2013-2014 | 5-6 | 25-34
Article title

The oldest Middle Palaeolithic finds in the northern foothills of the Carpathians

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The north-eastern Carpathian foothills is an upland area interspersed with valleys. The largest number of Middle Palaeolithic sites are situated on the Lesser Polish Upland and the Podolian Upland. The Polish Jura is characterised by a typically Jurassic landscape marked by large relief variations, dry valleys and a number of outcrops of Upper Jurassic rocky limestone with numerous caves. Podolia, on the other hand, is an upland territory with a dense network of wide and deep river valleys cutting into thick layers of loess. An important element of this landscape is the range of hills made up of neogene limestone (Towtry) with poorly preserved karst forms. In this article, the oldest phases of the Middle Palaeolithic have been compared on the example of two benchmark sites of a multi-phase character: the Biśnik Cave (BC) and Velykyi Glybochok. They are both located in a similar favourable geographical position. Lower sections of chrono-cultural sequences from both sites have been presented and compared with the chronostratigraphy of the Korolevo site in Transcarpathian Ukraine. The oldest occupation phases in the Biśnik Cave have been preserved in the complex of the following layers: 19a – d, and 19. The oldest of those (layers 19 b – d), dated to over 500 ka, were re-deposited within the area of the cave. They are characterised by the proto-Levallois technique, the occurrence of side-scrapers, denticulate-notched tools and inserts of composite tools. A well-developed Levallois method, the La Quina method, side-scrapers and denticulate-notched tools are the features of the assemblage from layer 19a, discovered in the primary context and dated to OIS 7. From the same phase comes layer III in VG. It is characterised by the presence of the Levallois method, discoid method, the La Quina method, side-scrapers, denticulate-notched tools and Mousterian points. In Korolewo, the Levallois method is accompanied by bifacial technique in the form of Middle Palaeolithic points, there are also side-scrapers and denticulate tools. Both in VG (III B) and BC (layers 18 and 15) the bifacial technique does not appear before OIS6. The above observations allow us to regard the Carpathian region as an independent centre of the initial Levallois method of lithic raw material processing, regardless of Western Europe. The analysed assemblages, along with several others from southern Germany, may be traces of the oldest phase of the Mousterian culture of the Acheulean tradition in Central-Eastern Europe, distinguished by the co-occurrence of the Levallois and bifacial methods.
Physical description
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