Re-investigatedThe Mousterian Loess Sequence ‘La Combette’ (France) and its Chronological Framework

Authors Organisations
  • Sebastian Kreutzer(Corresponding Author) (Corresponding Author)
    IRAMAT-CRP2A, UMR5060, CNRS-Université Bordeaux Montaigne
  • Hélène Valladas(Author)
    Université Paris‐Saclay
  • Pierre-Jean Texier(Author)
    Aix-Marseille University
  • Virginie Moineau(Author)
    IRAMAT-CRP2A, UMR5060, CNRS-Université Bordeaux Montaigne
  • Carlo Mologni(Author)
    Université Côte d'Azur
  • Norbert Mercier(Author)
    IRAMAT-CRP2A, UMR5060, CNRS-Université Bordeaux Montaigne
Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-252
JournalComptes Rendus Palevol
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 07 Apr 2021
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The rock- shelter ‘La Combette’, located in the Luberon mountain (southern France), is an essential local archaeological discovery. The site comprises several Palaeolithic layers suggesting multiple phases of Mousterian occupation. The sediment sequence of ca 7 m thickness, indicates rapid changes of the environmental conditions, which led to an abandonment of the site. While first chronological studies were already carried out in the late 1990s, in 2014, new sediment samples were taken for state-of-the-art luminescence-dating analyses using fine grain (4–11 μm) quartz, and polymineral separates. Samples were taken from the loess dominated upper archaeological levels A to D (upper main unit) as well as from the anthropogenic layer E, embedded a in fluvial context, and from the bottom deposits of the layer F/G. Here we present the obtained chronological dataset in conjunction with 24 so far unpublished thermoluminescence dating results on burnt flint artefacts from layers E and F/G. We combine and discuss our results against previous chronological datasets, which seem to be broadly confirmed by our new findings framing the sedimentation history of La Combette at 78.3 ka to 39.4 ka. In summary, it appears that the local environmental conditions were deeply impacted by the climatic changes during the MIS 4/3. This caused rapid sediment influx finally rendered the rock shelter inhabitable as a potential refuge, until its re- discovery in the second half of the 20th century.


  • La Combette, Mousterian, Chronology, Flint, Loess, Luminescence dating