This latest volume in the series Cahiers d’archéologie jurassienne presents two mesolithic sites discovered in the Ajoie region of the Canton of Jura, Switzerland : Bure, Montbion and Porrentruy, Hôtel-Dieu. Although recovered from secondary or disturbed contexts, both assemblages were subjected to a thorough analysis, as Mesolithic sites are rare in the region. As both sites come from the same district,  the  investigation  was  able to  touch on « territorial » questions beyond the scope of a simple monograph.

The volume is divided into three parts, presenting respectively the geology, archaeology and synthesis of the sites. In the first chapter, the different aspects of the investigation are explained to the reader. Chapter 2 describes the geological and geomorphological context of the Ajoie district and contains a synthetic presentation of the local environment and climate, founded on a series of studies recently undertaken within the Canton. This allows us to better apprehend the role of the environment in the life of the Mesolithic hunters, a reflexion which continues in the following chapter 3.

This chapter looks at the regional geology in terms of lithic raw material origin. Placing flint outcrops within their geological sequence allows us to assess their accessibility and exploitation potential during the Mesolithic period. The first part of the volume closes with chapter 4, containing the results of the geological sourcing of lithic raw materials used at Montbion and Hôtel-Dieu. An exploitation territory can thus be reconstructed, but the re-use of Middle Palaeolithic artefacts and exchange with neighbouring and contemporary groups complicate this picture.

The archaeological analysis forms the second part of the volume. Chapters 5 and 6 present the artefacts from Montbion and Hôtel-Dieu respectively. In both cases a geological approach allows us to reconstruct the original situation of these colluviated assemblages. The archaeological analysis incorporates two complementary approaches : typology and technology. The general characteristics of both finished artefacts and lithic reduction sequences could thus be determined.

Recent motorway construction uncovered other, less substantive traces of Mesolithic occupations in the Ajoie region of the Canton Jura. These elements are described in chapter 7.

In the last section of the volume (chap. 8), the assemblages from Montbion and Hôtel-Dieu are contrasted with other sites found in the region or further afield. This comparative analysis touches on the three subjects of geological sourcing, typology and technology, if the available data permits. An improved technological analysis of the assemblage from Saint-Ursanne, Les Gripons (Canton of Jura) is also presented.

The two assemblages from the Ajoie region date to the Boreal period and can be assigned to the NNorthern Jura group, chronological phase Early Mesolithic II/III, with a Beuronian influence.

Translation: Robert Fellner