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Cinquante ans après la découverte. État des connaissances et apport des fouilles récentes sur le site campaniforme de la République à Talmont-Saint-Hilaire (Vendée)

Abstract : The Republic site is located on the edge of a small coastal cliff at Talmont-Saint-Hilaire in Vendée (France). It is part of an extensive Bell Beaker settlement along the Vendée coast comprising of almost fifteen sites or possible sites over several kilometers. After the discovery of the Republic site in 1968 by Roger Joussaume, several archaeological excavations have been conducted between 1988 and 2015 (Bertrand Poissonnier in 1988, Jean-Maurice Gilbert in 1990, Henri Gandois and Lolita Rousseau in 2014 and 2015). Due to its geographical location, archaeological remains appear regularly on the surface or in cliff sections because of erosion. This paper is an overview of discoveries made in the last 50 years relating to this Bell Beaker settlement area (dated from the end of the late Neolithic to the beginning of the Early Bronze Age), which is characterized by a significant pottery corpus. One of the largest of north-west France, it comprises of 2044 sherds and 13.5 kilograms, at least 140 vessels. This includes 59 Bell Beaker vessels decorated with shell and comb printing, 35 cordoned vessels, two bowls and one spoon. 2 582 lithic artifacts made from small coastal pebbles and vein quartz using bipolar flaking as well as ground stone tools attest to knapping and domestic activities with several small knapping areas being identified. The site also shows some evidence of early copper metalworking including metallic slags and two possible features (although these could also have been features relating to salt production) during the early surveys and excavations. The latest archaeological excavation has shown that the metalworking took place on the site using a previously undocumented technique for the Atlantic façade, namely the smelting of ore in a furnace-vessel. Recent excavations have also provided the opportunity to make a comprehensive study of all of the artifacts, including those that have remained unpublished and to carry out use wear analysis on chipped stone tools, radiocarbon dating and analyses on cuprous elements and organic residues. The site located on the coast could be a short term and extensive domestic occupation. The geographical situation favors specialized activities such as metalworking and a possible salt production and/or subsistence on foreshore with access to lithic (pebbles, etc.), and fishing resources (shells, fish, etc.), as well as to a navigable network that has undoubtedly fostered trade. It is noteworthy that the few Bell Beaker sites with attested metalworking are located in coastal areas, with the hypothesis that copper ores originated from the Iberian Peninsula. These sites would also have been settlements as metalworking was generally carried out within a domestic context. At Republic, the main domestic area seems to lie outside of the perimeter of the various excavations, unless it has simply disappeared due to coastal erosion, the cliff face having retreated more than 8 meters in the last 30 years. The ongoing documentation of these sites by regular surveying and rescue excavations within the context of coastal erosion, will contribute to a better understanding of the many sites on the Atlantic coast.
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Submitted on : Saturday, April 18, 2020 - 10:10:06 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 4:16:42 AM

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  • HAL Id : hal-02546553, version 1

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Lolita Rousseau, Henri Gandois, Quentin Favrel, David Cuenca-Solana, Catherine Dupont, et al.. Cinquante ans après la découverte. État des connaissances et apport des fouilles récentes sur le site campaniforme de la République à Talmont-Saint-Hilaire (Vendée). Bulletin de la Société Préhistorique Française, Société Préhistorique Française, 2020, 117 (1), pp.47-84. ⟨hal-02546553⟩

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