Trou du Renard and the Belgian Aurignacian

Rob Dinnis, Damien Flas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


A wealth of cave sites makes southern Belgium the most important area for understanding the north-western European Early Upper Palaeolithic. However, despite their abundance, the interpretation of many assemblages remains problematic. Here we present a new study of lithic material from layer B of Trou du Renard (Furfooz, Namur Province) and consider its place in the Belgian Aurignacian. The assemblage is typical of Late Aurignacian assemblages found across western Europe, underscoring the contrast between the Aurignacian and the periods that pre- and post-date it, when we instead see profound differences between north and south. The assemblage is apparently unmixed, distinguishing Trou du Renard from other key Belgian Aurignacian cave sites. A large proportion of the site's lithic assemblage documents the production of small bladelets from carinated/busqué burin cores, suggesting that Trou du Renard served as a short-term hunting camp. Radiocarbon dating cannot pinpoint the assemblage's age, though here it is argued to be c. 32-33,000 bp (c. 36-37,000 cal bp) on the basis of its similarity to the well-dated Aurignacian assemblage from Maisières Canal (Atelier de Taille de la Berge Nord-Est area). For the same reason a third assemblage - Trou Walou layer CI-1 - is also argued to be contemporaneous. Trou du Renard, Maisières Canal and Trou Walou may represent three points in the same Late Aurignacian landscape. Differences between their lithic assemblages can be explained by the acquisition and transport of flint, and by a desire to produce small bladelets of highly standardised form irrespective of the size and shape of available blanks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalProceedings of the Prehistoric Society
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • Aurignacian
  • bladelet production
  • Early Upper Palaeolithic
  • lithic technology
  • north-west Europe


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