Litikum - Journal of the Lithic Research Roundtable
The Litikum e-journal publishes scientific articles (1) from the field of lithic research of Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic in Central Europe, and (2) developing theoretical and methodological issues related to the field of lithic studies in general.
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Publisher: Litikum – a Kőkor Kerekasztal Folyóirata
Responsible publisher: György Lengyel
Editor-in-chief: Zsolt Mester
Editorial board: György Lengyel, Attila Király
Postal address: Múzeum Krt. 4/B, Budapest, 1088, Hungary
|Book review: Neanderthals at Bojnice in the Context of Central Europe
Keywords: Book review, Central Europe, Slovakia, Middle Palaeolithic, Bojnice, Mousterian, Micoquian
Book review of: Neruda, P., & Kaminská, L. (2013). Neanderthals at Bojnice in the Context of Central Europe / Neandertálci z Bojnic v kontextu střední Evropy. Anthropos – Studies in Anthropology, Palaeoethnology and Quaternary Geology, Vol. 36. Brno – Nitra: Moravské Zemské Muzeum & Archeologický Ústav SAV. 249 pages, Paperback, 265 Kč, ISBN 978-80-7028-407-0
|The knapped stone assemblage from Boldogkőváralja in the light of a new statistical evaluation
Keywords: Neolithic, Bükk culture, lithics, statistics, structured deposition
One of the most famous chipped stone assemblages, the 566 intact blades found in a large vessel at Boldogkőváralja-Tekeres-patak, dated to the Bükk culture (5200–5000 BC) has been at the forefront of the research for decades. Our intention was three-fold when we decided to reevaluate this find. First, with the publication of the conjoining workshop material, we wanted to draw more attention to the whole assemblage and not just only to the depot. Second, the deliberate selection of the artefacts found in the jar has been suggested since the 1960s, which, in our opinion, can be tested by deep statistical analysis. Third, when Vértes applied parametric and non-parametric statistical analyses on chipped stone assemblages, he ventured into a brand new branch of archaeological investigation, not just in Hungary. Unfortunately, the pioneering attempts of Vértes were not followed for many decades. Our results suggest that the intact blades of the depot differed from each other significantly by their butt preparation because the pieces with dihedral butts are significantly wider than the others. On contrary, the length and the thickness of unbroken blades are homogenous, irrespective of preparation techniques. Concerning the different butt types across the whole assemblage, blades with plain butts are the most numerous in the depot and the workshops, but other, more thorough preparation occurred at a decreased rate in the workshops. At the same time, the different preparation types are evenly distributed in the four workshops, there are no significant differences between them.
|Technological features in the late Middle Paleolithic of the Côte Chalonnaise (Burgundy, France)
Keywords: Late Middle Paleolithic, eastern France, Levallois, bifacial elements, Keilmesser
While former typological studies drew a heterogeneous image for the Middle Paleolithic record of the Côte Chalonnaise region in southern Burgundy (France), recent research, re-evaluation of old collections, and comparative analysis from several Middle Paleolithic sites in the area were able to highlight a homogeneous pattern of litho-technological features. The assemblages have been evaluated according to their general composition, the identifiable reduction concepts as well as their bifacial component. The concurrent results allow us to hypothesize a regional site cluster based on Levallois reduction and a common occurrence of Keilmesser (with tranchet blow). In chronological terms, dating attempts on stratified material from Grotte de la Verpillière I and II suggest a late Middle Paleolithic age of the sites around the end of MIS 4 or the beginning of MIS 3.
|The Use of Bone in Stone Tool Technology: Retouchers from Veternica and Vindija (Croatia)
Keywords: Bone retouchers, Bone tool technology, Middle Palaeolithic, Vindija, Veternica
Bone retouchers are tools used for the tasks of retouching lithics and are usually made from long bone shaft fragments. They are a common feature of many Middle Palaeolithic assemblages throughout Europe and the Near East but are also found during the Late Lower Palaeolithic and the Upper Palaeolithic. This study presents the results of the analysis of bone retouchers from the Middle Palaeolithic contexts of Veternica (MIS 3-5) and the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic contexts of Vindija (MIS 3), Northwestern Croatia. The study is comprised of an examination of site information, taxonomic and anatomical determination, basic taphonomic analysis, morphometric analysis and analysis of the retoucher use traces. The results reveal a fundamental difference between the two retoucher assemblages. In Veternica, the bone retouchers are an important part of stone tool technology, represented by the number of retouchers, preferential selection of faunal species, preparatory scraping, evidence of curation, the sometimes heavy intensity of use and shaping of the morphology through flaking. In Vindija, retouchers represent a more expedient technology, suggested by the low number of finds in individual layers, their small size, low intensity of use and lack of evidence for preparatory measures and curation. Exceptionally, the assemblage from Veternica has provided retouchers made from cave bear bones, which could suggest exploitation of this species by Neanderthals.
