When Henri-Martin interpreted the data from her excavations at Fontéchevade, she did not have the benefit of the huge body of research into site-formation processes and lithic and faunal taphonomy that has developed since that time. The findings of this research, as well as the methods that were developed to investigate them, were fundamental to our interpretation of the site and of material from both her excavations and ours. This chapter describes our analysis of site-formation processes at Fontéchevade and lays out the implications of this analysis for the overall understanding of the hominin occupation of the site and of the nature of the Tayacian industry.
ORIGINS OF THE SEDIMENTS, LITHICS, AND FAUNAL REMAINS
Origin of the sediments
The sediments from which the artifacts and fauna were recovered seem to come from two sources. The first was the dolomite bedrock and enclosed chert nodules, from which blocks were removed, probably by solution processes. The dolomite was subsequently largely dissolved from the sediments. The second source was the sediments that overlay the cave and that entered through various chimneys.
Several lines of evidence support this conclusion. Chapter 3 summarizes the sedimentary evidence. The silty loam and quartz cobbles, pebbles, and granules that compose the bulk of the sediment cannot have been derived from the bedrock (arguments against the quartz cobbles having served as hammerstones are presented later in this chapter), and there is no evidence of either aeolian or fluviatile deposition, apart from the karstic clays of Level 8 that predate the hominin occupation of the site.