The prehistoric site of La Roche-Cotard (LRC) is located on the right bank slope of the Loire Valley, a little upstream of Langeais in Indre-et-Loire. The site was made accessible by extensive material collection in 1846. The main cave, LRC I, was excavated in 1912: it contained a middle Paleolithic industry and digital traces were discovered in 1975 and validated in 2008. The resumption of excavations on the site since 2008 has highlighted a powerful 11 meter section with 22 distinct layers, the lower part of which fills a shelter: locus LRC IV, very close to LRC I. The stratigraphy combines from the bottom to the top, karstic inputs, fluvial and eolian sands from the Loire valley and slope deposits. Indices of anthropic occupation (lithic industry, burned bones) attest to the occupation of this space. Numerous radiocarbon and OSL ages make it possible to chronologically constrains this filling between the limit of the isotopic stages 7 and 6 (layer 22 - 169 ka) and the end of stage 3 (layer 2 - 25 ka). The locus has given rise to a multidisciplinary study as complete as possible (sedimentology and micromorphology, small and large vertebrate faunas, lithic industry...). These data provide new information on the palaeoenvironmental evolution of the region, which is poorly known in this time range. The geometry and the age of the deposits lead to the hypothesis that the main cave LRC I was impenetrable by Homo sapiens at least starting from the beginning of the isotopic stage 3 (60 ka) and thus that the parietal productions with symbolic character of the cave are most likely to be attributed to Neanderthal man.
|Translated title of the contribution||The prehistoric site of la Roche-Cotard IV (Indre-et-Loire, France): A middle and upper Pleistocene sequence, reference for the Val-de-Loire in Touraine|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
- Upper pleistocene
- Middle Paleolithic
- Loire river
- Lithic industry