The Azilian is a name given by archaeologists to an industry of the Epipaleolithic in northern Spain and southern France.

It probably dates to the period of the Allerød Oscillation around 10,000 years ago (10,000 BC uncalibrated) and followed the Magdalenian culture. Archaeologists think the Azilian represents the tail end of the Magdalenian as the warming climate brought about changes in human behaviour in the area. The effects of melting ice sheets would have diminished the food supply and probably impoverished the previously well-fed Magdalenian manufacturers. As a result, Azilian tools and art were cruder and less expansive than their Ice Age predecessors - or simply different.

Diagnostic artefacts from the culture include Azilian points (microliths with rounded retouched backs), crude flat bone harpoons and pebbles with abstract decoration. The latter were first found in the River Arise at the type-site for the culture, Mas d'Azil in the French Pyrenees [] . 145 are known from the Swiss site of Birsmatten-Eremitage. Compared with the late Magdelanian, the number of microliths increases.

The Azilian co-existed with similar early Mesolithic European cultures such as the Tjongerian of Northern and the Swiderian of North-Eastern Europe, the Sauveterrian and, its successor, the Tardenoisian in parts of France, Belgium and Switzerland, the Maglemosian in Denmark and Eastern Britain.

In its late phase, it experienced strong influences from neighbouring Tardenoisian, reflected in the presence of many geometrical microliths persisted until the arrival of the Neolithic [A. Moure, "El origen del hombre, 1999. ISBN 84-7679-127-5] [F. Jordá Cerdá et al, "Historia de España 1: Prehistoria", 1989. ISBN 84-249-1015-X] [X. Peñalver, "Euskal Herria en la Prehistoria", 1996. ISBN 84-89077-5-4] , that in some western areas was only adopted very late, almost in the Chalcolithic era.

In Southern Iberia

A culture very similar to Azilian spread as well into Mediterranean Spain and southern Portugal. As it lacks of bone industry, it's named distinctively as "Iberian microlaminar microlithism". It was replaced by the so-called "geometrical microlithism", related to Tardenoisian culture.


ee also

*Franco-Cantabrian region
*Neolithic Europe
*Synoptic table of the principal old world prehistoric cultures
*Prehistoric France
*Prehistoric Iberia

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  • Azilian — [ə zil′yən] adj. [after Mas d Azil, cavern in the French Pyrenees, where traces were found] denoting or of a stage of Mesolithic culture following the Magdalenian and characterized by painted stone pebbles and by harpoon heads made from antlers …   English World dictionary

  • Azilian — /euh zeel yeuhn, ee euhn, euh zil /, adj. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of an early Mesolithic culture of southern France and northern Spain. [1895 1900; named after Mas d Azil, village in Ariège, S France, near where remains of the… …   Universalium

  • Azilian — [ə zɪlɪən] adjective Archaeology relating to or denoting an early Mesolithic culture in Europe, succeeding the Magdalenian and dated to about 11,500–9,500 years ago. Origin C19: named after Mas d Azil in the French Pyrenees, where objects from… …   English new terms dictionary

  • azilian — azil·ian …   English syllables

  • Azilian — /əˈzɪliən/ (say uh zileeuhn) noun the Palaeolithic culture of south western France and north eastern Spain; about 9500 to 9200 years ago …   Australian-English dictionary

  • azilian — n. & adj. Geol. n. the transitional period between the palaeolithic and neolithic ages in Europe. adj. of or relating to this period. Etymology: Mas d Azil in the French Pyrenees, where remains of it were found …   Useful english dictionary

  • Azilian industry — ▪ stone tool culture       tool tradition of Late Paleolithic and Early Mesolithic Europe, especially in France and Spain. The Azilian industry was preceded by the richer and more complex Magdalenian industry and was more or less contemporary… …   Universalium

  • Азильская культура — (Azilian)Azilian, культура раннего мезолита в Европе, назв. получила от пещеры Мас д Азиль во Французских Пиренеях, следует за мадленской культурой и соответствует 10–8 му тыс. до н.э. Характеризуется плоскими гарпунами, галькой с… …   Страны мира. Словарь

  • Азильская культура —     (Azilian), эпипалеолитическая или мезолитическая культура Северной Испании и Юго Западной Франции, корни которой, по видимому, уходят в поздний мадлен этой области. Хронологически она совпадает с позднегляциальным периодом и может быть… …   Археологический словарь

  • Prehistoric Iberia — The Prehistory of the Iberian peninsula begins with the arrival of the first hominins c.900,000 Before Present (BP) and ends with the Punic Wars, when the territory enters the domains of written history. In this long period, some of its most… …   Wikipedia

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