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Vivre au bord du golfe de Gascogne au Paléolithique supérieur récent : vers un nouveau paradigme

Abstract : Since the beginning of the 2000s, the classic picture of Pleistocene hunter-gatherers as exclusively “inland hunters” is gradually changing thanks to a positive reassessment of the role of seashore resources. This article provides an updated picture of this question, centering on one case study: the outskirts of the Bay of Biscay during the Middle and Late Magdalenian. The evidence of coastal exploitation is reviewed and shows that several types of activities were recurrent and intensive enough to be documented in a number of sites and to yield abundant archeological remains spanning a long time period: the use of mollusks as food on the Cantabrian coast and the use of their shells as raw material for personal ornaments that circulate widely into the inland; the use of cetacean teeth and bones to manufacture a variety of objects circulating mostly in the northern Pyrenean range. The use of other resources (invertebrates other than mollusks, fish, birds, sea mammals as alimentary resource, algae, maybe drifted pumice) is documented but seems more occasional. Taken together, this evidence allow us to suggest the probable existence, at least in the Middle and Late Magdalenian on the southern outskirts of the Bay of Biscay, of a specific seashore economy established on a narrow coastal strip that is now all but submerged. Evidence from the eastern coast of the bay is much rarer, probably because of the greater distance of the sites from the Paleolithic coast but also maybe because of the presence of a coastal desert in Landes. The possible existence of a specific coastal equipment is discussed (Cantabrian harpoon heads?). These data are briefly put in a broader chronological and geographic perspective and their implications for our conception of the Magdalenian hunter-gatherers and the transition from Pleistocene to Holocene hunter-gatherers are discussed.
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Contributor : Jean-Marc Pétillon <>
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Jean-Marc Pétillon. Vivre au bord du golfe de Gascogne au Paléolithique supérieur récent : vers un nouveau paradigme. Actes du colloque international, Apr 2014, Rennes, France. pp.23-36. ⟨halshs-01417291⟩



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