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L'archéologie à découvert

Sophie A. de Beaune
Henri-Paul Francfort


L’Archéologie à découvert: hommes, objets, espaces et temporalités» Archaeology Revealed: People, Objects, Spaces, and Times

Texte intégral

1Antoine Balzeau
Nouvelles questions et approches en paléoanthropologie. New questions and approaches in paleoanthropology
Paleoanthropology is a science in continuous evolution. Knowledge about morphological variation and evolution in hominins is being modified by new discoveries that have been particularly numerous, and sometimes unexpected, over the last 30 years. Moreover, new interdisciplinary approaches have broadened the methodological and analytical possibilities, giving access to previously unavailable information. We detail here the current state of the art concerning paleoanthropology and discuss emerging fields of research and new questions. In this context, we suggest some guidelines for optimal preservation, management and development of collections, including virtual data, while preserving their scientific exploitation.

2Philippe Barral, Martine Joly, Patrice Méniel
Archéologie et rituels. Archaeology and rituals
We present some recent developments in how archaeologists study religion, and how these approaches transform what we are learning in a specific time and place. The last twenty years have seen significant changes in the approach to the sanctuaries and cult places of the late Iron Age and the Roman period. These developments are linked to a broadening of the field of study and to numerous methodological innovations in the treatment of cult structures and cult places, and in the analysis of their material culture. Further progress in these directions will require a significant increase in the number of sites furnishing high-quality data, collected to a suitable standard.

3André Billamboz
Le temps court en archéologie. Short time scales in archaeology
Mastering time is a core task in archaeology, but methods able to measure the temporal dimension at high resolution are rather rare. Through its ability to date archaeological structures and their context directly, dendrochronology has created a revolution in the field. Especially for research on lake dwellers, systematic tree-ring investigations of large samples give us the opportunity to follow settlement development, by dating construction sequences. Dating their successive repairs also allows a better appreciation of the duration of structures and the dynamics of growth or decline of settlements over generations.
Dendroarchaeology is also well suited for technological and paleoenvironmental questions requiring high chronological precision –for example understanding the earliest forms of woodland management through dendrotypology, and climatic reconstructions allowing a better understanding of demographic and socio-economic changes in land use and food production, and finally ecological considerations, such as the reproductive cycle of cockchafer populations and their recurring damage to plantations and forests. With this wide range of applications and its suitability for multi-scalar approaches to time, dendroarchaeology offers many possibilities for improving our interpretation of settlement development relative to climatic variations, socio-economic strategies, and potential for land use. High-resolution chronologies provided by tree-ring analyses are crucial in archaeology, as they help us identify and appreciate continuities and discontinuities in history.

4Laurent Bouby, Marie-Pierre Ruas, Jean-Frédéric Terral
Les fruits: caractérisation carpologique et catégories culturelles. Fruits: identification and cultural categories
Developments in the study of the structure of seeds and fruit in France in the last thirty years permit a fairly accurate outline of the evolution of fruit species used in human diet since the last hunter-gatherers. The recent development of archaeobotanical databases greatly helps the investigation of the chrono-geographical dynamics of economic plants.
The history of arboriculture and fruits discussed in this paper allows us to consider recent methodological advances and theoretical prospects in archaeobotany more generally. Morphometrics improve taxonomic identifications, allowing us to distinguish subspecies, even cultivars or “cultigroups”, contributing to the development of research on the history of the domestication and cultivation of fruit trees. Morphometric investigations on grape pips, for example, find that various groups of grape cultivars were cultivated during Roman times, in southern France, and also prove that a wild morphotype was still commonly in use.
Such data allow a reevaluation of the economic and cultural role of wild fruit species and their relation to domesticated species. They support a more flexible use of modern taxonomic categories in historical situations and call for interdisciplinary approaches, especially combining anthropology and biology.

5Franck Braemer et al.
Archéologie et interdisciplinarité: qui? pourquoi? comment? Archaeology and interdisciplinarity: Who? Why? How?
Reconstructing the behaviour of people in their environment from material traces requires dialogue among researchers of several disciplines. The term “dialogue” implies multiple epistemic and practical realities which we sketch in part here. We can distinguish three scientific processes of convergence of interest between archaeology and other disciplines, each of which has its own logic of construction of the research object and development:
Motivated by concerns within their own disciplines, researchers can seek out experts from other fields to make progress on their own problems.
Researchers, in a volunteer initiative, can choose to build a new inquiry together.
Researchers from the physical, chemical, geologic or biological sciences can be integrated under the umbrella of archaeology integrate, and therein develop fully their own inquiry.

