Caves as Typesites

A typesite (type locale, locus typicus) is the place, where a particular archaeological culture was discovered first. This is a common technique amongst archaeologists: when they find new artifacts, which are important enough to call them a new culture, this culture is named after the place. 150 years ago archaeology started to discover stone age tools in French caves. Soon all over central Europe caves were excavated, and so many cultures which are today well known, were named after the caves. Many of the caves are today show caves, and so we tried to make a little list.

Name Type Time Period Region Description Wikipedia Typesite
Acheuléen industry 1,000,000 to 200,000 BP Lower Palaeolithic across Africa and much of Asia and Europe The dominant technology for the vast majority of human history, characterized by distinctive oval and pear-shaped handaxes. WikipediaAcheulean St. Acheul, France. Gravel pits at the river Somme.
Azilian industry ~ 10,000 BP terminal Palaeolithic and early Mesolithic northern Spain and southern France Azilian points are microliths with rounded retouched backs, crude flat bone harpoons and pebbles with abstract decoration. WikipediaAzilian ShowcaveGrotte du Mas-d'Azil
Mousterian industry 300,000 to 30,000 BP Middle Palaeolithic all over unglaciated Europe, Middle East, and North Africa Handaxes, racloirs and points, sometimes a Levallois technique or another Prepared-core technique employed. WikipediaMousterian ShowcaveAbri du Moustier
Aurignacian culture 43,000-26,000 BP Upper Paleolithic Eurasia The first European culture of modern humans, oldest examples of figurative art. WikipediaAurignacian Cave of Aurignac (Haute-Garonne)
Solutrean culture 22,000-17,000 BP Upper Paleolithic, Final Gravettian France, Spain and Portugal relatively advanced flint tool-making style. WikipediaSolutrean Cros du Charnier, Solutré (Saône-et-Loire)
Magdalenian culture 18,000 and 10,000 BP Upper Palaeolithic western Europe, from Portugal to Poland "L'Age du Renne" (the age of the reindeer), synonymous with reindeer hunters. Extensive evidence for the hunting of red deer, horse and other large mammals. Characterised by regular blade industries struck from carinated cores. WikipediaMagdalenian CaveAbri la Madelene
Sauveterrian culture 7,000-8,000 BC Mesolithic western and central Europe Geometric microliths and backed points on micro-blades. Wood working tools are notably missing. Evidence for ritual burial. WikipediaSauveterrian Abris at Sauveterre-la-Lémance (Lot-et-Garonne)
Dzibilchaltun Maya civilization WikipediaDzibilchaltun KarstDzibilchaltún Cenote
Neanderthal man 230,000 to 29,000 BP Middle Paleolithic Europe and parts of western Asia The Neanderthal (Homo neanderthalensis) was a species of the Homo genus that inhabited Europe and parts of western Asia. WikipediaNeanderthal CaveNeanderthal
Cro-Magnon man 35,000 to 10,000 BP Upper Paleolithic WikipediaCro-Magnon man CaveAbri de Cro-Magnon