Exhaustively excavated in twelve campaigns between 1996 and 2012, the enclosure ditch situated on a relatively low plateau by the river Serre is the only extant feature of the Michelsberg occupation. This ditch demarcates three sides of a subrectangular area of 14 hectares, and presents over a total length of 850 metres, a succession of sections of very variable length, and in general between 3 and 4 metres wide. The subsidence of the inner talus contributed to the refilling of the deepest sections; this did not happen in other sections, located on the South and West sides, which had been less deeply dug. The defensive purpose of the structure seems clear as far as the eastern part of the enclosure is concerned, but in the western part the boundary appears to be more symbolic. Several installations designed for different kinds of cooking (an oven, a bed of stones, several hearths) were identified in the ditch. At its eastern end, the ditch yielded several residual groups of artefacts attributable to the Mesolithic period (Middle and Late Tardenoisian) and to the Middle Neolithic 1 (Late Cerny and Post-Rössen). Michelsberg artefacts were noted in nearly all the sections, but were more numerous in the western part of the enclosure. Most of them consist of refuse thrown out during the period of subsidence of the talus. Several intentional deposits were located in the bottom of the ditch. The ceramic technology (tempers) shows affinities with the products of the Spiere group and of the Belgian Michelsberg, but the typology of the shapes belongs to that characteristic of the Paris basin. Several pots bear witness to a Chassean influence which corresponds to the initial stages of this culture in the North of France. The flint artefacts show the use of finished products (axes and long blades) made of Spiennes flint and Bartonian flint in particular. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the occupation of the enclosure began shortly before the end of the 5th millennium and probably lasted till the beginning of the 39th century B.C.

Traduction : Margaret & Jean-louis CADOUX