The Michelsberg funerary monuments of Beaurieux and Concevreux

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.

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.

See also in «Current projects»

Chalcolithic lithic industries of Sultana My research focuses on the lithic industries of the Chalcolithic sites of Sultana, thanks to new excavations led by C. Lăzăr, and includes training a Romanian student in lithic technology. Autour du grand tell daté du Gumelnița et fouillé en 1924 (Andrieșescu 1924), se trouvent des sites plats et des cimetières couvrant l’ensemble du Chalcolithique : Boian pour l’étape ancienne et Gumelnița pour l’étape récente. Les sites sont installés dans la grande plaine loessique roumaine, sur la rive droite du Moștistea, affluent du Danube, et aujourd’hui au bord du lac artificiel de Moștistea. Contribution to the monograph on the Varna Necropolis Three bilingual (German, English) volumes dedicated to the necropolis of Varna, Das Varna Gräberfeld, will be published by Philipp von Zabern, in the DAI Eurasian Series, edited by V. Slavčev. I am in charge of the lithics, which I comprehensively reviewed after the recent revision of the funerary inventories. The multidisciplinary approach will combine technological and typological data, in connection with raw material supplies and types of production, as well as the functional analysis carried out by M. Gurova. L. Manolakakis in V. Slavčev, Dir. (2020, à paraître) IRP NORth (2020-2023) The Eastern European model of Neolithization contrasts with that of the West, in terms of modes and chronology. In the central Russian plain, the beginning of the Neolithic is dated between the second half of the 7th and 6th millennia BC, depending on the region considered, and is defined by the emergence of sedentarism and the appearance of ceramic technology. Despite occasional contacts with mixed farming groups, local populations maintained a lifestyle based on hunting, fishing and gathering. It was not until several millennia later that a real production economy was adopted and became widespread in the area (3rd and 2nd millennia BC). Based on the duration and the breakdown of events recorded in the Russian plain, we can follow the history of communities in the process of Neolithization in a very original way.