|Reflections upon Discussions with Jacques Tixier
Keywords: Jacques Tixier, in memoriam, stone tools, lithic technology, lithic projectiles, Levant, Ksar ‘Aqil, Üçağızlı Cave, Upper Palaeolithic, Ahmarian, Levantine Aurignacian, Late Archaic Period
The participants working in the southern Levant described the then newly modelled framework of two discrete Upper Palaeolithic traditions, the “blade-oriented” Ahmarian and the “flake-oriented” Levantine Aurignacian. While considering the latter, Tixier interjected, “what about the bladelets?”
|In Memoriam Jacques Tixier (1925-2018)
Keywords: Jacques Tixier, in memoriam, prehistory, stone tools, lithic technology, bibliography
Jacques Tixier, an archaeologist and technologist, passed away at the age of 93 on 3 April 2018 in his home at Pradines (France) near the Lot river and chalk cliffs which he loved to watch as they glowed in the evening sun in springtime. His death marked the passing of the pioneering generation which crafted French prehistory into an internationally recognised branch of study, helping this young science to become a fully-fledged discipline in its own right.
|Preliminary results of the recent excavation of a radiolarite mine area and its surroundings in Sedmerovec
Keywords: Slovakia, White Carpathians, sources of radiolarites, mining areas, lithic industry, late Mesolithic, Neolithic, Eneolithic
The article deals with the archaeological investigation of Sedmerovec-Kašnák and Sedmerovec-Podjamie sites from 2016. In Sedmerovec-Kašnák mine area, archaeological investigations were carried out in the western half of the pit. Unfortunately, no archaeological material was found. During the surface survey and archaeological excavation in Sedmerovec-Podjamie site, a rich collection of a lithic industry was obtained. Important are rhomboids most probably from the late Mesolithic. A portion of the artifacts belongs to the Neolithic and Eneolithic.
|Preliminary report of an Upper Palaeolithic site Feldebrő-Bakoldal 1 (in Hungarian)
Keywords: Epigravettian, Upper Palaeolithic, wooly mammoth, ceramic material, fieldwork, excavation
At the site Feldebrő-Bakoldal 1, Mihály Gasparik paleontologist uncovered remains of a wooly mammoth and a Pleistocene-age fox together with several limnic silicite flakes in 2011. After successful field walkings we conducted an archaeological excavation at the site between June–September 2016. Preliminary results suggests that the excavated lithic material belongs to the Epigravettian phylum of the Gravettian entity. The lithic raw materials are heterogenous in both the regional and extraregional subsample. We recovered ceramic lumps/ sherds in association with the Palaeolithic artifacts, from Pleistocene layers that were devoid of later disturbation. This phenomenon requires further investigations.
|Morphometric analysis of blades from Hidasnémeti-Borház-dűlő Gravettian site (in Hungarian)
Keywords: Gravettian, Upper Palaeolithic, mathematical statistics, technology, breakages, Hidasnémeti
The excavation of Hidasnémeti-Borház dűlő Upper Palaeolithic site was conducted by Katalin Simán between 1983 and 1985. Based on the shouldered points in the excavated lithic assemblage, she placed the site to a well limited time horizon of the Gravettian technocomplex. Ferenc Eleki conducted a technological analyis on the assemblage in his unpublished MA thesis (Eleki 2010). With this technological approach, relationship of the two observed culture bearing layer became possible in novel ways. The presence of numerous „breakages” on blades and bladelets also offered an opportunity for a more detailed metrical analysis. This kind of analysis didn’t took place so far, and only the thoroughness of the excavation could make possible to perform such studies. The one and only aim of this paper is the extension of the mathematical-statistical investigations. We would like to deal with the possible function of the site or the archaeological evaluation of the lithic assemblage only tangential. However, we didn’t consider the completion of the mathematical-statistical investigations autotelic, we try to give an archaeological interpretation of the results, even if this is may be not more than a hypotetical notion.
|Taxonomy of the Early Middle Palaeolithic in Central Europe
Keywords: Middle Palaeolithic, Penultimate Glaciation, Mousterian, Micoquian, Levallois technology
The objective of this paper is the analysis of cultural diversification in Central Europe, in the Penultimate Glaciation (MIS 8–6) on the basis of techno-morphological criteria. Using the taxonomic analysis of culture units in the Early Phase of the Middle Palaeolithic a hypothesis has been proposed that claims a complex, polycentric origin of some of the distinguished units that employed Levallois technology and bifacial tools such as Micoquian Keilmesser and leaf-points. The phylogenetic processes registered in the Early Phases of the Middle Palaeolithic determined the cultural diversity in the Late Phase of this time interval (from the Last Interglacial – MIS 5 – to the middle of the Interpleniglacial – MIS 3).
