The upper level of the Mandrin Cave has been occupied by Humans during a short period after 35 000 BP. The leptolithic industry unearthed from this level closely resembles those locally attributed to a Mediterranean Aurignacian, considered now as the earliest expression of the Upper Palaeolithic in southeastern France, where Castelperronian industries are not known. Identification and characterisation of a new transitional complex not known until now is under process. The cave, a small north-exposed rock shelter, is located south of Montélimar, in the Rhone Valley. Explored since 1990, it is stratigraphically composed of eight levels, corresponding to a late Middle Palaeolithic. The analysis of the technical systems found in the Protoaurignacian stratum reveals a large predominance of rectilinear Dufour's bladelets, longer than 5 cm. The present study casts a new look on the technical systems and proposes specific schemes for the production of bladelets, as well as, founded on the actual composition of the assemblages, a synthesis of the first human settlements in Mediterranean France.
Early Upper Paleolithic, Protoaurignacian, First modern human occupations, Southeastern France, Production lines, Long Dufour bladelets