Lithic Research Roundtable


Lithic Research Roundtable 2014

5. december 2014.
Institute of Archaeology, Eötvös Loránd University of Sciences
Múzeum krt. 4., Budapest, Hungary | Book of abstracts


09:50–10:00
Opening speech, Prof. László Borhy academic, head of institute


10:00–10:25
New archaeometric investigations of Hungarian polished lithic tools made from „greenstone”

György Szakmány, Zsolt Bendő, Bálint Péterdi, Zsolt Kasztovszky, Katalin T. Bíró


Polished lithic tools made from green or greenish raw materials are an important part of prehistoric (neolithic and chalcolithic) finds. There are a number of raw materials with this color: jade, eclogit, nephrite, serpentinite, green shale, contact metabasit, and other greenish metabasits (primarly amphibolite) and hornfels (limnic-silicite sarusirt). These are metamorphic, usually fine grained or extremely fine grained, dense, massive rocks, suitable for polishing. Their decorative variants could have symbolic value – mostly these types of tools occur without damages in the collections. Concerning their raw material sources it can be said that these stones are examples of long-distance import.

The ordinary destructive methods are allowed to apply only to broken or damaged pieces, so the non-destructive analytical methods have utmost importance for investigating the sound tools. Among these methods, the SEM surface analysis has a paramount role in the characterization and classification of the different greenstone tools.

We investigate „greenstone” tools residing in museum collections. In our lecture we present a survey of different „greenstone” tool types, then we summarize our new results. Our research is undertaken in the frames of the OTKA K 100385 grant and the Jade-2 program.


10:25–10:50
Quartz and quartzite tools from the Cserhát mountains

Attila Péntek


The presentation briefly outlines the petrographic characteristics of quartz and quartzite in an attempt to clarify their nomenclature. Quartz and quartzite are barely present in the Hungarian archaeological lithic collections, because these raw materials are neglected in the research. We emphasize the importance these materials, as a huge amount of lithic material made from quartz and quartzite are known after extensive surveys of the Cserhát mountains. Tha majority of these artefacts are worked in a vauge manner, because the unfavorable petrographic characteristisc of quartz and quartzite.


10:50–11:15
Correlation of hammer weight and blade thickness in the Upper Palaeolithic lithic technology

György Lengyel


Upper Palaeolithic blade dimensions most often are under 10 centimeters. These blades are usually thin, their metric characteristics cause a sophisticated form. In the case of blades longer than 10 centimeters not only the length but all the other dimensions are increased. The big blades often have a greater thickness. Throughout the Upper Palaeolithic in Eastern-Central-Europe, only one archaeological culture produced long and at the same time, thin blades, the late Gravettian. During experimental tests we applied different methods to increase blade length and keep the thickness small simultaneously. Our experiment found correlation between hammer weight and blade thickness.


11:35–12:00
Thougths about the connection between cultural tradition and raw material use with an example of knapped lithics from the Karancsság

Szilágyi Kata


Karancsság-Alsó-rétek Middle and Late Neolithic site was excavated by Gábor Bácsmegi in 2002. This is the second excavated Neolithic site in Nógrád county after Szécsény-Ültetés. The other known Neolithic sites in the county are known only after surface surveys. In his article about a his excavation at Nógrádkövesd in 1956, Pál Patay mentioned that the hills of Nógrád could be the border zone between the Central European Linear Pottery Culture and the Bükk Culture. This land of separation and rather of connection can be seen on the pottery from Szécsény, with „Western” forms and „Eastern” ornaments, noted by Szilvia Fábián.

The 642 pieces of knapped stones under study also testify this double orientation. The typological and technological characteristics of the lithics are akin to traditions of the Central European Linear Pottery Culture and Lengyel Culture. Nevertheless the majority of the used raw materials were from the East. These mixed traits represent an interesting question about the correlation of tradition and raw materiel use.


