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Société, environnement et état sanitaire au Néolithique récent. Les groupes humains des hypogées I et II du Mont-Aimé (Val-des-Marais, Marne)

Abstract : The Neolithic period ushered in a change in the way human populations lived and subsisted, marked by a major social, economic, demographic and epidemiological transition. This essay focuses on the cultural identity and health status of human groups engaged for nearly two millennia in the process of Neolithisation in Western Europe, at a time when, among other changes, the use of collective burials was massively imposed. In France, on the eastern margin of the Parisian Basin, the group of some 150 hypogea of the Marne, to which the tombs of Mont-Aimé belong, illustrates this phenomenon perfectly. Hypogeums I and II of Mont-Aimé (Val-des-Marais, Marne) represent the oldest manifestations of this funerary genre in the Paris Basin, where collective burials experienced a considerable boom during the Late Neolithic (3500-2900 cal BC). The antiquity of the two tombs dates back to the second quarter of the 4th millennium BC, which marks the transition between the end of the Middle Neolithic and the beginning of the Late Neolithic in North Central France. The use of the tombs may have continued until the beginning of the 3rd millennium. Each hypogeum contained the remains of around 60 individuals. The recruitment of each of the tombs at Mont-Aimé, which differed in the age and sex composition of the groups buried, may have been partly (or for a time) conditioned by a system of descent that evokes a possible female/male polarity. The abundant and varied funerary furniture (ornaments, tools, arrow frames, etc.) distinguishes some of the deceased: within the same grave, some individuals were adorned and/or accompanied by quivers, while others were devoid of any individual equipment. The dead probably returned to their final burial shortly after death, following the norm adopted in the collective graves of the Late Neolithic of the Paris Basin where the practice of primary burial largely dominates, even if other treatments are marginally attested. The removal of part of the bone heads from Hypogeum II, a predominantly male grave, is perhaps part of an imaginary and identity-based relationship with the past, elevating certain deceased to the status of ancestors or other symbolic metamorphoses. Furthermore, the health status of the two groups reveals similarities, but above all more or less marked divergences. This is the case with the high frequency of traumatic sequelae in Hypogeum II, which has been linked to the exploitation of the environment's resources - the predominance of enthesopathy in the upper limb and certain locations of appendicular arthrosis point in the same direction - and, possibly, to mining activity. This disparity between the two burial groups would indicate a differentiated organisation, even a division by sex. Hypogeum I at Mont-Aimé yielded one of the oldest human specimens currently recorded of inflammatory rheumatism of the spondyloarthritis group. The emergence of this type of disease and other palaeopathological characteristics (oral health, enthesopathies, etc.) measure the distance of the Mont-Aimé individuals from the hunter-gatherer groups of the Mesolithic. They belong distinctly to a stage of the Neolithic marked by full sedentarisation and the intensification of the production economy.
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Submitted on : Thursday, March 18, 2021 - 4:25:51 PM
Last modification on : Monday, July 4, 2022 - 9:49:30 AM


  • HAL Id : tel-03173749, version 1



Richard Donat. Société, environnement et état sanitaire au Néolithique récent. Les groupes humains des hypogées I et II du Mont-Aimé (Val-des-Marais, Marne). Archéologie et Préhistoire. Université Toulouse 3 Paul Sabatier (UT3 Paul Sabatier), 2020. Français. ⟨tel-03173749⟩



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