This article aims to draw the attention of geoarchaeologists who work on the carbonate deposits (sinter) of aqueducts to the importance of the legal regulation, which framed the use of aqueducts. The approach followed is historiographic. It is based on the study of the aqueduct of Nîmes, an urban aqueduct as well as the study of the south branch of the aqueduct of Arles. This one was assigned to private use, supplying of the mills of Barbegal. The residents along the line of a public aqueduct were allowed to use the water for a fee. They had the legal obligation to maintain the conduit and its surroundings. The regulations applicable to the Barbegal aqueduct were governed by private law. The characteristics and the importance of the concretions of the Nîmes aqueduct depend as much on a natural evolution as on interventions on the canal for water intakes and for its maintenance. In the case of the Barbegal aqueduct, the observation of the concretions and their analyses show (1) that the mills did not function throughout the year, (2) that the building was originally covered only by a roof that was subsequently removed or destroyed, (3) the aqueduct served as a water reserve during its period of use.
Traces of soot reflecting past human activities are sometimes observed on the ceilings and walls of caves and rock shelters, sometimes also inside speleothems. These deposits, which result from anthropogenic fires, are proving to be a particularly suitable material for very high-resolution micro-chronological studies. Microscopic analysis of carbonate crusts from walls of various ages (Middle and Upper Palaeolithic) shows that they preserve traces of multiple occupations that can be linked to the archaeological units identified during the excavation. The generally high MNOs (Minimum Number of Occupations), which correspond to each archaeological unit, attest to the cumulative nature of the latter. Each level records a different number of occupations from one unit to another and presents particular rhythmicity. The research potential for soot deposits are diverse and suggest the possibility of studying the mobility of past human groups with previously unrivalled temporal resolution. Concerns about the concept of “archaeological floor” and “palimpsest” as applied to spatial studies in caves and under shelters/under rock is also developed.
Volume 19- 1Issue 1