Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-568f69f84b-4g88t Total loading time: 0.214 Render date: 2021-09-23T01:17:43.585Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Article contents

Illuminating the cave, drawing in black: wood charcoal analysis at Chauvet-Pont d'Arc

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 April 2018

Isabelle Théry-Parisot*
Affiliation:
Université Côte d'Azur, CNRS, CEPAM UMR 7264, 24 avenue des Diables Bleus, 06357 Nice, France
Stéphanie Thiébault
Affiliation:
INEE Institut écologie et environnement, CNRS, 3 rue Michel-Ange, 75794 Paris, France
Jean-Jacques Delannoy
Affiliation:
Université de Savoie Mont-Blanc, CNRS, EDYTEM UMR 5204, Le Bourget-du-Lac, France
Catherine Ferrier
Affiliation:
Université de Bordeaux, CNRS, PACEA UMR 5199, Bâtiment B8, Allée Geoffroy Saint Hillaire, CS 50023, 33615 Pessac Cedex, France
Valérie Feruglio
Affiliation:
Université de Bordeaux, CNRS, PACEA UMR 5199, Bâtiment B8, Allée Geoffroy Saint Hillaire, CS 50023, 33615 Pessac Cedex, France
Carole Fritz
Affiliation:
MSHS Toulouse, CNRS, TRACES UMR 5608, 5 allée Antonio Machado, 31058 Toulouse, France
Bernard Gely
Affiliation:
Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, DRAC, Région Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, 6 quai Saint-Vincent, 69283 Lyon, France
Pierre Guibert
Affiliation:
Université de Bordeaux Montaigne, CNRS, IRAMAT UMR 5060, Maison de l'Archéologie, Domaine Universitaire, Esplanade des Antilles, 33607 Pessac, France
Julien Monney
Affiliation:
Université de Savoie Mont-Blanc, CNRS, EDYTEM UMR 5204, Le Bourget-du-Lac, France
Gilles Tosello
Affiliation:
MSHS Toulouse, USR 3414, CREAP, 5 allée Antonio Machado, 31058 Toulouse, France
Jean Clottes
Affiliation:
11 rue du Fourcat, 09000 Foix, France
Jean-Michel Geneste
Affiliation:
Université de Bordeaux, CNRS, PACEA UMR 5199, Bâtiment B8, Allée Geoffroy Saint Hillaire, CS 50023, 33615 Pessac Cedex, France
*Corresponding
*Author for correspondence (Email: isabelle.thery@cepam.cnrs.fr)

Abstract

The Grotte Chauvet is world renowned for the quality and diversity of its Palaeolithic art. Fire was particularly important to the occupants, providing light and producing charcoal for use in motifs. Charcoal samples were taken systematically from features associated with the two main occupation phases (Aurignacian and Gravettian). Analysis showed it to be composed almost entirely of pine (Pinus sp.), indicating the harsh climatic conditions at this period. No distinction in wood species was found between either the two occupation episodes or the various depositional contexts. The results throw new light on the cultural and palaeoenvironmental factors that influenced choices underlying the collection of wood for charcoal production.

