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Approche expérimentale de la conservation des charbons de bois dans les gisements paléolithiques : processus post-dépositionnels, fragmentation et représentativité des assemblages anthracologiques

Abstract : Anthracological residues are often either very abundant or almost entirely absent in Palaeolithic sites, with no obvious relationship between their quantity and in the intensity of fire-related activities that may have occurred. This raises the question of the impact of post-depositional processes on anthracological residues, which is especially significant at ancient sites. When the coarse fraction is rare, meso and microscopic charcoal are often well represented, highlighting an intense process of fragmentation. As a major agent of the assemblages’ formation, fragmentation affects the level of conservation of the deposit, but also possibly the quantitative representation of taxa. From a methodological perspective and through a series of in vivo and in vitro experiments, the physico-mechanical properties of charcoal and the modalities of fragmentation of Europe temperate taxa are characterized. A set of post-depositional processes (freeze-thaw cycles, trampling, sediment shrinking and swelling, etc.), involved in the formation of many Pleistocene deposits, are simulated in order to measure their impact on anthracological residues. The results of this research show that charcoal is particularly sensitive to meteoric and periglacial processes as well as trampling. The level of fragmentation of charcoal makes it possible to consider the scale of damage caused over a long term exposure of the remains. The physico-mechanical properties and the fragmentation behavior of charcoal vary depending on the species. These differences are visible on a generic, specific and intra-specific level, though they do not seem to induce major distortions of the initial quantitative representation of taxa within assemblages. Finally, when differences between taxa are identified, they are mainly recovered in the fine fraction (charcoal between 1 and 2 mm), which is rarely studied in quantitative terms.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 10:37:10 AM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00948324, version 1

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Julia Chrzavzez. Approche expérimentale de la conservation des charbons de bois dans les gisements paléolithiques : processus post-dépositionnels, fragmentation et représentativité des assemblages anthracologiques. Archéologie et Préhistoire. Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, 2013. Français. ⟨NNT : 2013NICE2029⟩. ⟨tel-00948324⟩

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