2015 | 63 | 29-57
Article title

Najstarsze osadnictwo mezolityczne w strefie zachodniobałtyckiej w świetle badań stanowiska Bolków 1

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The oldest Mesolithic settlement in the Western Baltic Zone in the light of research on the site Bolków 1
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During excavations being conducted on the site Bolków 1 (Figs 1-2) in the 2010-2011 seasons, two campsites representing the oldest Mesolithic settlement in the Western Baltic zone have been discovered and examined. Their dating is based on stratigraphy (Figs 3-4), palynological examinations and radiocarbon determinations (14C) for younger Duvensian assemblages (T. Galiński 2014) and refers to the 1st half of the Late Preboreal (Fig. 12). The concentrations are situated in close proximity to each other on a platform of the middle floodplain terrace of the former lake Krynickie (Fig. 5). The western campsite (I/2010W) is 6.5 m x 5.5 m in size and its overall area is about 28 m2. In the central-western part of the cluster, there is a pit object with irregular outline, 1.35 m x 0.70-0.95 m in size. The eastern campsite (I/2010E) is 7.0 m x 6.0 m in size and its overall area is about 32 m2. In the eastern part of the cluster, there is a household pit with irregular outline, 1.42 m x 1.00-1.28 m in size. Apart from flint and lithic products, tools and items made of organic raw materials (antlers, bone, wood) and relatively numerous paleozoological material have been found in the campsite under discussion. In the first place, this group of artefacts includes a hunting bow, about half complete, made of elm (Fig. 9:1). The characteristic forms of flint cores being found in the two discussed campsites are presented in Figure 6. They were primarily used to produce blades, stylistically correct, with the following parameters: a – narrow, 0.9-1.2 cm wide and 3.1-4.0 cm long; b – medium, 1.3-1.8 cm wide, with the length ranging from 3.5 to 4.8 cm; and c – broad and very broad, 1.9-3.4 cm wide and, maximum, up to 7.0 cm long. Blades, less often flakes, were used to produce mainly dihedral burins (Fig. 7:12; Fig. 8:17, 20) and burins on truncation (Fig. 7:13; Fig. 8: 16, 18), end-scrapers (Fig. 7:10-11; Fig. 8:15, 19), truncations (Fig. 8:11, 13) and microliths (Fig. 7:1-9; Fig. 8:1-10). They are accompanied by groovers (Fig. 7:14; Fig. 8:12), regularly retouched blades Klosterlund type (Fig. 8:14), denticulate tools (Fig. 7:15), and core-axes and picks (Table 1). Significant differences which occur between assemblages of the two campsites refer to the qualitative frequency of respective microlith categories (Table 2). In the western campsite, there are no triangles at all; Komornica micro-truncations (Fig. 7:5-6, 9) and the Vig-type points (Fig. 7:1-4, 8) are predominant. In the eastern campsite, apart from Komornica micro-truncations (Fig. 8:1-4) and the Vig-type points, backed blades have a prominent place, including in particular the specimens being broken into truncated edge (Fig. 8:5-7). In addition, isosceles triangles (Fig. 8:9) and scalene triangles (Fig. 8:10) are present here. In respect of taxonomy, the two campsites represent a Flixtonian assemblage – the oldest Mesolithic formation in the Western Baltic zone, being dated back on the grounds of numerous radiocarbon determinations to 9700/9600-9000 BP (T. Galiński 2002, p.151 et seq.). These assemblages refer culturally to local, lowland Paleolithic groups of the tanged point and backed blade character from the Youngest Dryas. Among others, campsite PF/2011 on the site Bolków 1 (Fig. 10) belongs to them. In the light of the results of research being conducted on the site in Bolków, two cultural and chronological phases need to be distinguished in the technological and typological development of Flixtonian assemblages. In respect of taxonomy, the older phase is closer to Paleolithic groups of the end of the Youngest Dryas, while the younger one is closer to the oldest classic (fully developed) Mesolithic assemblages. 1. Assemblages representing phase A: Bolków 1, F/2010W; Duvensee 8 and Duvensee 9; Pinneberg, lower horizon; Barmose 1; Skottemarke and Vig. 2. Assemblages representing phase B: Bolków 1, F/2010E; Chwalim 1, lower horizon; Friesack 4, horizon A; Wehldorf 7; Draved 604 “S”; Draved 611; Klosterlund; Sønder Hadsund; Hasbjerg 2; Svenstorp; Henninge Boställe; and others. Older phase assemblages on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea and the North Sea occur in the period between 9700 and 9350 BP, whereas in the northern regions of the European Plain – in Scandinavia – they appear slightly later, about 9500 BP, and occur much longer – to about 9200 BP. Younger phase assemblages appear in the Polish Plain and the North German Plain about 9500 BP and occur to about 9350 BP. In the southern Scandinavia, these assemblages are dated back to the period between about 9400 and 9000 BP. Palynological, dendrological and paleobotanical examinations, as well as paleozoological ones, being carried out in Bolków enable full reconstruction of natural environment at the time in which the oldest Mesolithic settlement occurred. At the beginning of the Late Preboreal, there was a phase of absolute predominance of birch trees (betula undiff.) with pine (Pinus sylvestris t.); there was also alder (Alnus undiff.), poplar (Populus), willow (Salix undiff.), common hazel (Corylus avellana), European ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and common juniper (Juniperus communis). The list of animal species living in the nearby forests and waters, and hunted by the then inhabitants of the site, presents a typical fauna composition for the central-western part of the European Plain in the Preboreal period (T. Galiński 2014). The