4. Conclusions

What can we say about Courbet-Marine Iberomaurusian occupation? It is still difficult to answer this question. Some faunal remains with which to perform zooarchaeological analysis would help to understand the food acquisition strategies and, therefore, the function of the site. Nevertheless, some data, based on both raw material and technological analyses, have helped to clarify this situation.

Iberomaurusian occupation at Courbet-Marine seems to be a choice influenced by the availability of key subsistence requirements. The proximity of the first alluvial terrace, which has considerable potential for the supply of raw material, is one of the strongest indicators for the utilisation of the site. Petrographic and to a lesser extent X-ray diffraction analyses have helped to discriminate between siliceous microfacies. Indeed, brown flint appears as an oxidised Eocene facies linked to old deposits of deep marine environments. It would be interesting to detect the brown flint distribution outside the investigated zone. This could also contribute to the discovery of new Iberomaurusian occupation areas.

Greater knowledge of the local and regional mineralogical potential encouraged the Iberomaurusian population to seek brown flint for improved blank production and for the manufacture of backed pointed bladelets. The presence of all lithic core reduction sequences in the Courbet-Marine site is well attested for knapped flint varieties, except for brown flint for which evidence of the shaping-out sequence is lacking at this site. Moreover, some suspected utilitarian activities, as suggested by the presence of grinding stones and ochre fragments, probably related to artistic or household activity patterns, as well as the diversity of retouched pieces, are arguments for a prehistoric habitat. Nevertheless, further experimental investigation to test the hypothesis that backed bladelets with impact fracture were used as probable hunting implements is required.

Other issues remain to be investigated, such as the relationship of this site to other open-area sites in the lower Isser valley, already eroded or disturbed by modern human activity. We intend to extend the excavated area to the neighbouring region. For this purpose, the potential of this raw material study already appears to be a promising research field.


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Last updated: Wed Jul 29 2009