100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

April 11, 1982 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-04-11
Note:
This is a tabloid page

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

U er

w

U

Thib AichigcI. Datly-.$

;' Pd§8-4- VVn46 -A'i[l 002- TKii Michig-dn ID611y

r
r

Digging up
the French
un derground

A

THE BEAUTIFUL Southern French countryside conceals an archaeologist's dream. Daily Photo by JASON ADKINS
Digging up Southern France

(Continued from Page 4)
just finished two full months of work. A
few weeks later six French geologists
joined us bringing the crew back to a
comfortable size.
We lived at Sireuil, a picturesque, lit-
tle, hilltop village some three
kilometers west of Les Eyzies, which
overlooked the entire valley. The fresh
evening air of Sireuil was always filled
with the sounds of cow bells as the far-
mers lef their herds home. The com-
binations of rural sounds and beautiful
panorama created an atmosphere of
incredible tranquility. We lived in 17th
century stone houses provided by the
university. Our meals were prepared
locally, and we chatted with the
villagers as we had.our food and wine.
After a hard day at work it was a
pleasure to return to the provincial
cooking and the solitude of the peaceful
hilltop.
WE ALWAYS put in a long day at the
Vignaud site, getting up at 7:00 a.m.
When we arrived at work at 8:06 a.m. it
was very cold; things didn't warm up
much until the sun rose over the cliff
over-hang where we worker. At noon,
however, the heat was so intense that
we returned to Sireuil for a luncheon
feast. After two hours or so of
relaxation we trekked back to work and
stayed until 6:00 p.m., when we trudged,
home, exhausted and filthy, for the
day's final feast.
After dinner, though, I fought off my
exhaustion to explore nearby natural
caves, castles, and other places where I
hoped to find flint toolls on my own. It
was during these after-hours tours, and
during weekends off, that I really got to
know the area. One of the volunteers at
the dig, Francois, taught me where to
look for flint tolls in the wilds. And
amazingly enough, there were tools to
be found all over the place. I often found
tools of museum quality while strolling
through plowed fields or while wan-
dering through the woods.
Our job at Vignaud consisted on un-
covering geological layers with
thousands of years of human
history packed inside. Using tooth-
brushes, dental picks, and paint
bruishes. I received an intensive
training in the complex digging and

record keeping methods used at an ar-
chaeological expedition.
THE MOST important aspect is
proper identification of flint toolls and
bone fragments. The technique for the
removal of artifacts is a meticulous and
laborous process. Every artifact is
carefully uncovered from its geological
layer, then the place where it was found
is marked on a detailed map using
coordinates related to sea level. Each
object is then numbered according to
its geological layer and the square
meter in which it was found. After
being wrapped and stored, the artifact
is labeled with ink and sent to a lab for
further analysis. With such an accurate
recording, it is possible to reconstruct
an entire archaeological site inside a
scientist's lab.
Only a portion of the site could be ex-
cavated. using such time-consuming
methods. Fortunately, Vignaud had one
geological layer especially rich with
flint tools dating back 35,000 years.
These tools were from a neolithic, tool-
making culture which was supposed to
have developed in thearea 25,000 years
ago - some 10,000 years later than the
tools. Thus our discoveries were
See SOUTHERN, Page 18

ARCHAEOLOGISTS and interested workers

WITH THIS
COUPON

By Jason Adkins
Last year I topped off my term
abroad at the Sorbonne University of
Paris by planning an exciting summer
excursion - with a prehistoric twist.
I had heard about the well-known
prehistoric cave in southern France
called Lascaux, famous for its cave
paintings of bison, deer, and woolly
mammoths. After eight weeks of
working and studying at school, I
decided to take a break and spend some
time on an archaeological dig in the