6Catherine Breniquet
Objets et images. Objects and images
At its beginning, during the Renaissance, archaeology developed as a discipline whose focus was above all the object, the art object really, including vases, statues, and antique coins. It developed its knowledge of these objects with historic and stylistic commentaries rather than by looking at the archaeological context from which they came. Several successive breaks, mostly associated with key paradigm shifts and hopes to validate hypotheses, helped bring about new approaches: the discovery of the meaning of context, the development of the social, and the advent of a laboratory-based archaeology. Objects and images became the privileged witnesses of ancient ways of life. However doesn’t such an efficacious approach mask a conceptual shortcoming? Were objects and images in and of themselves ever considered as “documents”, carrying their own meaning, and not just answerable to an illustrative use? A first step in this direction was taken when prehistorians accepted the very old antiquity of art, and another was set in motion when structuralist readings brought out the works’meanings without the support of exterior documentation or matter. A third step was the emergence of cognitive archaeology. Despite the great advances that such approaches brought to the field of archaeology, they were neither generalised, nor even accepted by the entire scientific community.
The aim of this paper is to review the strengths and weaknesses of the interpretative mechanisms in archaeology for objects and images. We shall attempt to look ahead towards necessary theories and concepts, not to examine actual material results (since these are pretty much givens) but rather to understand the mentalities of those who have bequeathed us such an understanding. Without pretending to universality, this paper emanates from one researcher’s personal experience with the study of archaic Mesopotamia, positioned half way between prehistoric societies and the “great” writing civilisations.

7Patrice Brun et Dominique Michelet
Organisation politique et archéologie. Political organization and archaeology
The archaeology of politics is a domain of research that has long been considered, at least in France, difficult to access, in the absence of ad hoc theoretical references (or models), and analytic methods adapted to, or even clear markers of, this dimension of life in society in the archaeological record. While it is true that the division, sometimes blurry, between social organizations and political systems can complicate reconstructions, archaeology of the political sphere proper provides crucial information. We offer here a brief “state of the art” on this domain, following two axes of investigation supplemented by an addendum.
1/ The forms of political organization that originated in the past —in reality, well before the emergence of states— need to be constantly redefined, and not only because the variability of the systems identified does not correspond well to the simple (or even the detailed) typologies that have been proposed. In addition, an examination of the material markers of political structures brings to light, in addition to the data that are traditionally called upon, new fields that are beginning to open and that will certainly develop further in the future, such as the study of kinship
via biological anthropology, applicable to questions of successions, notably in dynasties.
2/ The study of political dynamics constitutes another problem orientation that is also essential, because it is archaeology that traces the forms of the emergence of politics within pre-and protohistoric societies. Beyond simply identifying the evolution through which a given region may pass, it is, in fact, the
why and how of the appearances, disappearances, and transformations of political systems that must also be investigated, taking into account the complementary relationship between the processes and their agents (or actors).
3/ Finally, the archaeology of political structures and their functions in more recent periods must not neglect the clarification of these relationships that the discipline gains through reference to history and written sources on the subject.

8Frédérique Brunet et Corinne Debaine-Francfort
L’espace temporairement apprivoisé: études de cas (Ouzbékistan, Chine). Some cases of temporary tamed space: Uzbekistan, China
Central Asia combines two geocultural domains, steppes and oases, emphasizing two lifestyles. Our multidisciplinary researches, based on international cooperation, intend to explore major historical topics on a broad chronological and geographical scale, including the study of the evolution of fragile ecosystems. The study of two desert areas (Kyzyl-Kum in Uzbekistan, Taklamakan in Xinjiang, China) exemplify our approach: to test in Xinjiang the hypothesis of the existence of ancient agricultural settlements, and to examine in Uzbekistan the hunter-gathererfisher societies on the way to neolithisation, to understand their variety and evolution in nowadays totally dry deltas, and to clarify settlement patterns over the long term (from Neolithic to Antiquity). Archaeological sites discovered by our fieldwork give some clues about cultural patterns, subsistence practices, irrigation systems, and social organization from nomadic to sedentary systems. Our results tend to reconstruct modalities of the interactions between man and the environment in an unstable context, and to illuminate constants and variables of change in local, regional, and “international” scales.

