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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications / WALOU CAVE (TROOZ): AN EXCEPTIONAL SEQUENCE FROM THE BELGIAN PALAEOLITHIC

Christelle Draily, Stéphane Pirson, Mona Court-Picon, Wim van Neer, Wim Wouters, Bjorn De Wilde, Nick Debenham, Freddy Damblon and Michel Toussaint (2014)

WALOU CAVE (TROOZ): AN EXCEPTIONAL SEQUENCE FROM THE BELGIAN PALAEOLITHIC

In: "Middle Paleolithic in North-Western Europe: Multidisciplinary approaches" Conference, ed. by Kevin DiModica, Stéphane Pirson, Michel Toussaint, Grégory Abrams, Dominique Bonjean, pp. 59, Cellule Events-DGO4” (SPW).

Located some 10 km at the south-east of Liège the Walou cave entrance faces the north-west, 25 m above the Magne, a tributary of the Vesdre river. Excavations were conducted at the site from 1985 to 1990 and then from 1996 to 2004, revealing numerous successive prehistoric occupations. Its extensive stratigraphic sequence is the best documented for a Belgian Upper Pleistocene karst site. Thanks to a multidisciplinary approach the chronostratigraphic and palaeoenvironmental framework of the occupations is well understood. Out of the 45 layers of the sequence 25 yielded archaeological material. There are traces of the Neolithic (Layer A2) and the Mesolithic (Layers A4 and A5) at the top. The cave also revealed several Upper Palaeolithic occupations: Federmesser (Layer B1), Gravettian (Layer B5) and Aurignacian (Layer CI-1). The lower half of the sequence, which encompasses the Last Interglacial and the Weichselian Early Glacial, includes 9 Mousterian occupations; 6 reworked layers also yielded some artefacts from that culture. A Neandertal tooth was found in Layer CI-8, which contains the richest Mousterian occupation of the site. All lithic material was made from flint probably sourced in secondary position near the cave. Only the Gravettian and Aurignacian occupations yielded other man-made materials: antler spearheads and animal and mineral non-utilitarian artefacts from the Aurignacian. Numerous faunal remains were also found; among them: cave bear, cave hyena, horse, fox, bison/aurochs, woolly rhinoceros, deer, mammoth, chamois, hare, small rodents and a few birds. The study of the fish remains revealed that fishing took place at the site, as much during the Middle Palaeolithic as during the Upper Palaeolithic and Neolithic.
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