12:00–12:25
Domestic stone tools, or activity areas at the outer settlement of Polgár-Csőszhalom

Norbert Faragó


We do not have a detailed knowledge about the social life of the community that lived at Polgár-Csőszhalom in the Late Neolithic period. We do not know about the base units, the importance of descent groups, or any other factor that played a role in the integration and everyday life of this community. To address these questions we analyzed the raw material composition and spatial distribution of the knapped lithic material found at the outer settlement. The results testify a homogenous pattern, there were economic units encompassing more buildings that lived beside each other. These units were self sufficient, nevertheless, they had organic relations to each other, as they took part in the bulid-up of bigger organizational units.


12:25–12:50
Beyond sizes: leaf points of the Szeletian Culture?

Gergely Nagy


The Szeletian Culture has been characterized by its sophisticated leaf-shaped points from the time of its recognition. In the early times it was paired with the French Solutrean, only after F. Prošek’s definition became a distinct entity. From this time on, the so-called accompanying industry too got scientific attention beside the leaf points.

Nowadays there are two main interpretation of the Szeletian. In the view of Árpád Ringer, this culture evolved from the local Middle Palaeolithic Bábonyian Culture into a homogenous „early” Szeletian which has been followed by a „developed” phase. Katalin Simán considers this early and developed stages as two distinct cultural entity. In her view the characteristic leaf-shaped tools of the „developed” Szeletian are only borrowings from the „early” Szeletian culture, there are not any genetic relationship between the two. Opposed to this, Ringer’s hypothesis contains a developmental scheme inside one cultural tradition, from the Bábonyian knives into rough leaf-shaped tools then finer leaf-points.

The comprehensive morphometric analysis of these tools is not conducted until now, with the exception of Zsolt Mester’s study about the dimensions of leaf-shaped tools. Based on his data, I made a statistical analysis on the Szeletian tools, supplemented by other implements from the Szeletian of Slovakia and Moravia.

The aim of this study partly converges with Mester’s aims, on the other part, I would like to approach the one culture – more culture question from the direction of leaf-shaped tools.


14:00–14:25
Becske-Júlia-major, an open air palaeolithic site

Attila Péntek


The palaeolithic site found 2 kms North from the village Becske is one of the most Northern palaeolithic occurence in the Cserhát Mountains, next to Debercsény-Mogyorós, published earlier. Its topographic position is comparable to the other sites in the region, namely, along a blind valley, to facilitate hunting. The site possibly sits on an ancient migration route too, as the dense and heterogenous lithic collection suggests. The collection consists of side-scrapers, bifacial tools and leafpoints reminiscent of the Micoquian / Bábonyian ar/and the Szeletian, but we can find characteristic Upper Palaeolithic tools, as end-scrapers on blades and some end-scrapers on flakes.


14:25–14:50
The first in situ Old Stone Age site in the Rába Valley

Norbert Faragó, Éva Halbrucker, Attila Király, Zsolt Mester, Attila Péntek


Along with the construction of the M86 road, an intensive quarrying activity began in the Valley of the River Rába. In one of these gravel quarries János Hatos archaeological technician discovered a new prehitoric site in the August of 2014. The following salvage excavation unearthed a dense in situ lithic scatter. In our preliminary view, the age of this site is Epipalaeolithic – early Mesolithic. Thus, Páli-Dombok is the first in situ palaeolithic/epipalaeolithic site in the Rába Valley.


14:50–15:15
New Palaeolithic site at the foot of the Mátra: Gyöngyöspata-Mész-pest

Ferenc Benus


There is no abstract of this presentation.


15:35–16:00
Poszter: The site of Tata (Hungary) revisited. Morpho-functional results suggest hafting of Neandertal’s microlithic tools

Antony Borel, Marie-Hélène Moncel


There is no abstract of this presentation.


