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The neolithic occupations of Demouville ‘ZAC du Clos Neuf’ (Calvados) and the early stages of agricultural colonisation in Normandy


In complement to the discovery of a Bronze Age necropolis, the preventive excavations at Démouville « ZAC du Clos Neuf » (Calvados) unearthed Neolithic features, probably storage structures. The analysis of the archaeological material defined two main phases of occupation, the first dating to the Early Neolithic, the second to the Middle Neolithic.The Early Neolithic pottery is not abundant, but links the earlier features to a small group of sites in Normandy that are dated to the final phase of the « Rubané Récent du Bassin Parisien ». Contemporary to the site at Colombelles, Démouville forms a sound chronological basis for this early phase and highlights the presence of the non rubanée Limbourg pottery in the Rubané context of Normandy. The discovery of two hematite blocks and a sandstone pick also confirms the early presence of this pigment in the exchange networks of the Rubané pioneers and constitutes proof for the emergence of mineral extraction activity in the area.The Démouville site also includes a group of at least six pits dating to the Middle Neolithic, of a recurrent type in the « Plaine of Caen » area and were probably used for transforming and storing crops.The abundant botanical macroremains (for both occupation phases) are a reference point. For the Early Neolithic, the site adopts the usual Rubané land use practices, but differs (as at Colombelles), by the abundance of barley, which is only observed in the Rubané contexts east of the Rhine valley. The cultivation of naked wheat feeds the debate on the possible introduction of this cereal from the Mediterranean regions and on early long-distance exchanges with the « Cardial » area.For the Middle Neolithic, the preponderance of naked barley, and more generally of naked cereals, is consistent with observations about the North half France contexts.

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