 charcoal samples radiocarbon dated by the Lyon and Gif-sur-Yvette laboratories, 33 gave dates that apply to the oldest phase (between 29,000 and 33,000BP) and 13 for the most recent (between 24,500 and 27,000BP) (Valladas et al.). In addition, 11 dates on bear bones by the Lyon, Gif-sur-Yvette and Groningen laboratories show that cave bear frequented the deep chambers of the cave during the same periods as the humans but not after 24,500BP, which indicates that the cave then became inaccessible both to humans and to large animals (Fosse & Philippe, Bocherens et al.).
Fig. 3. Chauvet Cave. Lion heads :
1-3. alcôve des Lions ; 4. Salle du Fond
(after C. Fritz et G. Tosello in Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française, 102, 1, 2005: 167).

The research on the sedimentological context (Ferrier et al.) and on the concretioning has shown that «the 14C age of the charcoal found on the archaeological ground was several times confirmed by the U/Th dates of the calcite that covered them» (Genty et al.: 60).

Among the footprints studied, the morphology of those of a large canid «is distinct from that of the wolf» (Garcia: 106) but close to that of the dog, whereas in the extensive chamber next to the entrance many typical wolf footprints were discovered (Garcia: 107). If this is really a dog, it must have been at least 25,000 years old.

Various Phases in the making of the black drawings have been evidenced within the period when Aurignacians frequented the cave (Feruglio & Baffier) (Fig. 1 et 2), despite a remarkable stylistic continuity (Tosello & Fritz), (Fig. 3) which brings valuable new light on the practices carried out in the cave.


The Chauvet cave, better and better known and with an undisputable chronology, has become the main reference for Aurignacian cave art. Several of the team researchers have insisted on convergences with some so far undated painted or engraved caves in the same or neighbouring regions. They also might be Aurignacian, entirely or in part, particularly Baume-Latrone (Gély, Tosello & Fritz, Clottes & Azéma, Gély & Azéma) and L’Aldène (Tosello & Fritz, Clottes & Azéma), but also Ebbou, Le Déroc, Les Points (Gély) and Bayol (Gély, Clottes & Azéma).

The results obtained after eight years of research at Chauvet show the importance of the multidisciplinary work carried out in a major painted cave when its numerous diverse aspects are studied from different points of view.

Jean Clottes 1 et Jean-Michel Geneste 2
1 Directeur de l’équipe scientifique de 1998 à 2001
2 Directeur de l’équipe scientifique depuis 2002

The Acts have just been published in one volume of the Bulletin de la Société Préhistorique Française 2005, 102/1, with the following papers:


J.-M. GENESTE, J.-P. FAGNART & J.-J. DELANNOY : «La grotte Chauvet à Vallon-Pont-d’Arc : un bilan des recherches pluridisciplinaires», p. 5-7.
D. BAFFIER : «La grotte Chauvet : conservation d’un patrimoine», p. 11-16.
B. GÉLY : «La grotte Chauvet à Vallon-Pont-d’Arc (Ardèche). Le contexte régional paléolithique», p. 17-33.
C. FERRIER, É. DEBARD, B. KERVAZO, A.-S. PERROUX, J.-J. DELANNOY & Y. PERRETTE : «Grotte Chauvet – Salle Hillaire et salle du Crâne : contexte sédimentologique des vestiges d’origine humaine et animale», p. 35-42.
D. GENTY, D. BLAMART & B. GHALEB : «Apport des stalagmites pour l’étude de la grotte Chauvet : datations absolues U/Th (TIMS) et reconstitution paléoclimatique par les isotopes stables de la calcite», p. 45-62.
M. GIRARD : «Analyses polliniques des sols aurignaciens de la grotte Chauvet (Ardèche). Résultats préliminaires»,
p. 63-68.
I. THÉRY-PARISOT & S. THIÉBAULT : «Le Pin (Pinus sylvestris) : préférence d’un taxon ou contrainte de l’environnement ? Étude des charbons de bois de la grotte Chauvet», p. 69-75.
H. BOCHERENS, D. DRUCKER & D. BILLIOU : «État de conservation dans la grotte Chauvet (Vallon-Pont-d’Arc, Ardèche, France) : implications pour la biogéochimie isotopique (paléodiètes, paléoenvironnements, datations au radiocarbone)», p. 77-87. Avec la collaboration de Ph. FOSSE, B. GÉLY, J.-M. GENESTE, B. KERVAZO, M. PHILIPPE.
Ph. FOSSE & M. PHILIPPE : «La Faune de la grotte Chauvet : paléobiologie et anthropozoologie», p. 89-102.
M. GARCIA : «Ichnologie générale de la grotte Chauvet», p. 103-108.
H. VALLADAS, N. TISNÉRAT-LABORDE, H. CACHIER, É. KALTNECKER, M. ARNOLD, C. OBERLIN & J. ÉVIN : «Bilan des datations carbone 14 effectuées sur des charbons de bois de la grotte Chauvet», p. 109-113.
Y. LE GUILLOU : «Circulations humaines et occupation de l’espace souterrain à la grotte Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc», p. 117-134.
J.-M. GENESTE : «L’Archéologie des vestiges matériels dans la grotte Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc», p. 135-144.
H. PLISSON : «Examen tracéologique de quelques silex collectés sur le sol de la grotte Chauvet», p. 145-148.
V. FERUGLIO & D. BAFFIER : «Les Dessins noirs des salles Hillaire et du Crâne, grotte Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc : chronologie relative», p. 149-158.
G. TOSELLO & C. FRITZ : «Les Dessins noirs de la grotte Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc : essai sur leur originalité dans le site et leur place dans l’art aurignacien», p. 159-171.
J. CLOTTES & M. AZÉMA : «Les Images de félins de la grotte Chauvet», p. 173-182.
B. GÉLY & M. AZÉMA : «Approche des représentations de mammouths de la grotte Chauvet», p. 183-188.
N. AUJOULAT & G. PERAZIO : «Contribution de la saisie tridimensionnelle à l’étude de l’art pariétal et de son contexte physique», p. 189-197. Avec la collaboration de D. FAVERGE & F. PÉRAL.
J. ROBERT-LAMBLIN : «La symbolique de la grotte Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc sous le regard de l’anthropologie»,
p. 199-208.




| Homepage | Newsletter Index | Subscription | Links | Contact |
www.inoraonline.org