15:35–16:00
Poster: Stone artefacts from Százhalombatta-Földvár, Central Hungary

Éva Halbrucker


Since 1998, the Matrica Museum conducts archaeological excavations in the frames of the Százhalombatta Archaeological Excavation (SAX) project. The research is part of an international project which compares lifeways and society in Bronze Age Europe. The excavation takes place in a 20×20 m trench, divided to 2×2 and 1×1 units based on UTM coordinates. These divisions mark the divisions of the documentation too.

My research concerns the lithics of this site. My poster presents the lithic industry of the first five layers of the site.


15:35–16:00
Poster: Analysis of household units from chipped stone tools

Kata Szilágyi


The presentation focuses on the raw material, typology, technology and household archaeological interpretation of a chipped stone industry, from Alsónyék-Kanizsa-dűlő, a Late Neolithic Lengyel Culture settlement in Southeastern Transdanubia.

Household archaeology of settlements gains a lot of attention today, which is faciliated by modern scientific methods and large-scale preventive excavations in connection with large-scale constructions.

Technological study of chipped stone means an opportunity to reconstruct the lithic technological system of a cultural entity. The steps of knapping activity, or Chaîne Opératoire reveal the place and type of knapping inside the settlement. These clues help to localize activity areas. Coupled with similar analyses of other find types (i.e. not lithics), this method can delineate household units.

At the site examined, most of the lithics came from big clay quarrying pits. Based on the location of postholes and these pits we could sketch four separate household units for comparative study.

The raw material use and the omnipresence of every lithic types in every units suggest that knapping activity occured everywhere inside the settlement. The ratio of types was different among the household units, so the processes of knapping can be localized at a certain level inside the settlement.


16:00–16:30
Discussion, suggestions for 2015



Lithic Research Roundtable 2013

6. december 2013.
Institute of Archaeology, Eötvös Loránd University of Sciences
Múzeum krt. 4., Budapest, Hungary | Book of abstracts


09:50–10:00
Opening speech, Prof. Pál Raczky, head of institute


10:00–10:25
Mogyorósbánya, final report

Viola T. Dobosi


There is no abstract of this presentation.


10:25–10:50
Prehistoric finds at Domoszló

Zoltán Henrik Tóth


For a long time, we could speak about the man of the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic of Domoszló in general terms only. There was not any find spot in the vicinity of the village, despite that this high ground, the steep and narrow, north-south lined valleys are strategic locations for hunters. It is not by chance that the presented lithics were discovered in these settings. The sites are:

Nagyjárás. The traces of Aurignacian hunters are found at the Southern side of the Hegyes Hill, beside the ravines leading to the Tarjánka Valley. The collection has a wide spectrum of lithic raw materials and it is worth to mention a polishing stone with five grooves.

Závoza-völgy. This area stretches from the Domoszló-gate to the church hill at the Northern end of the village. The findings are metaryolite paleoliths, flakes and cores made of silicious rocks from the Mátra.

These archaeological sites link Domoszló into the Northern Hungarian paleolithic period, in some cases they are unique, and they allow us to infer migration routes and long-distance relationships of prehistoric hunter-gatherers.


10:50–11:15
New Upper Palaeolithic site at Halmajugra-Szoller-dűlő

Mónika Gutay


There is no abstract of this presentation.


11:35–12:00
Chronology of our Upper Palaeolithic sites

Sándor Béres


There is no abstract of this presentation.


12:00–12:25
Prehistoric chert quarrying at the Avas Hill, Miskolc

Árpád Ringer


There is no abstract of this presentation.


12:25–12:50
Preliminary results of polished stone tools analysis, Late Nolithic site of Alattyán-Vízköz

Katalin T. Bíró, Gyula Kerékgyártó, György Szakmány


Gyula Kerékgyártó’s filed walkings produced a huge amount of archaeolgical sites: the first palaeolithic and mesolithic findings in the Jászság region, quarrying sites and workshops in the Mátra Mountains. Alattyán-Vízköz is one of his discoveries, where an extraodrinary „greenstone” polished axe was found, among other tools. This tool is the first subject of our JADE2 project, intended to collect and publish tools made from this distinctive raw material in Hungary.