|Leaf Point finds from Zemplín Hills Area, Eastern Slovakia
Keywords: Late Middle Palaeolithic, upper palaeolithic, Aurignacian, Szeletian, leaf points
Dr. M. Iľko was the fi rst who paid attention to knapped stone industries on the Western edge of the Zemplín Hills (Slovakia). The collection of Palaeolithic artifacts come from the cadastres of the villages Čerhov and Veľká Tŕňa (Trebišov district). Among these, fi ve bifacial leaf points found at the archaeological sites Pod hečkou, Pod vinicami (Čerhov) and Hečka (Veľká Tŕňa) require special attention. Two points were made of fl int (Hečka and Pod vinicami), one of limnosilicite (Pod hečkou) and of radiolarite (Pod hečkou). Collections of knapped stone industries from the above mentioned sites provide circumstantial evidence on Szeletian/Aurignacian settlements of this region.
|Bifacial technology at the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic in Moravia
Keywords: Late Middle Palaeolithic, Upper Palaeolithic, Aurignacian, Bohunician, Szeletian, leaf points
Leaf points have been documented in the Szeletian, Bohunician and Aurignacian technocomplexes in Moravia. The leaf point undoubtedly represents a Szeletian type-fossil within the Moravian early Szeletian, but in the Bohunician the presence of leaf points is more debatable. Bifacial knapping is an unusual element within the Bohunician Levallois-based industry, and has only been documented in the type-site assemblage. Leaf points in Aurignacian contexts have never been recorded in stratified assemblages; they have been documented only at surface sites so their association with the Aurignacian is doubtful.
|Palaeolithic industries with bifacial technologies and Crimean Micoquian Tradition as one of their Middle Palaeolithic industrial examples
Keywords: Palaeolithic, Bifacial tools, Middle Palaeolithic, Micoquian, Crimean Micoquian Tradition, Bifacial Backed Knife
This paper discusses various aspects of Palaeolithic industries having bifacial tool traditions, with an emphasis on Middle Palaeolithic Micoquian materials in Crimea (Ukraine). The described lithic artifact data and their complex analyses testify a great proportional variability of the same tool classes and types in various Crimean Micoquian Tradition assemblages, caused by a dynamic and many-sided Neanderthal group differences on flint reduction models as well as primary and secondary faunal exploitation at functionally variable sites. Also, there is a discussion on a genuine role of Micoquian bifacial backed knife (“Keilmesser”) types in the Crimean Micoquian. These types appear to be not intentionally manufactured tool types, representing instead various reduction stages of bifacial side-scraper and point production sequences where natural platforms (backed areas) of plaquette and thick flake blanks did serve as necessary technological elements of the process.
|Open-air site complex with leaf-points at Szécsénke (Cserhát Mountains, Northern Hungary), Preliminary results
Keywords: Cserhát Mountains, Northern Hungary, felsitic porphyry, leaf-shaped tool, Micoquian-Bábonyian industry, Szeletian industry, site complex, settlement dynamics, landscape use pattern
Based on extensive fi eld surveys of the past decade the Late Middle Palaeolithic and Initial Upper Palaeolithic occupation was very intensive in the Cserhát Mountains. There are some very characteristic clusters in the site distribution. One of the important ones is those of in the vicinity of Legénd and Szécsénke villages. In this paper we will review the lithic material of an interpreted Palaeolithic site complex at Szécsénke village. The compound term „site complex“ does not necessary mean simultaneity of the aff ected sites, by this term rather a kind of techno-typological relation between the collected chipped stone assemblages will be stressed. The aff ected sites seem to have a Szeletian-like character which resembles the well researched Moravian Szeletian. On the base of the raw material utilization and of techno-typological considerations a kind of intra-cultural development can be observed.
|Flint artefacts from Rivne (Ukraine) in the collection of the District Museum in Toruń
Keywords: Volhynian flint, bifacial products, Rivne (Ukraine), museum collections
The aim of this publication is to present and illustrate selected bifacial products from amongst the flint artefacts from Rivne (Ukraine) that are a part of the collection of the Toruń District Museum’s Archaeological Department. There is no data on their exact origin or the circumstances in which they were collected, thus analysing them we have to be very cautious. By means of typological and comparative classification we can define them as Late Neolithic to Bronze Age.
