The Mesolithic site of Beg-er-vil, was discovered by G. Bernier in 1970 at the southern tip of the Quiberon peninsula. The site is located on the top of a cliff, about 3 m above the highest tides. It was surveyed in 1985 and excavated in 1987-1988 by O. Kayser on a total surface of 23 m². Because of being endangered by marine erosion and anthropogenic factors, the excavation of this important site of the Mesolithic period in western France started again in 2012.

The thick archaeological level dated to the end of the 7th millennium BC has delivered a large quantity of remains (mammals’ bones, crabs, fish, sea urchins, sea birds, marine shells, flints, pebble and bone tools, antler, shell ornaments, ...) in exceptional stratigraphic conditions and with many archaeological structures (fireplaces, pits).  The Mesolithic level of shells dump is 0.50 to 0.60 m is thick and lies on the rock and on a Pleistocene beach. It is topped by a sand dune layer. The discovered structures include a layer of burned stones 0.05 to 0.15 m thick, fireboxes built with the arrangement of big stones, and pits dug at the expense of the clay level below the pile of shells. Deep of approximately 10 cm they are filled with shells, some of them with burned stones as well.

The accurate excavation of the shells dump layer is followed by a systematic sieving with water and the sorting of the dried remains in a temporary laboratory which was set up in the site.

All this data allow researchers to recreate the way of life of the late maritime hunter-gatherers from the French Atlantic façade; from the diet they followed to the characteristics of their habitat.



Beg-er-vil location at Quiberon peninsula 



Beg-er-vil stratigraphy. Pleistocene beach, shells dump and sand dune. 


 Shells dump layer detail



Layer of burned stones found under the Shells dump.