Five Middle-Palaeolithic assemblages coming from archaeological sites in the Haute-Loire and Ardèche dated to isotopic stages 7 to 5 have been studied using a petroarchaeological method based on the optimization of observation techniques at different scales with respect to genetic and postgenetic characteristics of flint raw materials. The method reveals a relatively large collection area for the middle mountain sites (Sainte-Anne I, Baume-Vallée, Le Rond-de-Saint-Arcons, Rochelimagne), but apparently a smaller one for the site of Payre, located nearby the side of the Rhône Valley. For all sites, gathering is predominantly local, but some distant sources are utilised too. The rare exogenous materials, for example the Bedoulian flint from Ardèche identified in the Velay assemblages (Sainte-Anne I, Baume-Vallée) are in fact located in the heart of the massif as well as in secondary deposits and thus do not allow one to establish firm circulation routes for, or certain contact between the relevant human groups.
Haute-Loire, Ardèche, Middle Palaeolithic, flint, primary outcrop, secondary outcrop, cortex, neocortex, gathering outcrop, circulation, France