Chasseurs magdaléniens et rennes en bassin de l’Aude : analyse préliminaire


fr Anthropozoologica 21 - Pages 147-156

Published on 01 November 1995

This article is a part of the thematic issue Animal in man's space, man in the animal space. Proceedings of the 5th international meeting of HASRI, Genova, 23-25 November 1994

Magdalenian reindeers huniers in the Aude basin: preliminary analysis

This article is a contribution to the reconsideration of an old problem: did Reindeer migrate during the Upper Palaeolithic and what does this imply regarding the mobility and subsistence of human groups? At the end of the Upper Palaeolithic, the Reindeer was an important part of the diet of some Magdalenian groups. We must détermine the season of year Reindeer were hunted in order to know how far they migrated at the end of the Upper Palaeolithic. This in turn raises questions regarding how these people managed to survive when the animals migrated. The archaeozoological study of three Magdalenian sites in the Bassin de l'Aude (Tournai, Canecaude and Gazel) enables us to reconsider this old problem. There is evidence in these three sites that Reindeer were hunted in the winter and early spring. The situation proves to be quite different in some Magdalenian sites in the Pyrénées. There, Reindeer were hunted during different seasons, depending on the site. In some cases, a single site may provide evidence of many different hunting seasons. Front this we can conclude that Reindeer did not migrate as far away at the end of the Upper Palaeolithic, as they do today. But we cannot know as yet whether Man followed his game or whether he chose another type offood. The study of the fauna spectrums of the Pyrenean sites provides an answer to this question: it shows that men specialized in Reindeer hunting only at the end of the Magdalenian. So we must study when other species were hunted (for example, was it a complementary or a seasonal hunt?) in order to understand more fully how Man managed to survive and what this implied relating to his own seulement pattern.


Reindeer, Migration, Seasonality, Subsistence, Magdalenian, Aude.

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