9Pascal Butterlin
Archéologie et sociologie: le cas de l’Orient ancien. Archaeology and sociology: The Ancient Orient
Since its beginnings, near eastern archaeology has been the theater of a very stimulating mixture of archaeology and sociology: this paper is devoted to the identification of the routes of a very complex relationship between orientalism and sociological theory. We sustain that neo-evolutionism didn’t really extract near eastern archaeology from the orientalist mind and that explains why this field of research has not contributed to general sociology during the last decades. We need therefore to define in a new way the conditions of a new theoretical foundation for near eastern archaeology.

10Jean-Paul Demoule
L’intégration interdisciplinaire en archéologie. Interdisciplinary integration in archaeology
Archaeologists are necessarily interdisciplinary at the most elementary level, as they need other disciplines, in particular the natural sciences, to shed light on part of their data. Nevertheless, these relationships have varied through time. During the Renaissance, archaeology was mainly aimed at collecting ancient works of art, and blended into art history. Then, as archaeology improved its methods, it became associated from the 19th century with history, for which it was an “auxiliary discipline”. The study of prehistoric periods but also of very recent times, and the ever-increasing range of methods and techniques have gradually made archaeology autonomous, by providing it with a new definition: the analysis of human societies, whatever their age, through their material remains. Collaboration with other disciplines involves, notably, physics, chemistry and the environmental sciences —collaborations in which archaeologists should also maintain a critical distance. Yet the relations with the other social and human sciences are also fundamental, whether they concern art history or history, under renewed forms, or ethnology (with ethnoarchaeology), geography (with spatial analysis), sociology (with the archaeology of the present-day), psychology (with cognitive archaeology and evolutionary archaeology) and linguistics (with the study of migrations). Lastly, the current institutional landscape of archaeology is discussed. This is characterized by a certain break-up, clearly making genuine scientific collaboration more complex.

11Henri Duday
L’archéothanatologie, une manière nouvelle de penser l’archéologie de la Mort. Archaeothanatology: a new way to think about the archaeology of death
The archaeology of death has changed profoundly during the last decades. While it was traditionally based on the study of the structure and contents of tombs, it now builds its knowledge on human remains. This approach has developed along with rescue archaeology. For the moment France is indeed the only country which has a real professional body of “archaeologists of graves” trained in both field archaeology and in human osteology.
“Archaeothanatology” is based on
biological parameters (including skeletal anatomy and processes of decomposition). For ethical reasons, the discipline cannot build its knowledge base via experiments. It is therefore in the very particular situation having to develop its tools and methods even as it contributes to the interpretation of sites.
Interpretation of graves builds in a systematic way on observating the taphonomy of the corpse, in particular the relative chronology of articular dislocations. In the hierarchy articulations, those whose links break most quickly can be identified as the most relevant.
This article briefly discusses some of the classic “traps” in the interpretation of funeral rites, particularly whether the head is in its original position, or in a position acquired during decomposition.

12Christophe Falguères
Appréhender les temps anciens dans la très longue durée. Comprehension of ancient times in the very long term
Today, geochronology has definitely evolved into a pluridisciplinary approach to prehistoric sites using dating methods providing chronological frames associated with diagrams representing human evolution. The “long term” in prehistory dates back to 6 or 7 million years (Ma) thanks to fossil hominin remains discovered in Chad and Kenya. Important later steps were dated using various methods based on the natural radioactivity found in sediments and in samples, assisted by palaeomagnetic studies and biochronology. One of these important episodes is the movement Out of Africa, 1.8 Ma ago, with the oldest hominid occupation observed in Dmanisi, Georgia, crucial for the settlement of Eurasia.
The range of applicability of dating methods and the ability of samples to be dated define the potential for dating prehistoric sites. Some methods date sterile layers for which a stratigraphic relation should be found with prehistoric infilling. Other can be applied directly on samples coeval with human-bearing layers.
Recent improvements in the field of mass spectrometry and in isotopic geochemistry allow a more precise approach to dealing with the environment of prehistoric man, particularly for old periods such as the Early Pleistocene.

