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Investigating relationships between technological variability and ecology in the Middle Gravettian (ca. 32-28 ky cal. BP) in France

Abstract : The French Middle Gravettian represents an interesting case study for attempting to identify mechanisms behind the typo-technological variability observed in the archaeological record. Associated with the relatively cold and dry environments of GS.5.2 and 5.1, this phase of the Gravettian is characterized by two lithic typo-technical entities (faciès in French): the Noaillian (defined by the presence of Noailles burins) and the Rayssian (identified by the Raysse method of bladelet production).The two faciès have partially overlapping geographic distributions, with the Rayssian having a more northern and restricted geographic extension than the Noaillian. Their chronological relationship, however, is still unclear, and interpretations of their dual presence at many sites within the region of overlap are not yet consensual. Nonetheless, the absence of the Raysse method south of the Garonne River suggests that this valley may have separated two different cultural trajectories for which the Rayssian represents an adaptation to environmental conditions different from those associated with the Noaillian assemblages south of the Garonne River. The aim of this study is to test this hypothesis quantitatively using ecological niche modeling (ENM) methods. We critically evaluate published data to construct inventories of Noaillian and Rayssian archaeological sites. Using ENM methods, we estimate the ecological niches associated with the Middle Gravettian north (Noaillian + Rayssian) and south (Pyrenees Noaillian) of the Garonne River, and these predicted niches are then quantitatively evaluated and compared. Results demonstrate that, despite a relatively large degree of similarity, the niches differ significantly from one another in both geographic and environmental dimensions and that the niche associated with the northern Middle Gravettian is broader than that of the Pyrenees Noaillian. We propose that this pattern reflects different technological, subsistence and mobility strategies linked to the development of the Raysse method in the North, which was likely more advantageous in such environmental contexts than those employed by Pyrenees populations.
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Anaïs Vignoles, William E. Banks, Laurent Klaric, Masa Kageyama, Marlon Cobos, et al.. Investigating relationships between technological variability and ecology in the Middle Gravettian (ca. 32-28 ky cal. BP) in France. 2020. ⟨hal-02883623⟩

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