Le Rubané en Belgique : nouvelle chronologie céramique et synchronisation avec les régions voisines Article - 2021

Vincent Blouet, Dominique Bosquet, Claude Constantin, Heike Fock, Michael Ilett, Ivan Jadin, Thierry Klag, Marie-Pierre Petitdidier, Laurent Thomashausen

Vincent Blouet, Dominique Bosquet, Claude Constantin, Heike Fock, Michael Ilett, Ivan Jadin, Thierry Klag, Marie-Pierre Petitdidier, Laurent Thomashausen, « Le Rubané en Belgique : nouvelle chronologie céramique et synchronisation avec les régions voisines  », Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française, 2021, pp. 277-322. ISSN 0249-7638


This article presents a new relative chronology for the Linearbandkeramik (LBK) of the Meuse basin. Divided into six main phases, the sequence is based on analysis of decorated ceramics from sixteen sites in Belgium and two sites in Holland. Eleven of the Belgian sites are located in Hesbaye, the province with the densest LBK set- tlement. The other five sites form an outlying group in Hainaut, a little over 100 km to the west. The two Dutch sites are located in southern Limburg, about 50 km north-east of Hesbaye. Fine-ware ceramics were coded for rim, main and intermediate decoration motifs, employing a classification system previously developed in work on the LBK in Lorraine, with particular attention paid to the various techniques used for impressed decoration. The new Meuse basin sequence was established using 165 assemblages containing at least eight decoration motifs, representing a total of 5 101 coded motifs. In a majority of cases, these assemblages were formed by grouping ceramics from lateral pits of houses. Correspondence analysis and hierarchical clustering were used to seriate the assemblages and to define phases and sub-phases. By comparing quantitative trends in decoration motifs, the new Meuse chronology can be synchronized with the Lang- weiler (Aldenhoven plateau), Lorraine and Seine basin LBK sequences, not only enabling a finer characterization of each regional style but also enhancing the view of interactions between the different groups in the study zone. During the early LBK, the period that sees the first settlements in Hesbaye and north Lorraine, the Flomborn style pre- vails throughout the Rhine basin. When this cultural entity breaks down, decoration evolves in each region in a different manner. In the middle LBK, the Langweiler area, Dutch Limburg and Belgium form a coherent complex, termed the Rhine-Meuse style, characterized by bands delimited by incised lines and filled with rows of point impressions, which is the majority decoration. In the Moselle basin, as in southern Hessia, the Main style prevails, predominately with bands filled with transverse, crossed or longitudinal incised lines, while in the Seine basin the Champagne region is closely linked in stylistic terms to southern Alsace. The late LBK sees further regional differences, notably with the appearance of the Leihgestern style on the upper course of the Lahn, in central Hessia, and the emergence of the Cologne style in the lower Rhine. The Belgian LBK remains relatively unaffected by these processes and maintains its originality by developing the excessively broad curvilinear motifs, composed of bands filled with incised lines or with multiple-tooth (three or more teeth) comb impressions. These motifs characterize the Omalian style. In north Lorraine, the Main style remains important but the region is now split into two, with on the right bank of the Moselle a strong presence of the Oberrhein-Pfalz style, whose epicentre lies in the Palatinate, and on the left bank a predominance of Omalian influences. These favoured stylistic relations are also reflected by the circulation of lithic raw materials : on the middle and lower course of the Moselle, most of the flint tool-kit is made from blades in Maastrichtian and Campanian flint, imported from the Meuse basin as semi-finished products. In return, one finds in Hainaut, on the site of Blicquy “Petite Rosière”, Moselle-type motifs in noticeably higher numbers than attested elsewhere in Belgium. In the same period, on the upper course of the Moselle, the LBK of south Lorraine is linked to northern Alsace, while the Champagne LBK maintains its preferential relations with south- ern Alsace. Throughout the late LBK, there is only limited interaction and exchange between these two groups and the Meuse, lower Rhine and middle Moselle. In the final LBK, the situation is more difficult to assess because the documentation varies in quality from one region to another. At this time, the Langweiler area is apparently abandoned by the LBK, while the Omalian-style LBK still flourishes in Hesbaye and to a lesser extent in Hainaut. On the middle course of the Rhine, new cultural entities appear, with the emergence of the Hinkelstein group on the Neckar and in the northern Palatinate, and the development of the Plaidt style on the lower course of the Moselle, from the Rhine confluence up to Luxembourg. A particular style appears in north Lorraine, derived from the Oberrhein-Pfalz style, while in south Lorraine another original style develops, combining elements from southern and northern Alsace as well as from north Lorraine. In the Seine basin, the LBK spreads northwards and westwards out of Champagne, settling the middle and lower courses of the Aisne and Yonne. Here again, one sees the formation of an original style, characterized by T motifs and predominant use of two- or three- toothed combs, at a time when combs with four or more teeth are more frequently used on the Meuse. At this stage, there is virtually no exchange between the Meuse and the Seine, while the middle Moselle distances itself stylistically from the Omalian but still imports large numbers of blades in Campanian flint from Hesbaye. The preferential relations maintained between Belgium and north Lorraine during the LBK apparently cease in the ter- minal LBK stage. At this time, the Blicquy-Villeneuve-Saint-Germain (BVSG) culture appears in the Seine basin and in Belgium, possibly slightly earlier in Hainaut than in Hesbaye. The emergence and subsequent development of this new stylistic entity represents a significant change, because there is relatively little evidence for contacts between Belgium and the Seine basin during the previous LBK phases. In the terminal LBK, the Moselle basin finds a new supply of raw material in the Secondary and Tertiary flint of Champagne. The early BVSG site of Reims-Tinqueux shows that this “economic” exchange is also accompanied by some stylistic interaction.

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