13Philippe Fluzin et Philippe Dillmann
Du minerai à l’objet: une lecture multidisciplinaire du métal. From mineral to object: a multidisciplinary reading of metal
We present the methodological aspects of multidisciplinary work on ancient metallurgies. This field combines research on wastes and products, and features a strong relationship between archaeology and archaeometry. In addition to morphology and external typology, different metallographic observations and physico-chemical analyses (particularly on slag inclusions) are performed on artefacts, leading to a better understanding of site organisation and technico-economical contexts in different areas at given periods.

14Mélanie Fondrillon
Formation des sols et usages sociaux: les terres noires urbaines en France. Site formation processes and land use: dark earth deposits in France
Stratigraphic research in an historical context began in the post-war years and was significantly improved during the mid-1990’s in northern Europe with development of geoarchaeological approaches. Characterization of human activity through analysis of archaeological sediments is based on the principle that human activities are recorded in stratigraphic properties. Dark earth deposits in urban contexts are typically thick strata of enigmatic function. These homogeneous and humic soil layers represent some nine centuries of urban land use from the 4
th to the 11th c. Geoarchaeological approaches, particularly microarchaeology based on recently developed analyses of sieved sediments, reveal depositional and post-depositional processes in the accumulation and the transformation of dark earth. Interdisciplinary research has led to the conclusion that dark earth layers result from diverse activities including domestic, craft, funerary and agricultural occupations, which have been disturbed by weathering processes, leading to strata homogenization. More generally, dark earth deposits are evidence of continuity in urban occupation from Late Antiquity to the early Middle Ages, suggesting new models of the urban landscape.

15Laure Fontana
Les relations homme-animal dans les sociétés de chasseurs-collecteurs. Les enjeux d’une recherche intégrée en archéozoologie. Human-animal relationships in hunter-gatherer societies: Issues in an integrated approach to zooarchaeological research
The author develops a global and integrated approach to the study of the exploitation of animal resources in Palaeolithic hunter-gatherer societies. First, she defines what she considers as an anthropological issue for zooarchaeological studies. She argues for the necessity of studying all faunal remains —including dietary wastes and osseous artefacts— in an integrated way. Examples from the study of Gravettian and Magdalenian settlements illustrate this type of cross-questioning and the results that can be obtained. Second, she shows how the animal-resource economy that may be reconstructed by such an integrated approach can be related to the exploitation of mineral resources in a given region —aiming at grasping the whole economic system, including the organisation and mobility patterns of human groups— through the example of French Massif Central Magdalenian societies.

16Henri-Paul Francfort
La position épistémologique de l’archéologie. The epistemological position of archaeology
From a theoretical point of view it is schematically argued that archaeology is an authentic scientific discipline, because it is founded upon genuine scientific reasoning, not because it uses natural sciences. Specifically, it switches from external observations and analyses of material objects to the interpretations of human cultural questions, for which the referential is necessarily found within social and human sciences. Then the question of the “two cultures” (i.e. “scientific” vs. “humanistic”) is presented, stating that there is one, and only one, approach that could be called scientific, whatever the academic department. The question of “nature vs culture” then arises, and it is argued that general “naturalization” is relevant only if rigorous procedures are used, and that consequently the loose or metaphorical uses of naturalist and/or evolutionary “models” are not the way to make archaeology more scientific; in fact they lead archaeology to fallacies. Then the problem of relativism is presented as a debate going on between realists and idealists, concluding that a sort of pragmatism with critical realism could be a way forward. Six possible directions for the near future are suggested, aiming at reinforcing archaeology: naturalization; mathematisation and modelisation of complexity; culturalisation and cognition; investigations via analogy; building theories on various levels; and reflections on the place of archaeology in society. In conclusion the question is raised of the necessity of building a general “evolutionary-historical” theory of living organisms and societies from the origin to present and from the elementary to the largest and most complex. In an appendix, four major quotations are presented, unanimously stating the unity of the discipline and its links with History, from the origins to present time.