area known as La Doredogne.
DURING EASTER holiday I set out
hitchhiking. My destination was the lit-
tle town (I had no idea just how little) of
Les Eyzies, where the finest prehistoric
-museum in the region was located. I
hoped to speak to the curator about get-
ting involved in a dig for the summer.
My journey was a picturesque one;
occasionally I would pass a castle ruin
perched atop a large cliff. This was
evidence enough that man had
inhabited the region for quite a long
time, and yet I was impatient to arrive
at Les Ayzies and to see the really an-

cient sites.
When I finally reached my
destination I was greeted by a large
sign reading, "Welcome to Les Eyzies:
the Prehistoric'Capital of the World." I
found myself in a charming little
village surrounded by large walls of
rust-colored sandstone. The cliffs
showed signs of extensive erosion and
were covered with vegetation.
AS I walked up the town's main
street, I soon saw the museum housed
in a renovated medieval castle. The
museum, like the houses and
restaurants of the village, was built into

MICHIGAN TRAILWAYS
" Deluxe Charter Transportation
" Professional Tour Service
Go
DAILY SCHEDULED SERVICE
From
U of M STUDENT UNION

the cliff wall. The cliffs provided a back
wall; sometimes garages and storage
sheds were carved directly out of the
sandstone. The town seemed like a
throwback to the Middle Ages, except
for the large statue of a Neanderthal
man which graced the museum's en-
trance.
My ,luck was such that within ten
minutes I stumbled upon a rescue
dig-or "fouille de sauvetage" - that
was being conducted on the edge of the
town by the University of Bordeaux. A
restaurant was scheduled to be built on
the site, but construction had been
halted by the French courts so the
University could remove important ar-
tifacts.
The head archaeologist, Jean-
Michael, offered me a job on the spot at
a site called' Vignaud. Since the dig
desperately needed help, the only
prerequisites for work were intense en-
thusiasm and, some knowledge of
prehistory. It sounded ideal - the pay
amounted to room and board, and they
were finding 35,000 year-old flint tools
by the hundreds. I accepted the job for
the month of June.
TO PREPARE for my trip I had writ-
ten the Ministry of Culture for per-
mission to visit the caves of Lascaux -
the most important prehistoric caves in
Europe. The caves were closed to the
general public, but I hoped to receive
permission to visit them as a building
archaeologist. The day before I
returned to Les Eyzies I received a
permit to tour Lascaux - which com-
pleted my plans for an incredible ex-
perience.I
At Les Eyzies there were only two
people at the dig - the last team had

, , ,
. .%
' r
\
., . . .

/
y^.. .

P!

Precision Photographics, inc.
830 Phoenix Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Phone (313) 971-9100

Through
April
25

* 2'/ hr. Ektachrome Slide Service
" Custom Color Prints
" Portfolio Photography " Slide Duplication

E
Fre
ab
exp
Th
we
you
wo
A
opti
the
vill
Gre
Rus
Ind
det
c
col(
FV
IN(ER
501N
New
(212
EJY
abou
Nan
Add
Tele
Scho

THE 1982
WORLD'S FAIR,
MAY-OCTOBER, 1982 KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE

TRIPS TO THE
1982 WORLD'S FAIR
Starting At $7900
Go~ifqfed

21FINE GREEK FOOD UGME COOKED ii'
21 GYROS & SHISH-KA-BOB SANDWICHES . GREEK SALADS
SMOUSAKA PASTITSIQ DOLMADES * BAKLAVA
2 eSPINACH PIE GYROS PLATE H YOGURT
COMBINATION PLATE E RICE PUDDING
OPEN MON.-SAT. 11:00 AM TIL 10:00 PM
Complete Carry-out Service SUNDAY & HOLIDAYS 12:00 AM TIL 10:00 PM
@j 226 S. Main at Liberty Ann Arbor PHONE: 994-1012

Call For Your
FREE
Vacation Catalog
(313) 687-2970

I

Go Midugan Trailwy%

_See DIGGING, Page 17

T..

Back to Top

© 2020 Regents of the University of Michigan