The present volume, third in the series of monographs presenting the site of Delémont-En la Pran, describes the Late Bronze Age settlement.

During this period, the human impact on the local environment was already quite extensive, much of the previously dominant forest having been replaced by fields and meadows. The humid zones bordering the stream had become wet pastures used for grazing or the production of hay. Cereals are cultivated on the drier lands at some distance from the stream, in fields thus protected from flooding. Hulled varieties of wheat are the most common cultivars, particularly einkorn but also spelt (chap. 6). Emmer is relatively rare, but both millet and barley are cultivated. Only a small number of remains attest to the planting of legumes such as lentils, beans and peas.

Cattle is predominant among the identified faunal remains recovered from the settlement, followed by ovicaprids and pork in roughly equal proportions (chap. 5). Like in most contemporary settlements, horse remains are very rare. No bones of game animals were recovered.

The very extensive excavation (over 40 000 m2 were investigated) revealed several concentrations of features and finds (chap. 2). Areas marked by a strong human impact can be distinguished from others with only few traces of activity. The areas with numerous archaeological traces represent settlement zones. The pottery, clay " moon horns ", spindle whorls, quern fragments and numerous burnt stones found here are artefacts commonly associated with domestic activities (chap. 3 and 4). A considerable number of postholes and pits have been found across the site, but they did not form any coherent building plan. In several zones with high density of finds, variations in the artefact scatter (of mostly potsherds and daub fragments) however clearly revealed spatial partitioning concomitant with the presence of structures. In three areas the distribution of the finds outlines the plan of large buildings covering between 85 and 130 m2 (the ensembles d'alignements 1, 2 and 3). Other similar signs of partitioning are less complete and the structures at the origin of these discontinuous artefact scatters cannot be clearly perceived (alignements 4, 5 and 6 and ensemble 7). No postholes are associated with these buildings, whose walls, originally covered with wooden planks or with daub, must have been self-supporting. The Late Bronze Age settlement of Delémont- En la Pran consisted thus at least in part of buildings constructed without the use of pole framing ; similar observations have been made on several contemporary sites situated on dry land, an environment inherently unfavourable to the preservation of the construction timber itself.

Together with the 14C dates, the typological analysis of the pottery contained in the artefact clusters outlining these buildings or structures allows us to recognise two or possibly three successive occupation phases (chap. 3). These occupations are spatially distinct and do not overlap ; the location of the settlement shifted with time. The earliest Late Bronze Age buildings, dating to the late Ha B1 and the Ha B2 phases, were situated in the western part of the domaine A, at a short distance from the stream which coincides with domaine C. The plan of a building measuring 16 by 7m and oriented north-west/south-east appears clearly (ensemble 3). Nearby, the partial plan of a second building is outlined by scattered artefacts and by postholes (zone d'intérêt 4). During the later Ha B2 and the Ha B3 phases, new buildings were constructed some seventy meters eastwards, in the central part of domaine A. The best-preserved building plan measures 17,5 by 7,5 m (ensemble 1). The numerous daub fragments recovered around this structure were originally part of its walls and were probably burnt during a fire (chap. 4). Another building, located a short distance to the north-west, was probably contemporary (ensemble 7). Also located in domaine A, the alignement 5 consists mostly of potsherds, a part of which had been deformed by excessive heat - probably during another fire. Numerous small fragments of bronze slag mixed with charcoal and burnt clay appear to indicate a metalworking activity. The pottery is typologically similar to the other assemblages dated to the Ha B2 and B3 phases, these structures may therefore be contemporary to the ensembles 1 and 7, or might be slightly older. The finds forming the ensemble 2 consist to almost 90% of daub fragments, a composition differing from that of all the other concentrations. The small number of potsherds associated with this structure makes precise dating difficult. In general, all buildings appear to have been oriented north-west / south-east, an orientation that remained unchanged throughout the Late Bronze Age.

Two pits filled with heated stones and one pit containing charcoal and other burnt materials are located in an abandoned old stream bed (domaine B), at some distance from the settlement remains. The three pits form a line ; the walls of the first two, measuring roughly 250 by 80/100 cm, are clearly burnt and large fragments of charcoal cover the bottom. The numerous fragments of limestone overlying this lowest layer are also strongly marked by fire. Dating of these features places their use in the Ha B2 or Ha B3 phases, they could be contemporary to the buildings represented by the alignements 1 and 7 or the alignements 5 and 6.

The rather tenuous traces of a Middle Bronze Age (Bz C and Bz D) occupation discovered in the fill of two abandoned streambeds (domaines B and D) and in a small " archaic " part of domaine A have already been discussed in a previous volume of this series (CAJ 22, chap. 10). The analysis of the Late Bronze Age pottery presented in the present monograph led to the identification of another group of pottery dating to this earlier settlement, found mostly in the western part of domaine A. The oldest traces of the Late Bronze Age settlement were discovered in the same area. Middle Bronze Age finds are absent from the central part of domaine A, a zone that was apparently not occupied before the second half of the Ha B phase. It seems therefore likely that the western part of domaine A was cleared and settled first, during the Middle Bronze Age, and was perhaps still occupied at the beginning of the Late Bronze Age.

However, all of the Late Bronze Age buildings documented during the excavation are younger than the urnfield cemetery discovered in the north-eastern part of the site, which dates to the early Ha B1 phase (1050-1000 BC ; CAJ 23, in press). Although some contemporary finds were observed elsewhere, the settlement in use at this time remains undiscovered ; it must have been situated in an unexcavated portion of the site.

Translation: Robert Fellner