a return to the Jura: expanding horizons

I had not expected such a quick return, but yesterday I was in the Jura mountains again. I visited the excavation of the site of Lutter/St. Joseph. It lies just across the border in France on the very northern edges of the Jura mountain range.

This summer has seen some changes for my phd project. My project will hopefully soon be accompanied by a second phd project. L. Bassin (Université de Neuchtel) will study the lithic technology of the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in northern pre-alpine central Europe. This means a slight overhaul of my project too. One of the biggest changes is that we are looking for other sites to include in our study. Lutter/St. Joseph is the most likely candidate.

Near Lutter a clift in the northernmost ridge of the Juramountains allows access into the Jura. There is barely enough space for the little stream and the narrow road. Travellers headings south pass the abri on their left and around the next bend they seen a little roadside chapel dedicated to St. Joseph hewn into the rock. The abri is rather spacious. The surface of the rockface almost looks like it was sculpted by humans. The chalc seems to break in a pattern that is similar to that left on wood when worked by a stone axe.

The abri has seen occupation during much of the Holocene (Roman, Bronze Age, various Neolithic and an Early Mesolithic occupations.) For us, however, the horizons dating to the early 6th and 7th millenium BC are most interesting. They complement the data from Arconciel/La Souche – check out the new website! – perfectly (i.e. they are slightly younger).

It was interesting to see the lithic material and the site, which has been excavated as a trainig dig for the Universität Basel and the Université de Strasbourg by R.-M. Arbogast, Chr. Jeunesse and M. Mauvilly. A good day, that I finished in true jurassic style. But watch this space. I think you will be reading more about Lutter and the Jura here in the future!

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