Recent excavation and recording at the new Neolithic rock art site of Vallée aux Noirs, Buthiers (Seine-et-Marne, France)

Serge Cassen, Valentin Grimaud, Laurent Lescop, Christophe Petit, Guillaume Robin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Following the exceptional discovery of Neolithic engravings on a boulder at Vallée aux Noirs in the Fontainebleau forest, south of Paris, an excavation trench was opened in order to access the buried part of the decorated rock panel and explore the stratigraphic context of the artwork. A palaeosol was found two metres below the modern ground level, underneath multiple layers of sterile sandy soil making a very compact sequence from which only one archaeological artefact was recovered – an Iron Age fibula (c. 200-300 BC). Dating of the palaeosol was attempted through two different methods: AMS dates from charcoal suggest a significant span from the Early Bronze Age to the Iron Age, while two more consistent OSL dates point to formation of the palaeosol during the Late Neolithic (3,500-3,000 cal BC). The entire engraved rock surface (16 m2), including its buried part, was fully recorded. Four main semiotic groups were identified: a typical fifth millennium crook-hafted axe with a ring, two boats with steering oars, all arranged around a very tall human figure dominating the composition from its 3.5-metre height.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-135
Number of pages17
JournalOxford Journal of Archaeology
Volume37
Issue number2
Early online date16 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2018

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