17Timothy A. Kohler
Une troisième voie pour l’archéologie: une modélisation multi-agents dans le Sud-Ouest des États-Unis. A third way of doing archaeology: Agent-based modeling and the US Southwest
Explaining site locations and sizes are examples of the many tasks that require a dynamic approach to the archaeological record —one that takes into account shifting resource distributions, human impact on the landscape, and the locations of other competing and cooperating groups. I discuss how the Village Ecodynamics Project, a group of researchers from several disciplines, is approaching these problems in portions of the US Southwest occupied by Pueblo farming groups between A.D. 600 and 1500. Agent-based models operating on semi-realistic landscapes allow us to estimate where households should be located, and in what numbers, if they were following the rules that we set forth in computer code.
We have been studying the responses of virtual households to rules specifying that they locate themselves so as to approximately optimize their access to potential maize production opportunities, hunting opportunities for deer, hare, and rabbit, water, and wood for fuel. We can then compare the simulated locations with those known from the archaeological record, and this comparison in turn helps us to decode the processes that prehistoric households were in fact using to form the settlement patterns that we see in the record.
So far we have applied these models to estimate carrying capacities and helping us to determine when, and to what extent, the real households were optimizing their locations, in addition to other uses which space precludes discussing here. Although we have, to date, been most interested in studying questions of habitat use, we are now beginning to apply these tools to studying social evolutionary processes. I argue that these approaches are different enough from either an archaeology that begins from data, or one that is primarily theoretical, that we ought to think of them as constituting a third approach to the study of prehistory.

18Philippe Lanos et Philippe Dufresne
Modélisation statistique bayésienne des ldonnées chronologiques. Chronological data analysis by Bayesian statistical modeling.
The increase in the chronological data provided by dating laboratories as well as by excavations and artefact analysis over the last few decades makes it important that they be treated in an efficient and reproducible manner, in order to built the most reliable chronologies possible. The aim is to fix events on the calendric time scale and to estimate the span of the phenomena studied, taking into account all the uncertainties. Since the 1990s, new software has made new tools for chronological analysis available to the archaeological community. These tools are based on Bayesian statistical modeling which makes it possible to formalize chronological reasoning in archaeology. We can now explore the probability space of chronological scenarios deduced from the complex relationships among the chronological data from archaeological sites. We detail the Bayesian paradigm, applying it to the calendric calibration of measurements obtained by dating laboratories (14C, TL/OSL ages, archaeomagnetic measurements, etc.). Then we present the chronological models implemented in software such as BCal or OxCal (calibration, combination, phase, sequence), and the new models or tools implemented in the software RenDateModel, including “fact” or “event” modeling, outlier treatment, and predictive distribution of phases. An application to the chronology of the “Morbihan” Neolithic (Brittany, France), is presented, which demonstrates the potential of the Bayesian approach.

19Bastien Lefebvre, Xavier Rodier, Laure Saligny
La modélisation de l’information spatio-temporelle. Modeling spatio-temporal information.
The historical sciences are inseparable from time; in archaeology, this notion is illustrated by a number of routines such as drawing up relative chronologies at the scale of the excavation, establishing dating varying in granularity according to the methods used, and the diachronic study of places and areas. The multiple temporalities at work can be distinguished more or less clearly, between the heterogeneous and incomplete time of the sources used, and the more continuous time of the historical view, fluctuating between short and long time spans.
As archaeologists, our aim is to study the processes whereby spatio-temporal historical phenomena are transformed, by observing the heritage, inertia, trajectories and dynamics involved in how space is shaped over long time spans. Our proposed method of modelling spatio-temporal information, which has been applied to urban archaeology for several years, is the outcome of the collaborative work.
From the very beginning of urban archaeology in the 1960s, the observation of changes in historical topography has been based on the characterization of the objects making up the urban landscape within an
espace support (support space), taking a resolutely functional approach to the town. This comparative model was based on methods of archaeological classification and the culture of relational data bases. With the introduction of geographic information systems in our disciplines in the 1990s and 2000s, and the appropriation by archaeologists of certain geographical concepts, the spatial properties of historical objects were incorporated into research through a focus on the archaeological analysis of the processes involved in the formation of towns. However, in these spatio-temporal approaches, time remains subject to space, because it is usually considered as a simple attribute of topographical objects. New approaches should enable time and space to be analyzed together. What is involved here is the reappropriation of time by archaeologists/historians in the analysis of spatial dynamics.
To study the fabric of the town over the
longue durée (large time spans), the historical object (OH – objet historique) is the analytical unit of former urbanized space allowing available information to be described in its entirety; it could be a church, a cemetery, a house, a market, etc. Each historical object is defined as a single, distinct unit through its different properties: functional (social use, interpretation), spatial (location, surface area and morphology) and temporal (dating and chronology). The historical objects are then broken down into these three fundamental dimensions: social interpretation into functional features (EF – entité fonctionnelle) with the help of a suitable thesaurus; location and surface area into spatial features (ES – entités spatiales); and dating or duration into time features (ET – entités temporelles). Far from separating and analyzing functions, space and time separately, this modelling system allows an in-depth analysis that reveals spatial dynamics and patterns of change.
Our analyses and interpretations are the outcome of applying this system of modeling archaeological information at three distinct levels of analysis —the excavation site, the district and the town (Tours). We emphasize the different categories of information obtained from this model, while highlighting the specificity of the sources used and the biases that they introduce into the analysis. We will also show the heuristic value of the procedure in the archaeological reasoning processes. Above all, this multi-scale approach will enable us to highlight the complementarity of these approaches that is required for an in-depth understanding of the complexity of archaeological phenomena.

