Le macro-outillage en pierre du Mésolithique atlantique : un référentiel bien daté sur l’habitat littoral de Beg-er-Vil (Quiberon, Morbihan) - Université de Rennes Access content directly
Journal Articles Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française Year : 2019

The ground stone tools of the Atlantic Mesolithic: a reference assemblage from the coastal dwelling of Beg-er-Vil (Quiberon, Morbihan, France)

Le macro-outillage en pierre du Mésolithique atlantique : un référentiel bien daté sur l’habitat littoral de Beg-er-Vil (Quiberon, Morbihan)


Ground stone tools are rarely described for the mesolithic lithic industries of the French territory, despite their omnipresence in the dwellings. Yet elsewhere in Atlantic Europe, pebble tools sometimes play a major role in defining cultural entities, in Scotland with the Obanian, in northern Spain with the Asturian and in Portugal with the Mirian. This obvious lack of interest in mesolithic macro-tools deprives us of crucial information on technical phylums that are evolving at a different rate from other techniques. What are the standards and practices of use of these tools compared to other material culture ranges? How have they been disseminated in the landscapes through individual or collective mobility practices? What "stylistic territories" do they help us to draw? How can we think of their very slow morphological evolution over time in relation to other tools? Macro-tools thus hold a particular potential for action on matter, different from other tools; discussing their uses or, unlike their non-use, thinking about human engagement with the physical world and seeking a key to understanding their being in the world. The coastal habitat of Beg-er-Vil (Quiberon, Morbihan) excavated between 2012 and 2018 is a particularly coherent reference from a chronological and stratigraphic point of view for the seventh millennium BC. It allows a re-reading of other lithic assemblages of the Atlantic Mesolithic, but also comparisons with the Neolithic ground stone tools recently studied in the region. This coastal position has at least four implications for the availability and use of these tools: 1/ abundance of raw materials on the foreshores, 2/ exploitation of two very different ecosystems (maritime and continental), 3/ very diversified domestic activities on the habitat, 4/ need for tools to dig pits. The distribution of tools on site and the study of structures do not make it possible to highlight specific areas of activity within the habitat. For a total of 947 massive objects inventoried, a series of 130 tools emerged, whose traces visible to the naked eye are beyond doubt and 23 hypothetical tools requiring further analysis to determine whether they have use-wear or not. There are also 470 fragments of pebbles used. The classification of the ground stone tools was based on specific criteria, the first being the type of traces visible on the surfaces, voluntary or involuntary removal, and finally the fragmentation processes in use. Nine types of tools were identified, excluding fragments, all divided into one or more subtypes. The hammers obviously dominate (64%). The intermediate elements are 8% of the entire tools, to which 54 fragments must be added and probably many longitudinally fragment. In all these cases, it should be noted that the stigma of use is relatively undeveloped when compared with equivalent Neolithic tools. There are only four tools more involved than the others: a circular hammer (type A5), two chopping-tools (D2) and a peak (D3). Concerning the types of rocks used, two of them differ considerably from the corpus, quartz for mainly active tools, as well as granite for the largest objects, whether passive or not. This article raises questions about the paucity of ground stone tools in the Mesolithic period in western France, while suitable mineral resources are particularly abundant on foreshores. The lithic assemblages of the Early Mesolithic show a slightly broader register than those of the Late Mesolithic, all things considered. Finally, a broad comparison is made with other areas of Atlantic Europe (France, Spain, Portugal, Scotland), which are obviously better equipped. The paucity of mesolithic macro-tools in Atlantic France reflects a general organization of technical systems that do not use massive tools to interact with the rest of the physical world. It is no longer possible to take refuge behind possible functional shifts to other materials, since animal materials, antlers, bones or shells, do not take over, except to provide deer antler picks (in Téviec and Hoedic). This first classification approach was intended to put a spotlight on a part of the mesolithic technical system that is usually left in the shadows. Our approach was intended to be functional, lato sensu, i.e. the representation of this range of tools can only be judged by integrating all the activities and functions that can be detected in the habitat, by examining combustion structures, cut tools, or organic remains. It is obvious that experimentation is now essential to determine the functions of these tools on central mass, which are not very well transformed. Examining the technical transfers from generation to generation is difficult for the period preceding the Mesolithic. Indeed, there is still very little to say about the Upper and Late Paleolithic of Western France, especially since its maritime declination is currently inaccessible. With regard to the transformations during the Holocene, we thought we saw a possible regression of typological diversity during the Mesolithic period in Atlantic France, but we must remain very cautious due to the lack of sufficient lithic assemblages. It will be much less so if we talk about the real break with the Neolithic from the beginning, whether in the West or more generally in the North of France. New functions and much less collective mobility explain this major contrast in the use of macro-tools, but this break must also be placed in an ontological register. The paucity of mesolithic macro-tools in Atlantic France reflects a general organization of technical systems that do not use massive tools to interact with the rest of the physical world. This absence is a cultural choice; it also reflects a discreet, obviously resilient human imprint, a way of being in the world that shapes subsequent practices.
Les macro-outils sont très peu décrits pour les industries lithiques mésolithiques du territoire français, malgré leur omniprésence dans les habitats. L'habitat côtier de Beg-er-Vil (Quiberon, Morbihan) fouillé entre 2012 et 2018 est une référence particulièrement cohérente d'un point de vue chronologique et stratigraphique pour le septième millénaire avant notre ère. Elle autorise une relecture des autres assemblages lithiques du Mésolithique atlantique, mais également des comparaisons avec les macro-outils du Néolithique récemment étudiés dans la région. Pour un total de 947 objets massifs inventoriés, émerge une série de 130 outils, dont les traces visibles à l'oeil nu ne font aucun doute et 23 outils hypothétiques nécessitant des analyses plus approfondies pour déterminer s'il s'agit de traces d'usage ou non. Neuf types d'outils ont été dégagés, hors fragments, tous divisés en un ou plusieurs sous-types. Le macro-outillage de Beg-er-Vil est très largement dominé par les percuteurs, engagés à l'évidence dans des débitages de matières minérales, mais aussi peut-être dans un concassage de matières dures animales. Suivent en nombre les galets utilisés en pièces intermédiaires très fortement percutées dans un axe longitudinal. Cet article amène à s'interroger sur l'indigence des outils massifs dans le Mésolithique de l'ouest de la France, alors que les ressources minérales adéquates sont particulièrement abondantes sur les estrans. On ne peut plus guère se réfugier derrière de possibles basculement fonctionnels vers d'autres matériaux, puisque les matières animales, bois, os ou coquilles, ne prennent pas le relai, sinon pour fournir des pioches en bois de cerf (à Téviec et Hoedic). Une large comparaison est effectuée avec d'autres zones d'Europe atlantique, à l'évidence mieux pourvues. Les enseignements en termes d'identité technique comme en termes fonctionnels peuvent en être tirés.

Dates and versions

hal-02433790 , version 1 (09-01-2020)



Grégor Marchand, Jorge Calvo Gómez, David Cuenca Solana, Anaïs Henin, Diana Nukushina. Le macro-outillage en pierre du Mésolithique atlantique : un référentiel bien daté sur l’habitat littoral de Beg-er-Vil (Quiberon, Morbihan). Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française, 2019, 116 (4), pp.615-656. ⟨10.3406/bspf.2019.15050⟩. ⟨hal-02433790⟩
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