MARINE MICHEL DEFENDS HER PhD THESIS

Title : Entre altération et fonction. Impact des processus post-dépositionnels sur la conservation et la reconnaissance des traces d’utilisation des outils lithiques. Vers une meilleure compréhension fonctionnelle des sites gravettiens de l’ouest de l’Europe.

Abstract :

After their discard, archaeological stone artefacts are submitted to a variety of natural processes that can alter their surfaces and use-wear. The alterations may render functional wear unrecognisable or discourage the traceologist from analysing such artefacts altogether. This has been the case, for instance, for lithic material from Gravettian sites in western Europe and has resulted in biased reconstruction of past human activities. The present study combines experimental work and use-wear analysis and seeks to better understand the transformation of use-wear by natural processes. The principal aim is a more accurate interpretation of altered wear traces and thereby a refined understanding of past (particularly Gravettian) societies. The taphonomic and functional analysis of lithic material with postdepositional alterations from the sites Maisières-Canal (Mons, Belgium), Ormesson-Les Bossats (Seine-et-Marne, France), Amiens-Renancourt 1 (Picardie, France) and Les Prés de Laure (Var, France) presented here considered all typo-technological categories of lithic artefact and allowed gaining new insights into diverse craft activities, some of which were previously undocumented.

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