The Michelsberg funerary monuments of Beaurieux and Concevreux

07 juillet 2020 par Louise GOMART

Coordinators: L. Manolakakis & C. Thevenet

The funerary monument of Beaurieux La Plaine, dated to 4200/4150 BCE, is located about 800 m north of the contemporaneous settlement of Cuiry and was a fundamental discovery for enhancing our knowledge of Michelsberg funerary practices. The lithic material found deposited in the two male tombs is also exceptional, with 20 arrow heads, some of which are decorated, and massive blades.

Almost opposite the monument, on the left bank of the Aisne, I co-directed the excavation of a monument at Concevreux ‘La Rosière’ with C. Thevenet, less than 500 m west of the Michelsberg enclosure of Concevreux. Although the monument turned out to be extremely eroded, with no preserved tombs, it presents striking similarities with the one at Beaurieux and therefore also merits publication.

Plan of excavations of Concevreux ‘La rosière’.

A small monograph, Les pratiques funéraires Michelsberg dans la vallée de l’Aisne (L. Manolakakis and C. Thevenet dir.) will include the two funerary monuments of Beaurieux and Concevreux, and the four isolated Michelsberg burials of Cuiry. It will present detailed analyses of funerary, architectural and ritual practices, as well as a synthesis of synchronic (Michelsberg of the Paris Basin and Rhine) and diachronic (Middle Neolithic I, Cerny) comparisons.

A specific article is currently being written with M. Regert (CNRS CEPAM) and L. Bellot-Gurlet (UPMC) on the decorations on the 20 arrowheads. When I discovered these painted motifs during the excavation, I initiated a collaboration project on the chemical characterisation of residues.