|Analysis of Organic Compounds: Applications in Archaeology and Earth Science
Keywords: Flint, Analyses of molecular composition of organic compounds, Archaeology, Earth science
Analysis of molecular composition of organic matter in lithics can determine correlations between organic matter and rock source. The paper presents the possibilities and limitations of using this method in Earth Sciences and Archaeology.
|Bifaces in plain sight: testing elliptical Fourier analysis in identifying reduction effects on Late Middle Palaeolithic bifacial tools
Keywords: Late Middle Palaeolithic, geometric morphometrics, Keilmesser, handaxes, leaf points
Nowadays, geometric morphometrics are being widely implemented in lithic studies. Their application is driven by the powerful methods of data analysis off ered by morphometric computer software. Additionally, computer programs for digital shape analysis are freeware and easy to handle, even for a non-morphometrician. The results achieved with this software yield interesting conclusions and they off er a new perspective on lithic tools. This presents morphometrics as a potentially useful methodological tool in the fi eld of lithic analysis, which often has to deal with artifacts morphology. The aim of this study is to test the utility of basic shape analyses included in the PAST (Palaeontological Statistics) computer program, and especially elliptical Fourier analysis, in identifying reduction eff ects on Late Middle Palaeolithic bifacial tools. For this purpose, an assemblage of 147 bifacial tools from Southern Poland was analyzed. The sample comprised of Keilmessergruppen handaxes, Keilmesser and Late Middle Palaeolithic leaf points. The results reveal patterned changes in artifacts proportions, which may have been caused by continuous resharpening/reduction as well as by gradual alteration of tools design, due to their changing function.
|Mogyorósbánya-Újfalusi-dombok, final report (in Hungarian)
Keywords: Ságvárian Culture, settlement features, lithic tools, raw material
The Upper Palaeolithic site was discovered at the 208 meters high terrace of the River Danube in 1983. We excavated three occupation areas in course of nine campaigns, unearthing 360 square meters in situ cultural layer out of the whole 440 square meters. The site considered as the stratotype of the Ságvárian culture. Before the ultimate study of findings we summarize here our most important results until today. The rich tool set testifies the distinct status of the Ságvárian inside the Gravettian entity. Beside the lithic types that decided the cultural stand of the assemblage, a newly observed charateristic is the intensive use of pebbles as raw material. This raw material form reduces the degree of laminarization in the collection, which address a quite atypical caracter for the industry.
|Buják-Szente, an open-air palaeolitdic site (in Hungarian)
Keywords: Cserhát Mountains, field walking, reconaissance, flint pebbles, leaf shaped tool, Palaeolitdic, Szeletian
Since 2001, field walking surveys are undertaken in tde vicinity of tde village Buják, Nógrád county, Hungary. Among tde discovered sites, Buják-Szente provided a rich collection of litdics. tde majority of tde artifacts belongs to tde Palaeolitdic period, tde younger pieces possibly are from tde Neolitdic. Most of tde artifacts were made of local rocks (limnic quartzite and flint), tde long-distance materials are represented by obsidian and nortdern flint. tde Palaeolitdic flake industry lacks quartz-porphyry pieces. Side-scrapers, end-scrapers, leaf shaped and otder bifacial tools are represented among tde tools. tde typological character of tdis collection suggests a younger bifacial industry, which bears a resemblance to tde Szeletian culture. tde younger litdic sample has a laminar character, it is made almost exclusively of limnic quartzite. End-scrapers and otder worked blades dominate tde class of tools. In tde absence of ceramic sherds, tde connotations of tdese litdics are uncertain, probably tdey belong to tde Lengyel culture.
|Topography of Gravettien sites (in Hungarian)
Keywords: Gravettian entity, Pavlovian, Epigravettian, Ságvárian, topography
We are investigating the topography of Gravettian sites in Hungary, with the distinction of three chronological stages and related cultural phyla of this entity (older leptolithic / Pavlovian, younger leptolithic /Epigravettian, and the pene-contemporeous Ságvárian). The investigated Hungarian sites are: Bodrogkeresztúr-Henye, Megyaszó-Szeles-tető, Hont-Parassa III./Orgonás, Nadap-Kőbánya, Püspökhatvan (Pavlovian); Pilismarót, Jászfelsőszentgyörgy-Szúnyogos, Esztergom-Gyurgyalag, Arka-Herzsarét (Epigravettian); Ságvár-Lyukas-domb, Madaras-Téglavető, Mogyorósbánya Újfalusi dombok (Ságvárian).A fourth chronological stage is represented by the upper cultural layers of Arka and Pilismarót-Bánom. At the former site, the upper layer contains similar material as the lower. At Pilismarót-Bánom, the upper layer contained only a handful of cultural material, serving as stratigraphical clues only. The typology, raw material and metrics of the three cultural phyla are compared.
