Tuesday, 22 July 2008
We have now been working in the Serre de l'Homme area of the Fournel Valley (Parc National des Ecrins) for three years. Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age and Medieval sites are scattered along the upper reaches of this valley between 2,200m to 2,350m asl. Last year we started work on the most complicated series of animal enclosures and associated "domestic" structures yet found in the French Alps (indeed anywhere in the high altitude zone of the Alpine Arc). The aim this year was to complete work on two structures that form part of the sequence at Serre de l'Homme (the upper reaches of the Fournel Valley). The sites in this area has thus far produced Late Neolithic to Middle Bronze Age 14C dates. This work is directed by Kevin Walsh (Department of Archaeology, University of York) and Florence Mocci (Centre Camille Jullian, CNRS, Aix-en-Provence)
The plan shown here presents a contour survey of the moraine and the situation of Serre de l'Homme XI (and the two phases of activity based on 14C dates). Excavations continued on this site, as well as on Serre de l'Homme XIX to the east. A new series of structures was also surveyed, and the digital terrain model was extended in all directions.
The moraine, shown here, is abutted by two lower areas that provide pasture. It is certain that the area on the left would have been very marshy in the past. It is also possible that the area on the right of the moraine was also wetter. The sites were thus located above the wet areas, and in some instances, actually abutting these marshy zones (see images towards the end of the blog).
The charcoal found (in the lower (left) part of this sample) indicates that the area was burnt just prior to the establishment of the structures at Serre de l'Homme XI. Evidence for management/preparation of the area for pasture...?