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XXVIIIe Congrès Préhistorique de France, 30th May4th June 2016

XXVIIIe Congrès Préhistorique de France : Préhistoire de l’Europe du Nord-Ouest : mobilités, climats et entités culturelles

30. Mai bis 4. Juni 2016

Session "L'Europe du nord-ouest autour de 9 600 Cal. B.C. : Quels changements ? / Northwest Europe around 10 000 BP (9600 cal.BC). What changes?" organised in collaboration with the UISPP commission "The Final Palaeolithic of Northern Eurasia"
Organisers: Jean-Pierre Fagnart (Conseil général de la Somme), Ludovic Mevel (UMR 7041, Ethnologie préhistorique), Boris Valentin (Université Paris 1 and UMR 7041, Ethnologie préhistorique), Mara-Julia Weber (ZBSA and UMR 7041, Ethnologie préhistorique)

10000 BP (9600 cal BC): this is, roughly speaking, the moment of transition between the Younger Dryas and the Preboreal, that is, between the Pleistocene and the Holocene. It is, equally, the juncture between the Final Palaeolithic and the Mesolithic – the “early”, as it is more and more often called, unless one places importance on distinguishing first an “initial” Mesolithic. Thus, many concurrent events accompany this chronological threshold highlighted in the title of our session.
Do these coincidences reflect palaeohistorical realities, mutations that are possibly very profound since the Palaeolithic-Mesolithic transition is concerned, set against the background of considerable climatic and environmental changes implying in fact the recomposition of the plant and animal species’ communities? Or is it primarily a matter of boundaries and (slightly fluctuating) conventions? We will therefore question the value of these landmarks, which requires that we first examine in detail what does change, hence our title.
Region by region we will specify in what way landscapes and societies evolve between the Younger Dryas and the Preboreal chronozones. We already know that rather innovative technical traditions saw the light of day then: Laborien, Belloisien, Ahrensburgian, Swiderian… so many names that contrast with the preceding designations (Azilien, Federmessergruppen et al.). But what is the actual degree of contrast, and what actually happened during the Younger Dryas? Moreover, is it necessary to have so many names (Ahrensburgian et al.) at the end of this environmental crisis? In other words, what is the exact level of affinity between these traditions with elegant laminar and lamellar productions? How and when do these productions vanish thereafter? Can we already aspire to learn why, that is to throw light upon the more general technical context as well as the economic (and social?) framework of the “Mesolithisation”? Can we also dare to make explanations about what happens beforehand, during the Younger Dryas and at its end?
Questions that were discussed in the course of several sessions organised since 2010 at Les Eyzies and at Bordeaux, rather dedicated to Southern Europe then, are revisited here. For the present session, Northern Europe (particularly its western part) will be the focus of our attention.

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