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Field Projects

Field Projects - Les Cottés

fieldsite les cottes

Les Cottés ( Vienne, France) is located on the corridor between the Parisian basin and the Poitou in West-Central France. It is next to the Grand Pressigny area and to the Anglin valley, which are well-known for Paleolithic sites, including the rockart site of Roc-aux-Sorciers in Angle-sur-l’Anglin.

artefact from Les CottesLes Cottés is one of the rare sites, if not the only site, which contains a sequence of Evolved Chatelperronian, proto-Aurignacian and Early Aurignacian. Evolved Chatelperronian is a variant of the Chatelperronian which was first defined at Les Cottés by L. Pradel in the 1950s. It corresponds to a final stage of the Chatelperronian, is characterized by the Les Cottés point, and could therefore be evidence of the final Neandertals’ behavior in France. Proto-Aurignacian and Early Aurignacian with split-base bone points are also well preserved at the site. Anatomically modern human remains were found in the Early Aurignacian layer during the first excavation at the site by R. de Rochebrune in 1881.

Our goal at this site is to better understand the behavior of the last Neandertals and the first anatomically modern humans in Western Europe and to evaluate the nature and the amount of interaction that may have happen between these two populations just before the demise of Neandertals.

A team lead by Marie Soressi started excavating in the summer 2006.

For us, it is a unique opportunity to:

  • Document the site formation processes to better understand the archaeological context of the site’s important cultural sequence,
  • Document aspects of the Evolved Chatelperronian, proto-Aurignacian and Early Aurignacian behavioral repertoire at a single location,
  • Date, using several different methods, the Evolved Chatelperronian, proto-Aurignacian and the Early Aurignacian.

More information can be found here or here, see also:

Jacobs, Z., Li, B., Jankowski, N., & Soressi, M. 2015 Testing of a single grain OSL chronology across the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition at Les Cottés (France). Journal of Archaeological Science, 54, 110-122.

Welker, F., Soressi, M., Rendu, W., Hublin, J. J., & Collins, M. 2015 Using ZooMS to identify fragmentary bone from the Late Middle/Early Upper Palaeolithic sequence of Les Cottés, France. Journal of Archaeological Science, 54, 279-286.

Soressi, M., & Roussel, M. 2014 European Middle to Upper Paleolithic Transitional Industries: Châtelperronian. In Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology (pp. 2679-2693). Springer New York.

Talamo, S., Soressi, M., Roussel, M., Richards, M. and J.-J. Hublin (2012) A Radiocarbon chronology for the complete Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transitional sequence of Les Cottés (France). Journal of Archaeological Science. 39(1):175-183. [pdf]


This excavation is funded by the Department of Human Evolution and the French Ministry of Culture.

Viw of the excavation

The next field season is planned for July 2015.

If you are interested in participating in the project, please download the application form.

students in the filed