Antlers, Bone Pins and Flint Blades: The Mesolithic Cemeteries of Teviec and Hoedic, Brittany

By Schulting, Rick J. | Antiquity, June 1996 | Go to article overview

Antlers, Bone Pins and Flint Blades: The Mesolithic Cemeteries of Teviec and Hoedic, Brittany


Schulting, Rick J., Antiquity


Introduction

The shell middens Teviec and Hoedic are located on what are now small islands in the Bay of Quiberon in Brittany, off the Atlantic coast of northwest France. An abundant microlithic industry and a single radiocarbon estimate places them in the late Mesolithic. The sites are best known for their evidence of elaborate burial practices, with stone and red-deer antler structures, evidence for ceremonial burning and feasting, and abundant and varied grave goods. Together they constitute some two-thirds of known French Mesolithic burials. Teviec and Hoedic are critical to our understanding of the late Mesolithic and the transition to the Neolithic. The sites are part of the phenomenon of increasing 'complexity' in the late Mesolithic of northwest Europe; they also fill a geographical gap between the cemeteries of south-central Portugal and those of southern Scandinavia.

While the importance of Teviec and Hoedic has long been recognized, there has been little further analysis since their discovery and excavation in the earlier part of this century (Taborin 1974 is a notable exception). Yet opinions about the sites are frequently presented, especially in publications dealing with the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition and the origins of the megalithic tombs of Brittany in particular and of western Europe in general (e.g. Bender 1985; 1986; Boujot & Cassen 1993; Chapman 1981; Clark & Neeley 1987; Hibbs 1983; Mohen 1990; Newell 1984; Newell & Constandse-Westermann 1988; Patton 1993; Renfrew 1976; Sherratt 1990; Thomas & Tilley 1993). The intent of this paper is to present a more thorough analysis of mortuary variability at Teviec and Hoedic, examining the differences between them, as well as the similarities.

Site context

Teviec and Hoedic were excavated by M. Pequart and S.-J. Pequart in the late 1920s and early 1930s. It is due to the high quality of their excavation reports, excellent for the time, that the present re-analysis is possible. Nevertheless, some of the statements and identifications contained in the reports should be viewed with caution.

Teviec and Hoedic are roughly contemporaneous, based on similarities in tool typology and burial practices (Pequart et al. 1937; Pequart & Pequart 1954; Rozoy 1978). A single radiocarbon determination on charcoal from a hearth in the lower part of the midden at Hoedic provides an estimate of 6575+350 b.p. (Gif-227) (Delibrias et al. 1966; Patton (1993: 39) calibrates the date to 5500-5110 BC). The burials themselves remain undated. The large standard error of this date limits its usefulness; at two standard deviations it overlaps dates for Breton early Neolithic passage-graves and long mounds at c. 5700 b.p. No stratigraphic breaks were noted within the Mesolithic levels at either site, and the materials recovered were described as homogeneous throughout the 0.5 to 1.0 m of deposits. Neolithic deposits were encountered at Hoedic, but the 0.3 to 0.5 m of Mesolithic deposits were apparently entirely sealed by a layer of sterile gravel (Pequart & Pequart 1954: 10-12).

Unfortunately, the rise in sea-levels from Atlantic times means that the sites must be looked at in isolation (cf. Hibbs 1983: 274); the now-submerged coastal plain on which they were high points was undoubtedly the focus of Mesolithic settlement in the area. Additional Mesolithic sites in Brittany include both shell-midden sites (Beg-er-Vil, Point St-Gildas, Anse du Sud, La Torche) and many more non-shell-midden sites (e.g. Kerhillio, Kerjouanno, Malvant, Porz Carn, La Girardiere, Ty Lann, Ty Nancien) (Rozoy 1978: 818-20). With a 10-m drop in sea level (c. 6000 b.p.) (Ters 1973, cited in Rozoy 1978: 784; Admiralty Chart 2353, Presqu'Ile de Quiberon to Croisic 1995), Teviec becomes attached to the mainland via the Quiberon peninsula, while Hoedic joins with the island of Houat as well as a number of smaller islets [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 1 OMITTED]. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Antlers, Bone Pins and Flint Blades: The Mesolithic Cemeteries of Teviec and Hoedic, Brittany
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.