The Cave Bear (Ursus spelaeus) Scratches in Chauvet Cave (Ardèche, France)

Identifycation, 3D Mapping and Paleoethological Consideration from Wall Marking Activities

Abstract

The Chauvet Cave in south-eastern France is world famous for its exceptionally well-preserved rock art (paintings, engravings), dating exclusively from the early Late Paleolithic (32-36,000 years). This cavity also contains evidence of occupation by cave bears (Ursus spelaeus), on the floors (bones, beds, footprints) and walls (scratches, bärenschliffen). Based on 3D modelling of floors, walls and vaults in several galleries, a morphometric analysis is currently carried out and proposes a new methodological approach for these paleobiological records (size/shape of scratches, scratches measurements, density of scratches/m2, height of ursid marks on the walls, variability, spatialization). First results suggest a high density of scratches in deeper galleries of the cavity (between 80 and 160 meters from the Paleolithic entrance). Scratch sizes reveal intense wall marking activities by cave bear cubs and adult females and in a much less proportion by adult/large males.

Date
Jul 25, 2021 — Aug 1, 2021
Location
Savoie Technolac
73370 Le Bourget-du-Lac
Nicolas Frerebeau
Nicolas Frerebeau
Archaeologist

Technological choices in ancient societies.

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