Cave entrance and rock shelter infillings are positioned within the Pleistocene chronology for three areas of France (northern Alps, Franche-Comté, and Périgord). Despite minor local variations, it is possible to identify regional types with a consistent depositional record over long intervals of time. The interregional variability relates to the frequency and position of the gaps within the infillings. Sites in the northern Alps have not yielded any artifacts older than the Upper Paleolithic (Magdalenı́an), and dated sedimentary sequences do not go back beyond the Older Dryas. More complete sequences in Franche-Comté contain Mousterian industries. Two major gaps occur here, one lasting about 50,000 yr during the Lower Glacial and Lower Pleniglacial periods, and the other lasting some 10,000 yr during the Upper Pleniglacial. The sequences are more complete in the Périgord, where all major climatic phases have been identified with no significant sedimentary gaps. Differences in sedimentary records can be explained by variations in regional conditions during the last interglacial-glacial cycle and especially by the distance from the maximum advance of ice daring glaciation.
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