Les fouilles récentes du Pech de L'Azé IV (Dordogne)
The Mousterian site of Pech de l'Azé IV is located in Carsac (Dordogne) in the Perigord region of southwest of France, very near the town of Sarlat. The site was excavated during the 1970s by F. Bordes but it was never well published. In 2000 we published a study of the lithics from Bordes' excavations. From 2000 to 2003 we conducted new work at the site to re-study the stratigraphy in order, to better understand the site's formation processes, and to obtain dates from the sequence. We present here some initial results on the geology, a description of the stone tool industries, and some initial ESR dates (the dating program is still in progress).A detailed micro- and macroscopic study of the eight main stratigraphic levels shows that the sandy deposits come from a vast cave system that likely includes all the sites of Pech de l'Azé (I, II, and IV). The lowest level, which is characterized by dark, organic sediments,is particularly interesting. It includes within it multiple combustion zones that show evidence of having been subsequently trampled and perhaps emptied. Though the deposits come from a temperate climate, the sediments of anthropogenic origin are nevertheless well conserved. Macroscopically, there are traces of solifluction in the sequence, but the micromorphological analysis shows practically no evidence of a cold climate. As for the lithic industries, the new collection is in general comparable to that of Bordes. Nevertheless, there are some new elements including the presence of Quina technology in the upper part of the sequence.
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