Alongside this undertaking there is an opportunity to investigate the lithic collections that contain these greenstone tools too. Alattyán-Vízköz is extraordinary in this respect; it contains 55 polished stone axes, with an approximately age of the Late Neolithic (Tiszai Culture). Their preservation is good, only 13 pieces are damaged or broken. This condition suggests that they were grave goods, which interpretation is strengthened by the fact that many undamaged small finds occured too.

Study of raw material distribution based on macroscopic observation for now, but we are planning to clarify with instrumental tests. The most charasteristic and most abundant raw material is the contact metabasite (former „green shale”), originated in the vicinity of Železný Brod, Czech Republic. A subvolcanic or lodic material is quite common too, which is called by us as metadolerite. The origin of this rock could be around Szarvaskő. The following metrials are present in different proportions: sarusirt form the Banat, basalt, basaltic andesite, „greenstone” (probably nephrite), one occurence of green shale from Felsőcsatár, one marble and a serpentinite tool.

The raw material composition of this site is typical for the Northern Hugarian Plain (Oravecz-Józsa Group VII).


14:00–14:25
Chipped stones of a household from Alsónyék

Kata Szilágyi


There is no abstract of this presentation.


14:25–14:50
Lithic production system of the Transdanubian Linearbandkeramik Culture – technological observations and a possible chane opératoire

Attila Botond Szilasi


There is no abstract of this presentation.


14:50–15:15
Archaeological aspects of Epigravettian lamelle production

György Lengyel


There is no abstract of this presentation.


15:35–16:00
Apples to pears…? Lithic assemblage from preventive excavation compared to sieved assemblage from the same stratigraphic unit. Case study

Norbert Faragó


Often mentioned topos that archaeology is one of the sciences, which examines and destroys its object of study at same time. The scientific experiment has little room in this arrangement. The controlled and documented context can be secured, but the repeatibility is a rare commodity. We had a lucky situation at the late neolithic settlement of Polgár-Csőszhalom to get this commodity. The dirt excavated from a stratigraphic unit of an object in the horizontal part of the settlement was separated for dry sieving. Given the controlled context, the repeatibility, we could alter only one variable, namely the method of recovering artefacts. We compared the findings excavated with hand tools to the sieved material. The goal of our experiment is to examine what is the impact of the two different technique on the material remains.


16:00–16:25
Typical presentation: methods of lithic analysis and their impact on the prehistory of Nubia

Attila Király


What is the impact of our presuppositions on the methods with we analize lithics? What do we intend to show, and how do we achieve that? What is the afterlife of our demonstration? Obviously, these interrelated questions aim beyond the actual tools of publication. Modes and forms of representation cling together with the scientific problems as the research begins, affect our methods, our concepts, eventually the implementation of our results.

In this review, I investigate the branching tree of lithic systematics and its implementation concerning Northeast-Africa, particularly Nubia in the early Holocene. The enquiry focuses on effects that changed the narrative about regional prehistory, on expectations we are building today in lithic storytelling.


16:25–16:50
Third type lies: statistical methods and the chipped stones of Avas-Alsószentgyörgy

Gergely Nagy


There are three kind of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. This presentation is a smaller fib, hopefully. I investigate a chipped stone assemblage from the Avas Hill, Miskolc with different statistical methods. The data comprosed of metric and technological traits, the data were taken from 500 randomly chosen pieces, one tenth of the whole assemblage. Another fib that I present only the significant results of this investigation. The small amount of typical items, the random sampling and the unsuccesful remontage prevented me from a thorough presentation. The investigated sample allows some statistical interpretation based on technological data, I present technological correlations and tendencies.


16:50–17:15
Lithic industry of the site Buják-Szente

Attila Péntek, Krisztián Zandler


There is no abstract of this presentation.


16:00–16:30
Discussion, suggestions for 2014



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