20Michel Magny
Paléoclimats et sociétés: du local au global, du passé au futur. Paleoclimates and societies: from local to global, from past to future
On the basis of data collected in west-central Europe for the Neolithic and Bronze age periods, the present paper addresses key issues for a better understanding of interactions between climate and societies. It also suggests how the study of the past may help to place the current climate warming in a long-term Holocene perspective.

21Laure Nuninger et al.
Peuplement et territoire dans la longue durée: retour sur 25 ans d’expérience. Settlement and territory in the long term: reflections on 25 years of research
Like geographers, who focus on factors of attraction to understand where humans settled and how settlements are spread over space, archaeologists aim to characterize the various types of settlements and settlement patterns to reconstruct settlement choices made by past communities. This long-standing project is carried out by a team using a quantitative and spatial approach.

22Laurent Olivier
Temps des vestiges et mémoire du passé: traces, empreintes, palimpsestes. Time and memory: traces, impressions, and palimpsests
Over the past decade, Walter Benjamin’s revolutionary understanding of history and art history has been acknowledged, but, curiously enough, very few comment on his work in relation to archaeology. Since it is based on the materiality of history, Benjamin’s approach to the past is fundamentally archaeological. But what deeply challenges the conventional understanding of the past —what Benjamin calls historicism —is that, being based on the material evidence of the past, the specific object of this new approach of history is not the vanished past, but the present itself. What constitutes the materiality of the present is, indeed, nothing other than the superimposition of all the duration(s) of the past which are preserved in the present, and Benjamin’s “materialistic history” is basically an “archaeology of the present”. This challenging approach to the past within the present stresses the crucial importance of the survival of the past and draws some surprising links between contemporary philosophy and history (Nietzsche, the late Heiddeger), history and art history (Walter Benjamin), art history and anthropology (Aby Warburg) that, together, are woven into this new archaeology of the present.

23Françoise Rougemont
L’économie, entre objets et textes: le cas de la Grèce mycénienne (fin du Bronze récent). Between objects and texts: the economy of Mycenaean Greece at the end of the Bronze Age
The economy of Greek Bronze Age societies is almost exclusively known through the archaeological record. Writing appears on Crete as early in the Middle Minoan II period (ca. 1800-1700 BC), with two successive scripts, Cretan hieroglyphic and Linear A, which coexist for some time; neither is deciphered. Clay tablets written in a third script called Linear B appear at Knossos ca. 1450 BC. They record purely economic matters. For ca. 250 years, until the destruction of Mycenaean palaces, the historian is thus able to use both epigraphic and archaeological data to reconstruct a picture of the palace economy. Apparent contradictions sometimes result from the comparison of both sets of data; moreover, for a number of topics, the documentation provided by these two sources do not overlap. The texts provide us with precious information about various activities which do not leave much archaeological trace. In some cases, like textile production, the archaeological record can be partially matched with information from the texts. In spite of those limits, these sources allows us to draw, through the prism of palatial economic control, a picture of economic activities and the relationships between Mycenaean palaces and the populations they were ruling.

