Baume des Peyrards

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La balme des Peyrards is a prehistoric site located on the territory of the commune of Buoux, in the Vaucluse (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, France).

It is a vast shelter dug in the molasse at the foot of a slightly overhanging wall, about forty meters long and four to five meters deep. Its exposure to the southeast and its location at the bottom of a steep valley on the right bank of the Aigue Brun made it a refuge of choice for the Neanderthals, who used it on several occasions as a hunting stop and then as a permanent housing.

Baume des Peyrards was occupied during the Middle Palaeolithic, from about −130,000 to −50,000 years ago. The habitat was to consist, according to Henry de Lumley, of a hut 11.5 m long by 7 m deep, leaning against the wall and whose location was delimited by a line of large blocks. Several hearths were installed inside.

The Mousterian material includes flint tools which reveal, for a large number, the use of the Levallois method intended to obtain flakes with predetermined shapes. The remains of fauna include the Ibex, the Horse, the Aurochs, the Deer, the Roe deer, the Marmot, the Rabbit, the Boar, the Brown Bear and the Wolf, in varying proportions according to the stratigraphic units. Combined with the contributions of sedimentology, they make it possible to follow the evolution of the climate over a period ranging from the end of the Riss glaciation to the end of the ancient Würm.

La Baume des Peyrards also yielded some Neanderthal human remains, four teeth from three young adults and a ten-year-old child.