Illuminating the cave, drawing in black: wood charcoal analysis at Chauvet-Pont d'Arc | Chauvet-Pont d'Arc Cave

Illuminating the cave, drawing in black: wood charcoal analysis at Chauvet-Pont d'Arc

Abstract

The Grotte Chauvet is world renowned for the quality and diversity of its Palaeolithic art. Fire was particularly important to the occupants, providing light and producing charcoal for use in motifs. Charcoal samples were taken systematically from features associated with the two main occupation phases (Aurignacian and Gravettian). Analysis showed it to be composed almost entirely of pine (Pinus sp.), indicating the harsh climatic conditions at this period. No distinction in wood species was found between either the two occupation episodes or the various depositional contexts. The results throw new light on the cultural and palaeoenvironmental factors that influenced choices underlying the collection of wood for charcoal production.

Publication
Antiquity
Isabelle Théry-Parisot
Isabelle Théry-Parisot
Botanist
Catherine Ferrier
Catherine Ferrier
Geologist

Head of soil studies

Carole Fritz
Carole Fritz
Archaeologist

Research Team Leader

Bernard Gély
Bernard Gély
Archéologue
Gilles Tosello
Gilles Tosello
Prehistorian

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