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date: 19 September 2019

Isturitzlocked

  • Joachim Hahn

Extract

Cave site in south-west France in the Pyrenees. It is one of the outstanding European sites of the Upper Palaeolithic period (c. 40,000–c. 10,000 bp; see also Prehistoric Europe, §II): in addition to a long stratigraphic sequence indicating Mousterian, Aurignacian, Gravettian, Solutrean and Magdalenian occupations, it has yielded examples of wall art and numerous pieces of portable art, now in the Musée des Antiquités Nationales, Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Excavations in the two huge halls—the ‘Salle d’Isturitz’ and the ‘Salle Saint-Martin’—were conducted from 1912 to 1922 by Emmanuel Passemard and from 1928 to 1958 by René and Suzanne de Saint-Périer. Their work produced evidence of a rich Upper Palaeolithic stone tool industry and many bone and antler tools of the same date, indicating an intensively and frequently occupied base camp.

All of the Upper Palaeolithic levels also produced examples of portable art, and some of the tools are decorated: these include two Upper Magdalenian projectile heads, one engraved with a horse and the other with a frieze of horses’ heads, and a pierced baton with a low-relief carving of an ibex. A large series of antler rods with convex–concave cross-sections (‘...

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