|SzeleStra: new stratigraphical research at the eponymous site of the Szeleta culture (in Hungarian)Zsolt Mester, Péter Szolyák, György Lengyel, Árpád Ringer | Pdf | View article
Keywords: Szeleta cave, chronology, stratigraphy
One of our most widely known Palaeolithic site is the eponymous Szeleta-cave above the Szinva brook, in the Bükk Mountains of Hungary. The chronological and cultural interpretation of its findings fell under the development of the European prehistoric studies. The ever-changing debate suffered by a serious obstacle: many researchers worked in the cave since 1906, but only Ottokar Kadić’s system of strata were used in the interpretations. The stratigraphy and chronology of the site regained interest around the turn of the millenium. With the advent of new radiocarbon dates, it became obvious that the stratigraphical data at hand are dubious, at least. In 2012, we initiated a new project in the cave foreground, to uncover an exhaustive stratigraphy for different scientific analyses.
|Acsa-Rovnya: new results (in Hungarian)
Keywords: Aurignacian, leaf point, open air site
After the initial surveys and two seasons of excavations (2001 and 2004), in 2007, Attila Péntek donated a huge amount of lithics from the Acsa-Rovnya site, to the Hungarian National Museum. Since the first publication (2008), new Aurignacian open-air localities were discovered at the site. We made a re-evaluation of the site, in the light of the new data.
|Open-air Szeletian site at Szécsénke-Kis-Ferenc-Hegy (in Hungarian)
Keywords: Micoquian-Bábonyian, Szeletian, Cserhát mountains, typology, technology, raw materials, quartz porphyry, metarhyolite, leaf shaped tools
Despite the fact that the eponymous site of Szeleta-cave lies in Hungary, there are hardly any open-air Szeletian site from this country. Most of the leaf-shaped points, hallmark of the Szeletien, are found their ways into museum collections as stray finds, without context. In many cases, these tools are mixed at the surface with lithics of different epochs and cultures, and they are uncomprehensible. Since 2001, systematic field walking surveys take place in the Cserhát mountains, in the vicinity of Legénd, Nógrádkövesd, Szécsénke, among others. Many new sites were recovered, but only one published so far. The material from Legénd-Káldy-tanya belongs to the Micoquian – Bábonyian sphere. Now we add an other site, Szécsénke-Kis-Ferenc-hegy to the published collections. The lithic material bears the following characteristics: quartz porphyry raw material, bifacial technology, leaf-shaped points that are symmetric to their longitudal axes, Aurignacian-type endscrapers, sidescrapers with a Middle Palaeolithic design, moderate ratio of blades and blade-tools. The collection shows typologic similarities with Szeletian sites from Slovakia, Moravia and Bavaria. Some unpublished material also seem to belong to this sphere: Debercsény-Mogyorós, Hont-Csitár, Buják-Szente.
|Tata-Porhanyó-bánya in 2012 (in Hungarian)
Keywords: Middle Palaeolithic, pebble industry
In concord with the aims of the Lithic Research Roundtable, I report new results about the revision of 1995-2001 and former excavations, as they stand in 2012. New problems and questions are also included in the study.
|Earlier Stone Age of Sudan in the light of a Large Cutting Tool (in Hungarian)
Keywords: Out-of-Africa, Early Stone Age (ESA), Middle Stone Age (MSA), Sudan, quantitative morphometrics, chaîne opératoire, handaxe, knife, Large Cutting Tool, secondary context
The Out-of-Africa hypotheses gather recent African Early Stone Age research under one of the most important interpretive umbrella, which has to be tested against the hostile environmental and taphonomic situation in the Sahara. In comparison with the other parts of the continent, we recognize only a few archaeological sites here, mostly light artefact scatters from secondary contexts. The object of this paper is one of these artefacts: a Large Cutting Tool from the present-day Sudan. Through an analysis in morphometrics and technology, I sketch the possible uses of the data acquired, at different resolutions, in the Out-of-Africa scheme. According to local, regional and continental scales, I set up three questions: 1) How can we fit the examined tool in the prehistoric map of Sudan with the attributes in hand? 2) How can we include the region of Sudan into the Out-of-Africa realm? 3) What are the options for integrating similar isolated occurences with such comprehensive, theory-driven discourses like the early Homo migrations? As the Early Stone Age of Sudan is barely mentioned in the literature written in Hungarian, this paper aims to present a brief review about this particular area and time.