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Reproduce to Understand: Experimental Approach Based on Footprints in Cussac Cave (Southwestern France)

Abstract : The morphology of a track depends on many factors that must be considered when interpreting it. An experimental approach is often required to understand the influence of each of these factors, both at the time of the track formation and after its formation. These aspects, which are fairly well documented for tracks found in open-air settings, are much more limited for those found in karst settings. Although caves are stable environments enabling the preservation of archaeological remains, many taphonomical processes can alter the grounds and the walls. Based on the observations made on footprints found in Cussac Cave (Dordogne region of southwestern France), this study focuses on one of these natural phenomena and tests the impact of flooding episodes and the resulting clay deposits on the track's morphology and topography. Our experiments show that although the general morphology of footprints and some details such as digits are preserved, their topography is altered by successive flooding episodes and clay deposits. The loss of definition of the footprints due to flooding episodes can also lead to misinterpretation. This work sheds new light on the Cussac footprints, while the further development of such experiments will allow us to improve our results and apply them to other settings and sites.
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https://hal-mnhn.archives-ouvertes.fr/mnhn-03431654
Contributor : Gilles Berillon Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 6:26:42 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 24, 2021 - 10:50:05 AM

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Lysianna Ledoux, Gilles Berillon, Nathalie Fourment, Jacques Jaubert. Reproduce to Understand: Experimental Approach Based on Footprints in Cussac Cave (Southwestern France). Reading Prehistoric Human Tracks, Springer International Publishing, pp.67 - 89, 2021, ⟨10.1007/978-3-030-60406-6_4⟩. ⟨mnhn-03431654⟩

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