Type
Research
Copyright
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd, 2018 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Allué, E., Euba, I. & Solé, A.. 2009. Charcoal taphonomy: the study of the cell structure and surface deformations of Pinus sylvestris type for the understanding of formation processes of archaeological charcoal assemblages. Journal of Taphonomy 7 (2–3): 5772.Google Scholar
Ascough, P.L., Bird, M.I., Francis, S.M., Thornton, B., Midwood, A.J., Scott, A.C. & Apperley, D.. 2011. Variability in oxidative degradation of charcoal: influence of production conditions and environmental exposure. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 75: 2361–78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2011.02.002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bergman, R., Cai, Z., Carll, C.G., Clausen, C.A., Dietenberger, M.A., Falk, R.H., Frihart, C.R., Glass, S.V., Hunt, C.G., Ibach, R.E., Kretschmann, D.E., Rammen, D.E., Ross, R.J. & Star, N.M.. 2010. Wood handbook: wood as an engineering material. Madison (WI): Forest Products Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Google Scholar
Boulet, P., Parent, G., Collin, A., Acem, Z., Porterie, B., Clerc, J.P., Consalvi, J.L. & Kaiss, A.. 2009. Spectral emission of flames from laboratory-scale vegetation fires. International Journal of Wildland Fire 18: 875–84. https://doi.org/10.1071/WF08053CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brodard, A., Guibert, P., Ferrier, C., Debard, E., Kervazo, B. & Geneste, J.-M.. 2014. Les rubéfactions des parois de la grotte Chauvet: une histoire de chauffe?, in Actes du colloque MADAPCA, Micro Analyses et Datations de l'Art Préhistorique dans son Contexte Archéologique, MNHN-C2RMF, 16–18 novembre 2011. Paleo (special issue 2014): 233–35. Les Eyzies-de-Tayac: Musée national de préhistoire.Google Scholar
Chabal, L. 1997. Forêts et sociétés en Languedoc (Néolithique final, Antiquité tardive). L'anthracologie, méthode et paléoécologie (Documents d'Archéologie Française 63). Paris: Maison des Sciences de l'Homme.Google Scholar
Chrzavzez, J., Théry-Parisot, I., Fiorucci, G., Terral, J.F. & Thibaut, B.. 2014. Impact of post-depositional processes on charcoal fragmentation and archaeobotanical implications: experimental approach combining charcoal analysis and biomechanics. Journal of Archeological Science 44: 3042. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2014.01.006CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Clottes, J. (ed.). 2001. La grotte Chauvet: l'art des origines. Paris: Le Seuil.Google Scholar
Clottes, J. & Geneste, J.-M.. 2007. Le contexte archéologique et la chronologie de la grotte Chauvet, in Floss, H. & Rouquerol, N. (ed.) Les chemins de l'art aurignacien en Europe: 16–18. Aurignac: Musée-forum d'Aurignac.Google Scholar
Delannoy, J.-J., Geneste, J.-M., Jaillet, S.E., Boche, E. & Sadier, B.. 2012. Les aménagements et structures anthropiques de la grotte Chauvet-Pont d'Arc: apport d'une approche intégrative géomorpho-archéologique, in Delannoy, J.-J., Jaillet, S. & Sadier, B. (ed.) Karsts, paysages et préhistoire (Collection EDYTEM 13): 4362. Le Bourget-du-Lac: EDYTEM.Google Scholar
Delannoy, J.-J., David, B., Geneste, J.-M., Katherine, M., Barker, B., Whear, R.L. & Gunn, R.. 2013. The social construction of caves and rockshelters: Chauvet Cave (France) and Nawarla Gabarnmang (Australia). Antiquity 87: 1229. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X00048596CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Delhon, C. & Thiébault, S.. 2005. The migration of beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) up the Rhone: the Mediterranean history of a ‘mountain’ species. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 14: 119–32. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00334-005-0068-9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Desprat, S., Díaz Fernández, P.M., Coulon, T., Ezzat, L., Pessarossi‐Langlois, J., Gil, L., Morales-Molino, C. & Sánchez Goñi, M.F.. 2015. Pinus nigra (European black pine) as the dominant species of the last glacial pinewoods in south‐western to central Iberia: a morphological study of modern and fossil pollen. Journal of Biogeography 42: 19982009. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.12566CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ferrier, C., Debard, É., Kervazo, B., Brodard, A., Guibert, P., Baffier, D., Feruglio, V., Gély, B., Geneste, J.M. & Maksud, F.. 2014. Les parois chauffées de la grotte Chauvet-Pont d'Arc (Ardèche, France): caractérisation et chronologie. Paleo 25: 5978.Google Scholar
