The Epigravettian (Greek: epi "above, on top of", and Gravettian) was one of the last archaeological industries and cultures of the European Upper Paleolithic. It emerged after the Last Glacial Maximum around ~21,000 cal. BP and is considered to be a cultural derivative of the Gravettian culture. Initially named Tardigravettian (Late Gravettian) in 1964 by Georges Laplace in reference to several lithic industries, found in Italy it was later renamed in order to better emphasize its independent character.

The Epigravettian in dark magenta.
European LGM refuges, c. 20,000 BP
  Solutrean   Epigravettian
Alternative namesTardigravettian
Geographical rangeSouthern and Eastern Europe
PeriodLate Upper Paleolithic
Dates~21,000 – 10,000 cal. BP[1]
Type siteNone (because likely a continuation of the Gravettian)
Major sitesPaglicci, Arene Candide, Riparo Tagliente [de], Dolní Věstonice
Preceded byGravettian
Followed byMesolithic cultures
Defined byGeorges Laplace [fr], 1958 (broader-than-modern meaning)[2] Broglio, Laplace et al., 1963 (modern meaning, as “Tardigravettiano”)[3]

Three subphases, the Early Epigravettian (20,000 to 16,000 BP), the Evolved Epigravettian (16,000 to 14,000 BP) and the Final Epigravettian (14,000 to 8,000 BP), have been established, that were further subdivided and reclassified.[4][5][6] In this sense, the Epigravettian is simply the Gravettian after ~21,000 BP,[is this date calibrated?] when the Solutrean had replaced the Gravettian in most of France and Spain.

Several Epigravettian cultural centers have developed contemporaneously after 22,000 years BP in Europe. These range across southern, central and most of eastern Europe, including south-western France, Italy, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Ukraine and Western Russia to the banks of the Volga River.

Its lithic complex was first documented at numerous sites in Italy. Great geographical and local variability of the facies is present, however all sites are characterized by the predominance of microliths, such as backed blades, backed points, and bladelets with retouched end.[7]

The Epigravettian is the last stage of the Upper Paleolithic succeeded by Mesolithic cultures after 10,000 BP.[8]

In a genetic study published in Nature in May 2016, the remains an Epigravettian male from Ripari Villabruna in Italy were examined. He carried the paternal haplogroup R1b1 and the maternal haplogroup U5b. An Epigravettian from the Satsurblia Cave in Georgia examined in a previous study has been found to be carrying the paternal haplogroup J2 and the maternal haplogroup K3.[9]


  1. ^ Cyril Montoya. "Apport de l'analyse technique à la compréhension de l'évolution des groupes humains épigravettiens d'Italie Nord Orientale: la production lithique de l'US 15a-65 du Riparo Dalmeri" (PDF). Université de Provence. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  2. ^ G. Laplace. "Recherches sur l'origine et l'évolution des complexes leptolithiques. Le problème des Périgordiens I et II et l'hypothèse du synthétotype aurignaco-gravettien. Essai de typologie analytique". Quaternaria (in French). 4: 133–164.
  3. ^ A. Broglio; G. Laplace; F. Zorzi. "I depositi quaternari di Ponte di Veia. Le industrie". Memorie del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Verona (in Italian). 11: 325–367.
  4. ^ Margherita Mussi (11 April 2006). Earliest Italy: An Overview of the Italian Paleolithic and Mesolithic. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 238–. ISBN 978-0-306-47195-7.
  5. ^ Giulia Ricci, Margarita Vadillo Conesa, Fabio Martini (2019). "Through diachronic discontinuities and regionalization: The contribution of the analysis of the lithic industries from Grotta della Serratura (Strata 10-9) in the definition of Epigravettian in the southern Italian peninsula". Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. 24: 175–191. doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2018.11.038.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ "Epigravettian". Archaeology Wordsmith. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  7. ^ Keiko Kitagawa, Marie-Anne Julien, Oleksandra Krotova, Alexander A. Bessudnov, Mikail V. Sablin, Dmytro Kiosak, Natalia Leonova, Boris Plohenko, Marylene Patou-Mathis. "Glacial and post-glacial adaptations of hunter-gatherers: Investigating the late Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic subsistence strategies in the southern steppe of Eastern Europe" (PDF). Unite Histoire Naturelle de l’Homme Prehistorique, Sorbonne Universités. Retrieved February 5, 2019.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Zdenka Nerudova. "ON SITE SETTLEMENT ACTIVITIES: THE EXAMPLE OF THE EPIGRAVETTIAN SITE OF BRNO-ŠTÝŘICE III (CZECH REPUBLIC)" (PDF). Moravian Museum, Anthropos Institute, Brno. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  9. ^ Fu 2016.