« De la pierre à la meule » durant le Néolithique, circulation et gestion des matières premières entre Rhin et Rhône
Translation of title : 'From stone to quern : circulation and management of raw materials between the Rhine and Rhóne Rivers in the Neolithic'
Key Words : 'back-and-forth' saddle quern, polishing tool, petro-graphic analyses, raw material origin, tools management, lake-dwelling, Neolithic, northwest of the Alps
The goal of this work is to analyse the management of heavy stone tools, from the source of the raw material to the moment it was discarded. The study is based on the analysis of artefacts brought to light on three lakeshore settlements : Chalain/Clairvaux (Jura), Charavines « Les Baigneurs » (Isère) and Sutz- Lattrigen « Riedstation » (Switzerland). The first line of research is chronological and is best applied to the Combe d'Ain limestone region. In the case of the 'back-and-forth' saddle quern, the choice of the raw material differs greatly between the Middle and Late Neolithic. During this earlier period, the source of the raw material is exclusively local, whereas in the later period, it is imported. For the Late Neolithic tools are treated differently according to their origin. Siliceous stones, brought from more than 50 km, seem to have an important economic value. The clearest indication of evolution is the reorientation of the supply network, a concept consistent with cultural changes. Polishing tools, consisting mostly of fine-grained sandstone, do not vary during the Late Neolithic. Some outcrops (20 km from the village) were already exploited during the Middle Neolithic. A constant observation is that between 3200 and 2600 BC, tools were always employed up to their end. The second line of research deals with the spatial location of these heavy stone tools. On lake dwellings, their interpretation is very complex. Saddle querns nevertheless seem to be used either in front of the house or at the entrance. There is possibly an evolution of the location of the grinding operation from the outside to inside the house, an indicator of an evolution of social practices during the Late Neolithic.