Grotte de la Roche au Loup

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Site type:
Site function:
Habitation site
45.74, -0.5

The Grotte de la Roche-au-Loup is a prehistoric site located in Merry-sur-Yonne, Yonne, Burgundy, France.

Its deposits from the Middle and Upper Paleolithic, its richness in fauna, and its position at the junction between the Alpine zone and the northern European plain make it a notable site.1. It was occupied at the Châtelperronien, a rare fact north of the Loire, and at the final bronze. It is also remarkable for some of the objects of the Châtelperronien which demonstrate a choice of both psychological and functional nature.

In 1983, Poplin and his team found a series of objects dating from the Châtelperronien (about 45,000 to 40,000 years before the present). The most notable is a small block of galena, a piece of sandstone in the shape of a deer spit.l s, and a fossil sea urchin, all surrounded by tools, some coals, and pieces of ochre.

The sea urchin fossil of the (extinct) genus Micraster, dating from the Cretaceous, was cut for use as a scraper or slicer. Poplin specifies that it has been reported over a great distance, that this fossil "made only a mediocre pebble of raw material", and that his choice is more likely the result of a psychological sensitivity "to forms, matter, colors, sense of discovery, appropriation.

The Châtelperronian level is marked by a lithic association made of Mousterian forms, points of the Châtelperron type, "grooved blades" and scrapers of the "Tarté type". This association was also met in Châtelperron, Germolles, Ferrassie, Haurets (Ladaux) and Gargas.

Fragmentary human remains are discovered, but the context of the discovery is uncertain even if one of them (a tooth) seems to come from the breach attributed, in part, to the Châtelperronian.