24Agnès Rouveret
L’imaginaire entre objets et textes. Imagination between objects and texts
This talk focuses on the representation and imaginary perception of colour in the Greco-Roman world. It will be argued that from the Renaissance onwards every “discovery” of antiques is accompanied by a specific way of imagining a coloured version of ancient monuments and artefacts. Examples include ancient masterpieces reconstructed by contemporary painters using Philostratus’s or Lucian’s
ecphraseis, controversy about the artistic value of the mural paintings from the Vesuvian cities, Pompeii and Herculaneum, discovered in the XVIIIth century, or discussions about the polychromatic decorations of the Greek temples in the next century. The amazing archaeological discoveries made in the past 30 years, the new highly sophisticated methods of analysis of pigments and materials and the new resources from computerized imagery radically modify our vision of this “antiquity in full colour”. If we limit our examples to ancient painting, the famous pictures are still missing but the recent discoveries have demonstrated that the painters from the second half of the IVth century B.C. could use numerous and varied techniques to introduce colour and complex movement of figures in space. These technical innovations are based on a keen observation of the subjective perception of colors and geometrical volumes. Some very significant echoes of these experiments can be found in some of Plato’s and Aristotle’s treatises.
In the same historical context, a literature specializing in art criticism developed in the first decades of the III
rd century B.C. The recent discovery of a papyrus containing 112 epigrams attributed to Posidippus of Pella provides further evidence for the definition of some major critical concepts elaborated for visual arts in the Aristotelian tradition. It can be argued that among the main criteria applied to the classification of great painters and sculptors were the use of colour and the capacity of building images in interplay with an ideal viewer. The psychological disposition which allows this communication is called phantasia (imagination).
The purpose of this talk is to analyze some of the cognitive issues in the realization and perception of ancient artefacts through a cross-examination of texts and archaeological evidence.

25Valentine Roux
Pour une étude des habiletés techniques selon une approche interdisciplinaire. Towards a study of technique using an interdisciplinary approach
Characterizing motor and cognitive skills involved in technical tasks is necessary to approach big questions such as the study of technical inventions. Such a characterization requires close collaboration with cognitive sciences. An example is given from a field experiment conducted with a multidisciplinary team for analyzing the skills involved in stone knapping. It is shown that the ensuing scientific solidity of the results builds a foundation for tackling major topics such as stone knapping as a uniquely hominin feature, the behavioural mechanisms underlying technical change, and the evolutionary trajectories of techniques. In conclusion, a recommendation is made to conduct more interdisciplinary research with the cognitive sciences.

26Boris Valentin et François Bon
De la complexité des sociétés paléolithiques. On the complexity of Paleolithic societies
A profound revision of the frameworks through which we attempt to understand the evolution of human societies is necessarily based on long-term research conducted by Paleolithic archaeologists. These studies, along with those carried out by other anthropologists, now, more than ever, challenge the simplistic notion of a historic progression from simplicity to complexity, and this for only a few societies. To circumvent this non-operative notion of social simplicity, we draw upon the more subtle distinctions proposed by Bruno Latour and Shirley Strum between unstable complex societies, constructed through recurring individual negotiations, and complicated societies that fabricate the means necessary for a durable regulation of relationships between individuals. In light of this contrast, we then discuss the social significance of the transformations that occurred at different momentums between 80,000 and 20,000 years ago, with the development of what is commonly referred to as “behavioral modernity”. It is clear that in the late Paleolithic significant thresholds were attained in the representation of social relations, which were perhaps based on increased differentiation between individuals, even though clear social inequalities cannot be detected. These representations can be observed in both the techniques employed and in the symbols conveyed by art and personal ornaments, often at a very broad geographic scale and thus indicating powerful social networks. Without denying the role of environmental and demographic factors, we conclude that part of this new social dynamic seems to have been liberated from their influence.

27Stéphane Verger
L’archéologique actuelle: entre émerveillement et découragement. Current archaeology: between wonder and despair
Current archaeology provides several contradictory feelings: marvel at the virtually limitless possibilities offered by ever-finer scientific procedures providing access to information that until recently existed only within an archaeological utopia; but also suffocation by the exponential growth of documentation and powerlessness in the face of the destruction of various kinds which we have now ways to quantify, including the massive and irreparable damages generated by trafficking in antiquities, practiced on an industrial scale.
These sentiments apply to all kinds of archaeology, whether scheduled, preventative, practiced by academics, by professionals or by amateurs. All these forms of archeology contribute in unexpected ways to scientific innovation. Even if there are grounds for consensus, new developments in archeology are difficult to understand for the general public, which maintains a confused image of the discipline as caught between the myths of the nineteenth century and utopias of the third millennium.

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