“Cultural territories and circulations of ancient societies”


Louise GOMARTTrajectoires. De la sédentarisation à l’État (UMR 8215)
Ludovic MEVELArScAn : Archéologies et Sciences de l’Antiquité (UMR 7041)
Grégory PEREIRAArchAm : Archéologie des Amériques (UMR 8096)

Presentation :

This Work-Package (WP) has set out to work on ancient territories (mainly from the Upper Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Pre-Hispanic periods), focusing more on their cultural and social aspects than their specifically environmental aspects. Its priority is the societies, which it approaches primarily through a reading of the material artefacts. In so doing, it aims to develop a line of thought on the meaning that can be attributed to these spatialised indicators of territories and mobility, yielded by the archaeology of societies with no form of writing. This approach is applied to three main themes: (1) economic territories; (2) social territories; (3) cultural territories.

While some of the methods used (petrography, the establishment of reference guidelines and databases, isotopic and paleogenetic analyses, geomatics, etc.) and the types of sources analysed (stones, ceramics, ochres, hematites, lignites, shells, fauna, human remains, etc.) are common throughout, the issues addressed, the tools and the scales of analysis may vary with the periods studied and the regions explored: sharing these issues will open up paths for exploratory research.

The wide variety of approaches to mobility and the territories employed by the WP in each of its fields makes it essential to compare not only the approaches but also the criteria used, such as the spatial and chronological scales, the statistical representativeness of the data and the choice of descriptors (in particular for determining the sites’ functions).
Moreover, with regard to the geostatistical tools to be developed, the questions of visibility, optimal paths, spatial density, etc. are explored in depth in order to attempt simulations and modelling of the prehistoric territories and their changes over time.


Cultural territories, prehistory, resources, landscapes, circulations and interactions, modelling, mobilities.

Research fields:

  • Paris basin (the Aisne and Seine valleys);
  • Jura (France, Switzerland, Germany);
  • Central and Eastern Europe;
  • Balkans (Bulgaria);
  • Oceania (French Polynesia, Melanesia);
  • Andes (Peru, Bolivia, Chile);
  • Patagonia, Atacama (Chile);
  • Alaska (United States);
  • Michoacán’s high volcanic fields (Mexico);
  • Tropical lowlands of Central America (Mexico, Guatemala);
  • Caribbean arc (French overseas département).