Archaeology / Cultural Heritage / History

[Archaeology] [twocolumns]

Anthropology / Human Evolution / Linguistics

[Anthropology] [twocolumns]

Palaeontology / Palaeoclimate / Earth Sciences

[Palaeontology] [twocolumns]

Evolution / Genetics / Biology

[Evolution][twocolumns]

Early Iron Age burials discovered in France


Several excavations have been requested by the DRAC Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes authorities since 2016 as part of the development of the Plaine de l'Ain Industrial Park (PIPA) in the commune of Saint-Vulbas. One of them, carried out by a team from Inrap, has, among other things, brought to light several funerary structures from the Early Iron Age.

Early Iron Age burials discovered in France
General view of the site with a circular enclosure from the Early Iron Age in the foreground
[Credit: Philippe Alix, Inrap]
The excavation of almost one hectare took place to the north of a vast protohistoric funerary area (Bronze Age and Iron Age), which was identified during the course of a series of preliminary surveys, extending over several dozens of hectares on the right bank of the Rhone.

Early Iron Age burials discovered in France
General view of the excavation site with the grave site in the foreground on the right and the circular
enclosure of the Early Iron Age with central cremation deposit in the background
[Cecile Ramponi, Inrap]
Early Iron Age burials discovered in France
Burnt mud and bones deposit in the centre of one of the circular enclosures of the Early Iron Age
[Credit: Philippe Alix, Inrap]



One burial and three circular enclosures, probably tumuli, were found from the very beginning of the Iron Age (first half of the 8th century BC), one of which still has a central cremation repository. Towards the end of the 5th century BC a new grave site was established which consists of cremation pit associated with a four-post aedicula in the centre of a small quadrangular enclosure. 

Early Iron Age burials discovered in France
View of the Iron Age burial before the excavation
[Credit: Jean-Claude Sarrasin, Inrap]
Early Iron Age burials discovered in France
Excavation of the Iron Age burial of a woman
[Credit: Jean-Michel Treffort, Inrap]
The excavation of the Iron Age burial showed that the original shape of the grave was a rectangular pit 2.85 m long and 1.10 m wide, dug in the sandy gravel of the fluvio-glacial tableland. On its bottom, five pebbles are positioned in such a way as to support a wooden coffin in which the body of the deceased was initially placed.

Early Iron Age burials discovered in France
View of the Iron Age burial with the belt and clasp
[Credit: Jean-Michel Treffort, Inrap]
Early Iron Age burials discovered in France
Proposal for reconstruction of the Iron Age burial, with his monoxyl grave 
[Credit: Francois Gauchet, Inrap]



The imprint of the coffin remained visible in the form of greyish traces about ten centimetres wide, straight in plan and rounded (outer and inner walls) in cross-section, which is characteristic of a monoxyl shaped coffin. Fragments of the wood preserved under the body indicate that the coffin was made of oak. The decomposition of the body in a hollow space also suggests that the coffin may have been sealed, probably with one or more planks, before the grave was completely filled in and a surface indicator was put in place (tumulus, stone?).

Early Iron Age burials discovered in France
Detail of the buckle and belt appliques on the hip bone from the Iron Age burial [Credit: Jean-Michel Treffort, Inrap]
Early Iron Age burials discovered in France
Detail of the belt appliques on the hip bone from the Iron Age burial[Credit: Jean-Michel Treffort, Inrap]
Inside the coffin, the deceased, a middle-aged woman, was placed on her back, arms at her sides, dressed and adorned with her jewellery. An intact earthenware pot was placed near and to the right of her head. At each wrist is a bracelet and a belt wrapped around her hips. These ornaments are badly preserved but can be reconstructed because they are known from the site of Grange Rouge in Quincieux (Rhone).

Early Iron Age burials discovered in France
Inner side of the belt buckle from the Iron Age burial[Credit: Jean-Claude Sarrasin, Inrap]
Early Iron Age burials discovered in France
Belt buckle decoration from the Iron Age burial[Credit: Jean-Claude Sarrasin, Inrap]



The bracelets are made of blue to blue-green glass beads and decorated with light-coloured threads, alternating with large series of disc-shaped copper alloy beads. The belt is in the form of a ribbon about 6 cm wide, probably made of leather, entirely covered with hemispherical copper alloy claw appliques (O = 3.5 to 4 mm). A clip, also made of copper alloy, kept it fastened. Several fragments of material, mineralized in contact with the bronze of the belt, bear the imprint of a probable textile and fibrous traces could indicate, in addition to wood, the presence of leather, fur or felt.

Early Iron Age burials discovered in France
Stack of disc-shaped copper alloy beads on the wrist of the Iron Age burial subject 
[Credit: Jean-Michel Treffort, Inrap]
Early Iron Age burials discovered in France
Glass beads from the bracelets from the Iron Age burial
[Credit: Jean-Claude Sarrasin, Inrap]
A complex funerary monument was erected near one of the circular enclosures of the Early Iron Age at the end of the 5th century BC. It is a four-post building, possibly partitioned, and possibly with a roof. It is surrounded by a small quadrangular ditch (5 m x 5.20 m) and built above a secondary cremation deposit. The burial is in the form of a pit in which two separate and possibly concomitant deposits of bones were made.

Early Iron Age burials discovered in France
General view of the funerary monument of the end of the Early Iron Age
being excavated [Credit: Cecile Ramponi, Inrap]
Early Iron Age graves burials in France
Proposal for the reconstrction of the quadrangular funerary monument
and cremation [Credit: Francois Gauchet, Inrap]



In the first deposit there was box of rigid organic material, possibly wood, which contained a selection of bones, washed after the cremation, and copper alloy filiform bracelets. The box was lined with limestone plates, possibly the receptacle for food offerings.

Early Iron Age burials discovered in France
View of the Late Iron Age pit burial during excavation
[Credit: Philippe Alix, Inrap]
Early Iron Age burials discovered in France
Bones and the stone casing of the pit burial
[Credit: Philippe Alix, Inrap]
The second deposit contains bones, fragments of copper bracelets and an iron belt clip placed inside a flexible container, possibly a basket. Although the condition of the bones does not make it possible to determine the sex of the cremated person, the adornments suggest the deceased was a woman

The pit appears to be at least partially covered with limestone plaques and the presence of a small mound finishing off the burial cannot be excluded.


TANN

Post A Comment
  • Blogger Comment using Blogger
  • Facebook Comment using Facebook
  • Disqus Comment using Disqus

No comments :


Exhibitions / Travel

[Exhibitions] [bsummary]

Natural Heritage / Environment / Wildlife

[Natural Heritage] [list]

Astronomy / Astrobiology / Space Exploration

[Universe] [list]