18-2018-115, 4, p. 647-675 - Gauvrit Roux E., Beyries S. – Le travail de la peau au Magdalénien moyen : analyse techno-fonctionnelle des grattoirs de la Marche (Lussac-les-Châteaux, Vienne)

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18-2018-115, 4, p. 647-675 - Gauvrit Roux E., Beyries S. – Le travail de la peau au Magdalénien moyen : analyse techno-fonctionnelle des grattoirs de la Marche (Lussac-les-Châteaux, Vienne)

Résumé : Les procédés techniques liés au travail des peaux sont variés et peuvent être complexes. Les référentiels ethnographiques montrent que ces procédés sont fortement influencés par le contexte culturel, social et économique. Reconstituer ces procédés peut donc apporter de riches informations sur le milieu technique des sociétés préhistoriques. Le travail des peaux laissant peu de traces sur les sites archéologiques, il faut donc raisonner à partir des outils en pierre.

La présente étude se base sur l'industrie lithique de la Marche (Lussac-les-Châteaux, Vienne), considérée comme un pôle au sein du Magdalénien moyen ancien à pointes de Lussac-Angles. Elle conjugue l'analyse technologique et fonctionnelle de l'industrie afin de lier les procédés d'utilisation des outils à leur dynamique de production. La méthode choisie permet de reconstituer les chaînes opératoires depuis la production jusqu'au rejet des outils et d'approcher au plus près certains éléments du système technique.

Les résultats montrent que les activités les mieux représentées sur le site sont liées au travail de la peau.

Les grattoirs constituent l'outil privilégié pour la préparation des peaux. A partir de la comparaison du fonctionnement des grattoirs avec des cas ethnographiques, des gestes techniques utilisés par les magdaléniens de la Marche ont été reconstitués. Au moins trois gestes sont impliqués dans un ou plusieurs procédés de traitement de peaux de différentes épaisseurs ont été identifiés. Ces nouvelles données permettent d'approcher les savoir-faire et traditions techniques des magdaléniens. L'étude des gestes techniques constitue un outil puissant de connaissance des sociétés paléolithiques, en particulier pour les faciès du Magdalénien moyen ancien, qui restent surtout définis typologiquement dans le Centre-Ouest de la France.

Mots-clés : Magdalénien moyen, industrie lithique, analyse fonctionnelle, gestes, travail des peaux, ethnoarchéologie.

 

Abstract: Technical processes related to hide-working are varied and can be intricated. Ethnographic data shows that these processes are highly influenced by their cultural, social and economical context. The reconstitution of processes and gestures can therefore provide rich information about the technical environment of Palaeolithic societies. Hide working leaves few traces on archaeological sites and studies need to focus on stone tools remains.

La Marche (Lussac-les-Châteaux, Vienne) is considered as a centre in the Early Middle Magdalenian of Lussac-Angles and gave a rich lithic industry. Based on the functional and technological analysis of stone tools, the present paper aims to get a better understanding of processes and gestures involved in the Magdalenian hide-working. The conjunction of these two methods allows to link the tools' processes of use with their production dynamics. This enables the reconstitution of the chaîne opératoire from production to discard and thus to grap a section of the technical system.

Results of the functional analysis indicate that hide-working was one of the best represented activity at the site. Hides were mostly worked on dry. Occasionally the work occurred on moisturised, semi-dry and additive added hides. Hides were scraped, cut and perforated. The scraping motion is the most frequent of all. Hide scraping was mainly performed with endscrapers. This study focuses on them.

Endscrapers, as well as all tools on blade, are mainly shaped from allochtonous good quality flints from Grand-Pressigny region and Cher and Indre valleys. They are mostly shaped on first intention blades whose morphology and dimensions (width and thickness) are homogeneous. The retouched end is generally shaped on the distal end, has a convex morphology and is often opposed to a fracture. The tools were given a longer cycle of use by resharpening, reshaping, reusing and adding use zones. Functioning of endscrapers is homogeneous: they are mainly used to scrape dry hide in a unidirectional motion, with relatively constant open working angles, and their inferior face is always positioned as the major contact face. Hard material percussion is the only other activity evidenced on some of the distal ends, and it always comes after hide scraping and before discard.

These technologically and functionally standardised endscrapers are integrated in the complex process of hide-working. The technical gestures of the Magdalenians from la Marche are reconstituted from the comparison of the functioning of endscrapers with ethnographic cases. At least three gestures are involved in one or several processes of the treatment of hides of different thicknesses: a first group of endscrapers presents narrow distal ends with weakly developed traces which are centred on the edge. They are sharpened during the scraping of dry hides, or occasionally semi-dry or with an additive. They are associated with a low amplitude movement where the strength and direction given to the tool are conjoined. They were used in an activity which aimed to remove material from the hide (collagen fibres, grease), such as skinning, shaving or thinning. Their narrow active edge, as opposed to the other groups, may show that they were used on thin hides or delicate zones. The endscrapers from the second group all have wide active distal edges on which traces are centred. They are often resharpened and traces are generally poorly developed. They are linked to a low amplitude movement where strength and gesture given to the tool are joined. They are associated to scraping of dry hides, on which an abrasive agent can be added. They have probably been used on relatively thick hides to remove material, during skinning, shaving or thinning. The third group gathers endscrapers which have a wide distal end on which traces are decentred. They were not resharpened during use, therefore the traces are generally well-developed on the active edges. They were used to scrape dry and exceptionally semi-dry hides. Those tools are related to an activity which aims to break the fibers of the hides by using a violent launched percussion on hides that can be quite thick, for softening. Such a gesture needs the hide to be stretched on a frame.

This data allows to get a better understanding of the savoir-faire and technical traditions of the Magdalenians. The study of the gestures constitutes a powerful tool to apprehend Palaeolithic societies, particularly for the facies of the Early Middle Magdalenian, which remain mainly defined typologically in the Western centre of France.

 

Keywords: Middle Magdalenian, lithic industry, functional analysis, gestures, hide working, ethnoarchaeology.