Fosse, P. & Philippe, M.. 2005. La faune de la grotte Chauvet: paléobiologie et anthropozoologie. Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française 102: 89102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fritz, C., Tosello, G. & Conkey, M.W.. 2015. Reflections on the identities and roles of the artists in European Paleolithic societies. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 23: 1307–32. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10816-015-9265-8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Geneste, J.-M. 2005a. L'archéologie des vestiges matériels dans la grotte Chauvet: paléobiologie et anthropozoologie. Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française 102: 135–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Geneste, J.-M. (ed). 2005b. La grotte Chauvet à Vallon-Pont-d'Arc: un bilan des recherches pluridisciplinaires. Actes de la séance de la Société préhistorique française, Lyon 2003 (Société préhistorique française Travaux 6; Karstologia Mémoire 11). Paris: Société préhistorique française; Lyon: Fédération française de spéléologie; Nîmes: Association française de karstologie.Google Scholar
Geneste, J.-M. 2012. La grotte Chauvet-Pont d'Arc 1994–2012: une rétrospective anthropologique, in Delannoy, J.-J., Jaillet, S. & Sadier, B. (ed.) Karsts, paysages et préhistoire (Collection EDYTEM 13): 1320. Le Bourget-du-Lac: EDYTEM.Google Scholar
Genty, D., Ghaleb, B., Plagnes, V., Causse, C., Valladas, H., Blamart, D., Massault, M., Geneste, J.-M. & Clottes, J.. 2004. Datations U/Th (TIMS) et 14C (AMS) des stalagmites de la grotte Chauvet (Ardèche, France): intérêt pour la chronologie des événements naturels et anthropiques de la grotte. Comptes Rendus Palevol 3: 629–42. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crpv.2004.06.005CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Guibert, P., Brodard, A., Quiles, A., Geneste, J.-M., Baffier, D., Debard, E. & Ferrier, C.. 2015. When were the walls of the Chauvet-Pont d'Arc Cave heated? A chronological approach by thermoluminescence. Quaternary Geochronology 29: 3647. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quageo.2015.04.007CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Harrison, S.P. & Sánchez Goñi, M.F.. 2010. Global patterns of vegetation response to millennial-scale variability and rapid climate change during the last glacial period. Quaternary Science Reviews 29: 2957–80. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.07.016CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Henry, A. & Théry-Parisot, I.. 2014. From Evenk campfires to prehistoric hearths: charcoal analysis as a tool for identifying the use of rotted wood as fuel. Journal of Archeological Science 52: 321–36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2014.09.005CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Korkut, S., Akgül, M. & Dündar, T.. 2008. The effects of heat treatment on some technological properties of Scots pine (P. sylvestris L.) wood. Bioresource Technology 99: 1861–68. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2007.03.038CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Levi-Strauss, C. 1962. La pensée sauvage. Paris: Plon.Google Scholar
Médail, F. & Diadema, K.. 2009. Glacial refugia influence plant diversity patterns in the Mediterranean Basin. Journal of Biogeography 36: 1333–45. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2699.2008.02051.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Petit, R.J., Aguinagalde, I., de Beaulieu, J.-L., Bittkau, C., Brewer, S., Cheddadi, R., Ennos, R., Fineschi, S., Grivet, D., Lascoux, M., Mohanty, A., Müller-Starck, G., Demesure-Musch, B., Palmé, A., Martín, J.P., Rendell, S. & Vendramin, G.G.. 2003. Glacial refugia: hotspots but not melting pots of genetic diversity. Science 300: 1563–65. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1083264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Quiles, A., Valladas, H., Geneste, J.-M., Clottes, J., Baffier, D., Berthier, B., Brock, F., Bronk Ramsey, C., Delqué-Količ, E., Dumoulin, J.-P., Hajdas, I., Hippe, K., Hodgins, G.W.L., Hogg, A., Jull, A.J.T., Kaltnecker, E., de Martino, M., Oberlin, C., Petchey, F., Steier, P., Synal, H.-A., van der Plicht, J., Wild, E.M. & Zazzo, A.. 2014. Second radiocarbon intercomparison program for the Chauvet-Pont d'Arc Cave, Ardèche, France. Radiocarbon 56: 833–50. https://doi.org/10.2458/56.16940CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Quiles, A., Valladas, H., Bocherens, H., Delqué-Količ, E., Kaltnecker, E., van der Plicht, J., Delannoy, J.