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Between Worlds pp 165-198 | Cite as

The Bronze Age Decorated Cave of Les Fraux: Ritual Uses of an Atypical French Heritage Site

  • Albane BurensEmail author
  • Laurent Carozza
  • Raphaelle Bourrillon
  • Stephane Petrognani
  • Pierre Grussenmeyer
  • Samuel Guillemin
  • François Lévêque
  • Vivien Mathé
  • Yves Billaud
  • Aurélie Brodard
  • Pierre Guibert
  • Stéphane Jaillet
  • Olivier Jest
  • Mathieu Koehl
Chapter

Abstract

The Bronze Age decorated cave of Les Fraux (Dordogne, France) combines cave art and evidence for domestic and symbolic activities. The interdisciplinary research which has been conducted on the site since 2007 attempts to untangle the interwoven uses of this cave for later prehistoric communities, during short but regular human visitations, by combining chronology, interactions between individuals and their environment, and emerging technologies. The cave seems first to have been characterised by symbolic activity (cave art, votive deposits), becoming increasingly used for domestic activities. One aim of the research was the interpretation of archaeological data within a framework which combined space and time, from data acquisition, implementation of site monitoring, experimentation and simulation to reconstruction. We employed an integrative research approach based on new technologies, involving full 3D documentation of the entire site and processing of interdisciplinary data according to accurate 3D models of the cave, which provided a common framework for the various studies and partners involved. The difficulty of our study, however, lies in the definition and the meaning of ritual or symbolic gesture, as practiced in a cave context.

Keywords

Cave Bronze Age France Cave art Deposits Interdisciplinarity Three-dimensional 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The study of Les Fraux was a planned multi-year archaeological excavation funded by the regional Aquitaine office of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. The French National Research Council is also supporting this project, under the umbrella project Global Ecology (SEEG). Thanks also to E. Moisan, V. Léglise and B. Cazalet for their contribution as a part of their training at INSA. Our warmest thanks to Edmond (†) and Marcelle Goineaud, owners of the cave of Les Fraux, and their daughter, who allowed us to publish images taken inside the cave. We would also like to express our sincerest gratitude to Delphine Cross.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albane Burens
    • 1
    Email author
  • Laurent Carozza
    • 1
  • Raphaelle Bourrillon
    • 2
  • Stephane Petrognani
    • 3
  • Pierre Grussenmeyer
    • 4
  • Samuel Guillemin
    • 4
  • François Lévêque
    • 5
  • Vivien Mathé
    • 5
  • Yves Billaud
    • 6
  • Aurélie Brodard
    • 7
  • Pierre Guibert
    • 7
  • Stéphane Jaillet
    • 6
  • Olivier Jest
    • 4
  • Mathieu Koehl
    • 4
  1. 1.Environmental Geography Laboratory, CNRS, UMR 5602 GEODEToulouseFrance
  2. 2.TRACES-UMR 5608, CREAPToulouseFrance
  3. 3.UMR 7041 ArScAn, Ethnologie Préhistorique, MAE René GinouvèsNanterreFrance
  4. 4.ICube Laboratory, CNRS, UMR 7357, Photogrammetry and Geomatics GroupINSA StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance
  5. 5.UMR 7266 LIENSs, CNRS, Université de La RochelleLa RochelleFrance
  6. 6.UMR 5204 EDYTEM, CNRSLe Bourget du LacFrance
  7. 7.UMR 5060 IRAMAT CRPAA, CNRSPessacFrance

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