Obsidian during the Epigravettian in East Middle Europe

These are some Obsidian blades from the Epigravettian site of Kasov in Eastern Slovakia.

Unlike western Central Europe, the east was not abandoned by 25 000 BP. The Moravany and Trencin-region microregions in Slovakia, the Willendorf 1&2 sites, the Krakov vincinity and isolated sites in Moravia (Ostrava) , show a widespread late Gravettian occupation which ended approximately 20-21 k.a. BP.

After 21 k.a. BP the focus of settlements moved again. The impulse for these changes is the climatic deterioration around the LGM. Between 20-17 k.a.new systems of landscape use and technology were established in climatically favorable parts of the Carpathian Basin (Slovakia and Hungary), lower Austria (Grubgraben, Rosenburg am Kamp, Kamegg) and parts of Moravia (Horse hunters at Stránská skála IV). This area was finally abandoned by 17 000 BP. The main cause was an increase in aridity, which caused a decline of the vegetation and subsequently a decrease in the density and diversity of animal resources.

 Typologically, the groups of short Endscrapers and Burins predominate in most of the inventories. Contrary to the Gravettian based predominantly on lithic imports and producing long blades from the classical crested and prismatic cores, the Epigravettian blanks (flakes, shorter blades, microblades) are produced from short and cubical cores as well as from elongated blade cores. Typically, some of the microblades were made by pressure technique from wedge-shaped cores strongly recalling the North Asian parallels.

Typical backed pieces and “Aurignacoid” components very rare. Some industries have features, that show parallels to the Badegoulian, Mezinien and Hambourgian (multiple Zinken / Bohrer at Grubgraben; Zinken at Kamegg), to the Magdalenian (bâtons de commandament at Grubgraben and Ságvár, needles at Grubgraben, backed bladelets at Kamegg) or to the Willendorf-Kostenki complex ( Shouldered points at Kamegg and Kadar in Bosnia at 17 k.a. BP).

In eastern Slovakia, the site of Kasov provides five lithostratigraphical units with two cultural layers. The lower layer, with radiocarbon date 20 700 ± 350 years BP, is dated to the Late Gravettian horizon with rare shouldered points, to a period directly preceding the LGM. The upper layer, partially published by Bánesz et al. (1992), is chronologically dated to the Epigravettian, to the beginning of the post-pleniglacial. Radiocarbon date of this layer is 18 600 ± 390 years BP.  The site is located at an obsidian outcrop and this raw material almost completely dominates in the Epigravettian layer.


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About Katzman

During my whole life I was fascinated by stone age artefacts. Not only the aesthetic qualities of these findings, but also the stories around them and the considerations arising from their discovery, are a part of my blog. Comments and contributions are allways welcome!

About me: J.L. Katzman (Pseudonym). Born in Vienna. Left Austria in 1974 and did not regret. Studied Medicine and Prehistory at a German University. Member of a Medical Department at a German University.

Copyright 2010-2017 by JLK. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to use material in these posts so long as you cite the work.

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