campsites of the oldest Mesolithic hunters (Flixtonian) occupied the same platform of the middle terrace as the Paleolithic settlement from the end of the Youngest Dryas (campsite PF/2011) but, due to a rise in water levels in the lake, they were located only about 15-20 m away from the former lake-shore. The groups of hunters dwelled in small huts (4-5 m in diameter) embedded in the ground and constructed from wooden poles and perches, tree branches, animal hides and turf. Also birch bark was commonly used to line the interior of such structures. The economy was based on hunting, in the first place for big forest game, such as elk, red deer, aurochs and roe-deer, as well as fishing – primarily for pikes – in a nearby water reservoir. Also the gathering of forest produce, including hazel nuts, played a big role. The basic weapon of both hunter and warrior was a bow. Based on a fragment of the bow stick being preserved in the western campsite (Fig. 9:1), it is known that large, heavy bows, among others, with a considerable range and great penetrating power (a suitable weapon for large animals), were used. The widespread use of such heavy bows in that time may be suggested by large and even very large – as for this type of tools– microliths, being used as arrow-heads. As evidenced by the find in Vig on Zealand, where flint points, being undoubtedly remnants of arrows, have been found near aurochs remains, they are backed and truncated points, fairly robust, of the Vig type. It should be noted that the majority of microliths of this type have a considerably larger surface and weight than the leaf-shaped arrow-heads being used by reindeer hunters. It seems, therefore, that there is an obvious relationship here between the character of arrow-heads and bow size and the type of animals which were hunted. Thus, in so far as leaf-shaped arrow-heads, so called tanged points, were used to hunt tundra reindeers, the large Paleolithic backed blades, and then the robust points of the Vig type were primarily used for hunting large forest mammals, including in particular elk, aurochs and giant deer. This can explain the presence of both leaf-shaped arrow-heads, both of the backed piece type and the microlithic truncation type, as well as those being modified by the burin technique in the form of the Vig points in the assemblages from the Youngest Dryas when the natural environment in the European Plain was very diverse: tundra, forest-tundra and open brich and birch-pine forests. At the beginning of the Late Preboreal, i.e. about 9700/9600 BP, when the forest environment started to prevail in the European Plain landscape, the importance of the latter microliths increased, with a complete elimination of the tanged points. On the other hand, one of the finds in the western cluster on the site Bolków suggests that also a string sling with stone projectiles was used in hunting for big game. Despite the fact that flint tool-manufacturing in the Flixtonian assemblages bears the characteristics of new Mesolithic culture, it clearly refers however, in many respects, to flint industry of the tanged point and backed blade assemblages from the Youngest Dryas (campsite PF/2011). Therefore, this raises the belief that there was not only a close cultural bond between the manufacturers of both assemblages but also specific genetic relations. Thus, the formation process of the oldest Mesolithic culture assemblages in the Western Baltic zone should be seen in the first place as the transformation process of local tanged point and backed piece Paleolithic formations from the Youngest Dryas. A direct participation of “foreign” social groups originating outside of the area of the European Plain, if any, was very limited. About 9400/9350 BP, classic Duvensian assemblages appeared on the site in Bolków. The oldest settlement is represented by two occupation clusters being explored in 2011-2013, i.e. campsites I/2011 “S” and I/2012 “E” (T. Galiński 2014), and also by assemblage D/1985 from the previous excavations by D. Jankowska (T. Galiński, D. Jankowska 2006). These changes coincide with a clear climate warming and flora development. In the environment of the site in Bolków, these changes are very clearly marked in all pollen profiles examined. A depauperate birch-pine forest being dominant here from the beginning of the Younger Pre-Boreal is replaced by a well-developed pine-deciduous forest where, apart from predominant pine and birch trees, such tree species as poplar, European ash, oak, elm, common hazel, and even yew are quite numerous. The forest is inhabited by animals, the list of which fully reflects composition of the fauna characterising rich, fully developed boreal forests of the temperate zone, with red deer, aurochs, roe-deer and wild boar first and foremost. Classic Duvensian assemblages are of the allochthonous nature and associate their origin with different formations being known collectively as Tardigravetian groups of the Mediterranean zone (T. Galiński 2002, p. 348 et seq.). They appearance on the site in Bolków is undoubtedly associated with the arrival of a specific social group here from the southern Europe. At this time, Flixtionian settlement, being moved off to the northern areas of the European Plain (Western Baltic land bridge, Denmark, southern Sweden), disappears completely here. There, it significantly contributed first to the development of settlement of local Flixtionian assemblages (“Maglemosian, phases M0 and M1” according to E. Brinch Petersen, 1973 plus “Barmosegruppen” according to A.D. Johansson, 1990), and then to the formation of classic Maglemosian assemblages of the Baltic zone (“Maglemosian, phases 2-5” according to E. Brinch Petersen, 1973).
Physical description
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