21-2018, tome 115, 4, p. 733-767 - Imbeaux M., Affolter J., Martineau R. (2018) – Diffusion du silex crétacé des minières de Saint-Gond (Marne, France) au Néolithique récent et final

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21-2018, tome 115, 4, p. 733-767 - Imbeaux M., Affolter J., Martineau R. (2018) – Diffusion du silex crétacé des minières de Saint-Gond (Marne, France) au Néolithique récent et final

Résumé : La région des Marais de Saint-Gond (Marne) comporte un très grand nombre de sépultures collectives en hypogées et en allées couvertes, d’épandages de silex et d’habitats néolithiques. L’abondant corpus de silex taillés qui provient de ces sites n’avait pas encore fait l’objet d’une étude détaillée. 17 minières et plusieurs dizaines d’affleurements de bancs de silex ont été identifiés. Existe-t-il un lien entre les silex déposés dans les sépultures collectives et les exploitations locales ? La provenance des silex de six sites régionaux datant du Néolithique récent et final (hypogées, allée couverte et habitats) a été déterminée par l’analyse des faciès sédimentaires. Cette méthode permet de reconstruire les conditions de sédimentation du paléoenvironnement marin dans lequel la craie s’est déposée et les silex se sont formés. Le faciès Saint-Gond a été caractérisé à la loupe binoculaire à partir de cinq affleurements du Campanien supérieur visibles dans cinq minières. Ce faciès est subdivisable en cinq sous-faciès correspondant à chaque affleurement étudié. Il est alors possible d’identifier la diffusion de ces cinq secteurs miniers.

Les résultats montrent que le faciès Saint-Gond est majoritaire dans les sites régionaux, à l’exception d’une allée couverte dans laquelle un faciès crétacé exogène domine. Les différents sous-faciès sont présents dans tous les sites étudiés, en proportions variables. Ces résultats impliquent qu’au Néolithique récent et final, le silex des habitats et des sépultures collectives provient de plusieurs minières locales. Cela implique que tous les secteurs miniers étaient en exploitation au même moment. L’organisation sociale et économique de l’acquisition et de la diffusion des matériaux est discutée et comparée à d’autres modèles. Les modalités précises des exploitations minières et de la diffusion des productions révèlent ainsi la complexité de l’organisation sociale des sociétés du Néolithique récent.

Mots-clés : Néolithique, silex, minière, faciès sédimentaire, exploitation, provenance, diffusion, réseaux d’échange.

 

Abstract: This article is about the study of the dissemination of the productions of the Saint-Gond Marshes region’s flint mines using sedimentary facies characterisation. The determination of the sedimentary facies gives us a description that is sufficiently detailed to recognize the Saint-Gond flint among the archaeological record. The Saint-Gond Marshes region has been well known since the end of the 19th century for its numerous hypogea, collective burials hollowed in the chalk, dated from the Late Neolithic period phase 1 (3500-3000 BC). 150 hypogea are known in the Marne department and 120 of them are located in the Saint-Gond Marshes region in 15 necropolises. This region is less known for its flint resources and its Neolithic flint mines. There are now about 17 flint mines that have been identified in this region since 1872. One of our objectives is to establish the link between the population of the hypogea and the mining activity. For this, we used the sedimentary facies description to characterise the Saint-Gond flint, to determine its diffusion and quantify exogenous sources in the collective burials and the settlements of the Late Neolithic period (3500-2200 BC). Our aim is to show whether if the mines of this region were exploited during the Late Neolithic period, which is best represented by the numerous collective burials. We attempted to reconstruct the chronological dynamics of extraction and production of the flint. At the local scale, it should specify the organisation of the exploitation and the miners’ identity. The flint used to define the sedimentary facies come from five flint mines that have been excavated since the 19th century. Our corpus is composed of two settlements, three hypogea necropolises, and a gallery grave. These sites are all dated from the Late Final Neolithic period phase 1 except for one settlement which is dated in the beginning of the Late Neolithic period phase 2 (3000-2200 BC).

Flint is a siliceous accident. It is formed by the precipitation of silica during the carbonate sediment diagenesis in marine or continental environments. This diagenetic process does not distort the sediment, does not change its structure and preserves the allochems. The allochems allow us to define sedimentary facies and paleoenvironments in which the sediment has deposed, and the flint then formed. We obtain a unique description of the flint for one environment from a sufficiently restricted region for our study scale. The Saint-Gond flint is recognisable from the other Cretaceous flint because they were formed in different environments of the Chalk Sea, and in several cases, during different periods. The Saint-Gond facies had been describing. It presents little variation sufficient to define five sub-facies for each sampled mine. We distinguish the sub-facies of Coizard, Vert-la-Gravelle, Loisy-en-Brie, Villevenard and Vertus. This possibility yields a particularly interesting archaeological opportunity. It is possible to recognise the flint of the South-West of the Marne department, and also the mining sector that it came from. It is now possible to reconstruct the diffusion of the Saint-Gond flint at the local, regional and extra-regional scales. Our results show that the Saint-Gond flint is present in all the lithic collections of the studied sites. It is the most abundant facies in all sites, except for the gallery grave. Concerning the distribution of the Saint-Gond sub-facies, apart for two sites, all of them are present, in varying proportions. The sub-facies of Vert-la-Gravelle and Loisy-en-Brie appears to have been the most diffused. There does not seem to be any correlation between the type of objects and the sub-facies. All the artefacts have been made from different flint of the Saint-Gond Marshes region. Exogenous facies are present in the lithic collection of the studied sites. We identified notably two Cretaceous marine facies. The first corresponds to a deep part of the Chalk Sea and we suppose that it comes from the north of the Parisian Basin. The second probably comes from a region close to the Saint-Gond Marshes. We also identified several tertiary continental facies that mostly concern the polished axes like the flint from Flins-sur-Seine region (Yvelines), Mont-les-Etrelles (Haute-Saône), the Petit Morin Valley, and Lhéry (Marne). These exogenous proveniences are certainly trade markers and display a good insertion inside an exchange network at a large scale between the Neolithic populations. According to some researchers, it also seems that the Saint-Gond flint had been quite widely distributed since the Early Neolithic period in the northern and the eastern part of the Parisian Basin. These results of several studies suggest that the mining exploitation in the Saint-Gond Marshes region has probably begun in the early times of the Neolithic period. The results obtained in this study evidence that there exists a link between the flint exploited in the mines and the settlements or the collective burials of the Saint-Gond Marshes region. However, we do not know if the inhabitants of the settlements, or the populations of the collective burials, have directly exploited the flint mines. We could have expected that the raw material of a site came specifically from one flint mine, indicating that one group has exploited a mining sector. We can also ask ourselves if there was a population of miners, which has controlled or owned the mines and redistributed the flint to the local populations. This study raises the question of the local organisation of the flint exploitation and its diffusion at a regional and a larger scale. What were the modalities and the social organisation of the exploitation of the flint mines in the Late Neolithic period in this region? All the sites of the Saint-Gond Marshes region yield us a large corpus of flint artefacts that will provide us a way to understand the organisation of the populations in this region during the Late Neolithic period.

 

Keywords: Neolithic, flint, mines, sedimentary facies, exploitation, sourcing, dissemination, exchange networks.