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Fuliginochronology: a new way of studying fire events chronicles, examples of speleothem deposits as archives.
Ségolène Vandevelde  1, 2, *@  , Adelphine Bonneau  3@  , Jacques Brochier  4@  , Dominique Genty  5@  , Jean-Luc Lacour  6@  , Christophe Petit  2, 7@  , Céline Quéré  6@  , Ludovic Slimak  8@  
1 : Archéologies et Sciences de l'Antiquité  (ArScAn)  -  Website
CNRS : UMR7041
Maison René Ginouvès Boîte 3 21, allée de l'université 92023 NANTERRE CEDEX -  France
2 : Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne  (UP1)  -  Website
Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne
12 place du Panthéon - 75231 Paris Cedex 05 -  France
3 : Université Laval  (ULaval)
4 : Maison méditerranéenne des Sciences de l'Homme  (LAMPEA)
CNRS : UMR7269, Université Aix-Marseille
5 rue du Château de l'Horloge, 13094 Aix-en-Provence Cedex 2, France -  France
5 : Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de lÉnvironnement [Gif-sur-Yvette]  (LSCE)  -  Website
Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines : UMR8212, Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives : DSM/LSCE, Université Paris-Saclay, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique : UMR8212
Bât. 12,avenue de la Terrasse, F-91198 GIF-SUR-YVETTE CEDEX -  France
6 : CEA Saclay  (CEA)  -  Website
Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives
91191 Gif-sur-Yvette cedex -  France
7 : Archéologies et Sciences de l'Antiquité  (ArScAn)  -  Website
Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne, CNRS : UMR7041, Université Paris X - Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense
Maison René Ginouvès Boîte 3 21, allée de l'université 92023 NANTERRE CEDEX -  France
8 : Travaux et recherches archéologiques sur les cultures, les espaces et les sociétés  (TRACES)
Université Toulouse 2, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique : UMR5608
Maison de la Recherche, 5 allée Antonio Machado 31058 TOULOUSE Cedex 9 -  France
* : Corresponding author

The micromorphological study of fireplaces becomes more and more common, but biases exist in the recording of fire events in hearth structures. In this presentation, we will introduce another method for studying fire as an artefact: the Fuliginochronology, from Latin fuliginosus, fuligo: soot, fuliginous, and from Greek khrônologia: chronology, which consists of studying the succession of soot deposits trapped in a matrix. Here we will only develop the cases of soot trapped in carbonate deposits and more specifically in speleothems. In the particular case of an archaeological site like a rock shelter or a cave, these fuliginous calcite deposits (i.e. stalagmite, parietal crust, flowstones) are a record of past human occupations, which can be enumerated (Vandevelde et al. 2017a, b; Vandevelde et Dupuis 2017).

This pioneer method is based on high-resolution observation of soot layers trapped in calcite deposits and of the speleothems themselves, coupled with complementary analyses (characterisation: SEM, Raman, FTIR, µLIBS). It will be presented through three different temporal context: first, the method will be defined on a long archaeological sequence of Palaeolithic context at Grotte Mandrin site (middle Rhône Valley, France); then it will be validated on modern cases (Han-sur-Lesse, Belgium; Arcy-sur-Cure, France; Villars, France; Postojna, Slovenia), and finally, the use of experimental approach at Grotte Mandrin site will help us to address a number of questions about formation of fuliginous speleothems and preservation of soot through the study of present day data. This last part will also allow us to try to overcome limitations of the method in some contexts.



Vandevelde, S., Brochier, J.É., Petit, C., Slimak, L., 2017a. Establishment of occupation chronicles in Grotte Mandrin using sooted concretions: Rethinking the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition. Journal of Human Evolution 112: 70-78.

Vandevelde, S., Brochier, J.É., Desachy, B., Petit, C., Slimak, L., 2017b. Sooted concretions: A new micro-chronological tool for high temporal resolution archaeology. Quaternary International XXX: 1-16.

Vandevelde, S., Dupuis, C., 2017. Voyage au bout de la suie. Chroniques des occupations humaines à la Grotte Mandrin [Ashes to ashes, soot to soot. Human occupations chronicles at Grotte Mandrin site], in : Cleyet-Merle, J-J., Shunkov, M.V., Le troisième Homme, Préhistoire de l'Altaï [The third Man, Prehistory of the Altaï], exhibition, Musée National de Préhistoire, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, video :

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