La Belle-Roche (Pleistocene of Belgium)

Also known as Belle Roche, Sprimont

Where: Belgium (50.5° N, 5.6° E: paleocoordinates 50.5° N, 5.5° E)

• coordinate based on nearby landmark

When: Pleistocene (2.6 - 0.0 Ma)

• "the cave appears in cross-section in the upper face of the Quarry called La Belle-Roche". Six levels identfied within the cave deposits, two of which contain faunal remains - 3 "Unsorted silty detrital complex" and 4 "Clay-calcite run-off complex". Four galleries have been found, only Gallery one lacks fauna and archaeology. Dated later than the Brunhes/Matuyama boundary (0.78Ma) and before 0.35Ma (the limit of Uranium/Thorium dating). Thought to be c.0.5Ma on faunal grounds. OIS stage 13 to (perhaps)15.

Environment/lithology: red, silty

• Karstic cave complex orientated East-West along "the stratification of carboniferous limestone beds".
• Level 3 : "silty but progressively loaded from bottom to top wuith reddish decalcification clay and limestone rock fragments". Occasional reworked concretions, probably a secondary mud flow deposits. Bones found from bottom to top, rarely in anatomical position.

•Level 4: "a complex of very thin interbedded layers of calcite, clay and clayey silt as well as a variable succession of laminar calcitic deposits and clayey run-off deposits" Lower layers contain lenses of microfauna, particularly Chiroptera. Higher levels are sterile. Laid down in a very humid period.

Size classes: macrofossils, mesofossils

Collection methods: bulk,

• By 1990 400m2 of rock excavated in salvage operations.

Primary reference: J.-M. Cordy, B. Bastin, C. Ek, R. Geeraerts, A. Ozer, Y. Quinif, J. Thorez and M. Ulrix-Closset. 1992. La Belle-Roche (Sprimont, Belgium): the oldest archaeological site in the Benelux. A Report on a field trip. FIve Million Years, the Human adventure. Edited by M. Toussaint. E.R.A.U.L., Liege. 56:287-301 [A. Behrensmeyer/H. O'Regan/H. O'Regan]more details

Purpose of describing collection: archaeological analysis

PaleoDB collection 34127: authorized by Alan Turner, entered by Hannah O'Regan on 20.08.2003

Creative Commons license: CC BY (attribution)

Taxonomic list

• Faunal remains are reported from 2 different levels, but the faunal list given here is for the site as a whole. Layer 3 is aperiod of climatic transistion, from cold and continental (glacial) in the lowest level (3a) to warming, sylvan species and large numbers of chiroptera in 3c and level 4. Pollen data also confim this.

•list includes unidentified fish and frog remains.

 Salientia -
 Ornithurae -
? Strigiformes indet. Wagler 1830 owl
 Rodentia - Muridae
Apodemus sp. Kaup 1829 Eurasian field mouse
 Rodentia - Cricetidae
Dicrostonyx sp. Gloger 1841 lemming
"Clethrionomys sp." = Myodes Pallas 1811 vole
Lemmus cf. lemmus Linnaeus 1758 Norway lemming
"Microtus gregalis" = Microtus vole
Microtus arvalis Pallas 1779 common vole
Microtus agrestis Linnaeus 1761 field vole
"Pitymys gregaloides" = Microtus vole
Cricetus sp. Leske 1779 mouse
 Rodentia - Gliridae
Eliomys sp. Wagner 1840 dormouse
Muscardinus sp. Kaup 1829 dormouse
 Lagomorpha - Leporidae
Lepus sp. Linnaeus 1758 hare
Oryctolagus cf. cuniculus Linnaeus 1758 European rabbit
 Lagomorpha - Ochotonidae
 Lipotyphla - Talpidae
Talpa sp. Linnaeus 1758 mole
 Perissodactyla - Rhinocerotidae
Stephanorhinus etruscus Falconer 1868 rhinoceros
 Perissodactyla - Equidae
 Tribosphenida - Soricidae
Sorex sp. Linnaeus 1758 long-tailed shrew
Shrew (3 species)
Crocidura sp. Wagler 1832 white-toothed shrew
 Chiroptera - Vespertilionidae
Myotis dasycneme Boie 1825 vesper bat
Myotis nattereri Kuhl 1818 vesper bat
Myotis emarginatus Geoffroy 1806 vesper bat
Myotis bechsteini Leisler 1818 vesper bat
Myotis cf. mystacinus Leisler 1819 vesper bat
Plecotus cf. auritus Linnaeus 1758 common long-eared bat
 Carnivora - Ursidae
Ursus deningeri Reichenau 1904 bear
 Carnivora - Mustelidae
cf. Lutra sp. Brisson 1762 otter
Mustela cf. praenivalis Kormos 1934 weasel
Mustela cf. putorius Linnaeus 1758 European polecat
Meles meles Linnaeus 1758 European badger
 Carnivora - Canidae
Canis mosbachensis Soergel 1925 canine
Xenocyon lycaonoides Kretzoi 1938 canine
 Carnivora - Felidae
Panthera leo Linnaeus 1758 lion
Panthera leo fossilis
 Carnivora - Hyaenidae
Pachycrocuta cf. brevirostris Gervais 1850 brown hyaena
Crocuta cf. brevirostris in paper
 Ungulata - Bovidae
 Ungulata - Cervidae
Cervus elaphus Linnaeus 1758 red deer
Cervus elephas (acoronatus?)
Rangifer tarandus Linnaeus 1758 reindeer
Capreolus capreolus Linnaeus 1758 European roe deer