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.
Les 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 in a recent
paper (In French), see also:
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.
This excavation is funded by the Department of Human Evolution, the French Ministry of Culture, and the INRAP
The next field season is planned for July/August 2013.
If you are interested in participating in the project, please download the application form.