Several excavations in the Northern French Alps have revealed the presence of plant macro remains, in particular seeds and fruits of wild and/or cultivated plants. Archaeobotanical analyses have been conducted on remains from four Neolithic sites, these are: the rock-shelter of « la Grande Rivoire » in Sassenage, in the Vercors massif (Isère); the open-air site of « le Chenet des Pierres » in Bozel, in the Tarentaise valley (Savoie); the cave « les Balmes » in Sollières-Sardières in the Haute-Maurienne valley (Savoie); and the block-shelter ALP 1 of « l’Aulp du Seuil », in Saint-Bernard-du-Touvet in the Chartreuse massif (Isère).
The main aim of this research is to define, with new analysis and the existing data, the ways in which human communities have used plant resources (wild and/or cultivated) to support themselves. This study enables to answer questions concerning the management of plant resources in a mountain context. In this mountainous context, where habitats vary according to altitude, the importance of cereals at two sites and the possibility of their cultivation at an altitude of 1000 to 1500 m. a.s.l. was established. In addition, gathering of wild resources was practiced over a large territory covering several levels of vegetation. The analysis of botanical remains recovered from dung layers has provided indications of the way in which shepherds managed their plant resources to care for their flock, particularly with taxa such as cereals, fir, mistletoe, and yew. At last, archaeobotanical studies have contributed to the understanding of the function of these sites as well as their location in the alpine territory, the latter being dependent on the cultivation (or not) of cereals, the food supply from lowlands, and the importance of gathering.