-J., Feruglio, V., Fritz, C., Monney, J., Philippe, M., Tosello, G., Clottes, J. & Geneste, J.-M.. 2016. A high-precision chronological model for the decorated Upper Paleolithic cave of Chauvet-Pont d'Arc, Ardèche, France. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 113: 4670–75. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1523158113CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Sadier, B., Delannoy, J.-J., Benedetti, L., Didier, L., Bourlès, D.-L., Jaillet, S., Geneste, J.-M., Lebatard, A.-E. & Arnold, M.. 2012. Further constraints on the Chauvet Cave artwork elaboration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 109: 80028006. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1118593109CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Stockton, E. 1981. Reflections around the campfire. The Artefact 6: 316.Google Scholar
Théry, I., Gril, J., Vernet, J.L., Meignen, L. & Maury, J.. 1995. First use of coal. Nature 373: 480–81. https://doi.org/10.1038/373480a0CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Théry-Parisot, I. 2001. Economie des combustibles au Paléolithique, anthracologie, expérimentation, taphonomie (Dossier de Documentation Archéologique 20). Paris: CNRS.Google Scholar
Théry-Parisot, I. 2002a. Fuel management (bone and wood) during the Lower Aurignacian in the Pataud rock shelter (Lower Palaeolithic, Les Eyzies de Tayac, Dordogne, France): contribution of experimentation and anthraco-analysis to the study of the socio-economic behaviour. Journal of Archaeological Science 29: 1415–21. https://doi.org/10.1006/jasc.2001.0781CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Théry-Parisot, I. 2002b. The gathering of firewood during Palaeolithic time, in Thiébault, S. (ed.) Charcoal analysis, methodological approaches, palaeoecological results and wood uses (British Archaeological Reports International series 1063): 243–50. Oxford: Archaeopress.Google Scholar
Théry-Parisot, I. & Chabal, L.. 2010. Anthracology and taphonomy, from wood gathering to charcoal analysis. A review of the taphonomic processes modifying charcoal assemblages. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 291: 142−53. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2009.09.016CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Théry-Parisot, I. & Thiébault, S.. 2005. Le pin (Pinus sylvestris): préférence d'un taxon ou contrainte de l'environnement. Étude des charbons de la grotte Chauvet. Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française 102 (1): 6975. https://doi.org/10.3406/bspf.2005.13338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Théry-Parisot, I., Chabal, L., Ntinou, M., Bouby, L. & Carré, A.. 2010. From wood to wood charcoal: an experimental approach to combustion, in Théry-Parisot, I., Chabal, L. & Costamagno, S. (ed.) The taphonomy of burned organic residues and combustion features in archaeological contexts (P@lethnologie 2): 7991.Google Scholar
Théry-Parisot, I., Henry, A. & Chrzavzez, J.. 2016. Apport de l'expérimentation à la compréhension des pratiques en anthracologie: gestion et utilisation du bois de feu dans les sociétés préhistoriques, in R. Scheel-Ybert (ed.) Paisagem, subsistência e uso de plantas na arqueología. Cadernos do LEPAARQ XIII: 484509.Google Scholar
Valladas, H. & Clottes, J.. 2003. Style, Chauvet and radiocarbon. Antiquity 77: 142–45. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X00061433CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Valladas, H., Clottes, J., Geneste, J.-M., Garcia, M.A., Arnold, M., Cachier, H. & Tisnérat-Laborde, N.. 2001. Palaeolithic paintings: evolution of prehistoric cave art. Nature 413: 479. https://doi.org/10.1038/35097160CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Vidal-Matutano, P., Henry, A. & Théry-Parisot, I.. 2017. Dead wood gathering among Neanderthal groups: charcoal evidence from Abric del Pastor and El Salt (eastern Iberia). Journal of Archaelogical Science 80: 109–21. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2017.03.001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
17
Cited by

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Illuminating the cave, drawing in black: wood charcoal analysis at Chauvet-Pont d'Arc
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Illuminating the cave, drawing in black: wood charcoal analysis at Chauvet-Pont d'Arc
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Illuminating the cave, drawing in black: wood charcoal analysis at Chauvet-Pont d'Arc
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *