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photo: Morgan Roussel

Morgan Roussel is a Palaeolithic archaeologist who works as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Human Evolution. He is interested in the transitional industries and in the emergence of the Upper Palaeolithic from Western Europe.

He is currently working on lithic technology from Final Mousterian and Initial Upper Paleolithic from French sites such as “Quinçay”, “Les Cottés” or “Le Fontenioux”, all of them beyond the 46th parallel. This research is part of the ongoing debate about the replacement of Neandertals by Modern Humans in Western Europe.

In his doctoral thesis (June 2011), he studied the three châtelperronian layers preserved in sequence at Quinçay. He showed that the hypothesis of an internal evolution within this techno-complex has to be rejected. He provided new results on the bladelet production at Quinçay, which might be the result of contact between Châtelperronian groups and Protoaurignacian ones.

Member of Les Cottés research team since the project started in 2006, he contributes to  documented occupations of Châtelperronian, Protoaurignacian and early Aurignacian preserved in sequence at this site. The lithic technical system of the Protoaurignacian, based on production of long bladelets, is different from the one of the early Aurignacian, mainly oriented towards the production of large and medium blades as well as short bladelets. Les Cottés site allows to document Protoaurignacian occupation in the northern part of France older than the early Aurignacian ones.

In august 2012, he started a new excavations project at Le Fontenioux. This cave site, distant of 350 meters on the same bank as Les Cottés preserves a stratigraphy of at least two layers: Châtelperronian and early Aurignacian. Comparison with Châtelperronian lithics from Les Cottés and Quinçay will allow a better understanding of the Châtelperronian development out of the Southwest of France. Ongoing studies are promising.

Also, a part of his research concerns lithic experiments especially in the percussion techniques. He documented the use of soft stone hammer during the Quina Mousterian in the shaping of bifacial tools at Jonzac.

He was part of the Jonzac research team from 2005 to 2008 and he participated to several fieldworks in France, Austria and Morocco.


Department of Human Evolution
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
D-04103 Leipzig