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Lazaret and Terra Amata

Oct 11th, 2009 | By | Category: Historic Sites

Terra Amata is an archaeological site near the French town of Nice.

Lazaret and Terra AmataThe prehistoric sites of Lazaret and Terra Amata was an open site with finds of Acheulean flint tools dating it to the Lower Paleolithic. It was excavated by a team of archaeologists led by Henri de Lumley, who believed the site contained a series of superimposed living floors and who interpreted arrangements of stones at the site as the foundations of huts or windbreaks. This interpretation would make them some of the earliest examples of human habitation ever found.

However, as with other sites of possible human shelters, such as Grotte du Lazaret, the evidence is more conjectural than compelling. It is equally likely that that the stones were naturally deposited through stream flow, soil creep or some other natural process. Moreover, Paola Villa has demonstrated that stone artifacts from the different proposed living floors can be fitted together, showing that artifacts have moved up and down through the sediment column. Thus, the supposed living floor assemblages are most likely mixtures of artifacts from different time periods that have come to rest at particular levels. There is therefore compelling evidence that the site was subjected to relatively invasive post-depositional processes, which may also be responsible for the stone ‘arrangements’.

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