The Bohunician and related Technocomplexes in Europe and Asia

This is a 9 cm long Levallois point from N-France displaying exactly the Bohunician-Type of this artifact. Certainly the traits of this artifact represents a convergence phenomena.

The term “Bohunician” is derived from the word Bohunice, the name of a suburb in the western part of the city of Brno (Moravia), where this specific lithic industry was first discovered and described by  Karel Valoch in 1976. The Bohunician occupation is concentrated in a 100 sq. km area within the Brno Basin, where two clusters of stratified sites (Bohunice and Stránská skála), several other stratified sites (Líšen, Podolí, Tvarožná) and a series of surface artifact clusters have been documented.

These clusters in Moravia, include the Bobrava area,  Prostějov area with the important Ondratice site and  the Mohelno area. Isolated sites with evolved Levallois industries have also been reported from adjoining regions including Hradsko in Bohemia, Nižný Hrabovec in Eastern Slovakia, and Dzierzyslaw I in Poland.

The Bohunician industry is technologically characterized by the utilization of a specific technology described as a fusion of the Levallois and Upper Paleolithic crested core techniques. The desired end product of the operational sequence was the creation of elongated Levallois points.

The Bohunician typological spectrum represents a mixture of Middle and Upper Paleolithic tools. Among the Middle Paleolithic tools, side scrapers of different forms are frequent followed by Mousterian points, Quinson-points and notched and denticulated artifacts. The Upper Paleolithic tool kit is represented mainly by end scrapers and rare burins. Blanks selected for the retouched tool production were both blades and flakes; however, the flake blanks prevail significantly, even in the case of characteristic Upper Paleolithic tool-types, e.g., end scrapers. Bifacially leaf-shaped points within stratified assemblages are selectively known from Bohunice and have been interpreted differently (Szeletian influence, palimpsest character of the findings including Bohunician and Szeletian tools?).

Elongated Levallois points were the desired end product of the Bohunician technology. The reduction strategy was reconstructed as follows:

  • the core was shaped as a typical upper Paleolithic prismatic core with a frontal crest
  • Two opposed platforms were created.
  • The striking platforms of these blades were faceted, allowing better control of the strike.
  • Consequently a series of blades was removed from both opposed platforms in order to form the frontal face of the core into a shape (triangular, elongated) which allows Levallois point production
  • Although the end product (elongated Levallois point) has affinities to the genuine Middle Paleolithic Levallois technologies, the volumetric concept is fully Upper Paleolithic.
  • The prevailing dorsal scar pattern of the Levallois points is bidirectional or opposed directional.
  • Concave faceted platforms of the Levallois points are an important hallmark of the Bohunician.

While the calibrated radiocarbon have a relatively broad range (between 48–40 k.a. BP), a TL weighted mean result of 11 artifacts from the Bohunice 2002 excavation
yielded a result of 48.2 ±1.9 k.a. BP, which corresponds to some the OSL dates (60–40 k.a BP). Generally, luminescence dates tend to be older than the radiocarbon

In Moravia, the Bohunician as well as the Szeletian suddenly seem to disappear around 40 k.a. BP. This moment corresponds with the Campanian Ignimbrite although Moravia was not immediately affected by volcanic ash.

A very similar technology has been found at isolated find spots over S/E-Europe and Asia. To name just a few:

Temnata Dupka Cave is located in a limestone cliff above the Iskar River, near Karlukovo village in northern Bulgaria. The assemblage with evolved Levallois technique has an age range of 50–45 ka. It was excavated from sector TD-II, Layer VI. Technologically, the cores show bidirectional reduction, some of them possessing a frontal crest. However, Levallois points and other blanks with facetted striking platforms are rare.

The site of Kulychivka in the Ukraine is located on a strategically elevated position (Kulychivka hill) above the Ikva River, on the outskirts of the town of Kremenets, Ternopol Province. The vicinity of the site is an important raw material outcrop. Nodules of a high quality Turronian fint were extracted from Cretaceous chalk deposits. Artifacts in layer 4 and overlying layer 3 show traces of evolved Levallois technique – concavely faceted striking platforms, elongated blanks (blades and points) with bidirectional dorsal scars, and related bidirectional cores. Crested blades indicate the preparation of a frontal crest. Layer 3 differs from underlying layer 4 by a lower number of Levallois points and a greater number of bladelets and endscrapers often made on long massive and steeply retouched blades. A single radiocarbon date of 31k.a. BP is younger than the generally accepted age for the Bohunician.

Kara-Bom in the Altai is a multilayered site in the Altai Mountains at an altitude of over 1000 m asl. The site is situated near an active spring at the foot of a black rock wall. The source of a high quality raw material, subvolcanic rock, is situated in nearby gravels. Layers 5 and 6 dated by radiocarbon to 50–37 k.a. BP produced an evolved Levallois industry attributed to the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transitional period. The assemblages from these layers are characterized by the production of elongated blanks with concavely facetted striking platforms of bipolar cores. In contrast to the western Eurasian sites, the Kara-Bom assemblage has a more distinct bladelet/ microbladelet component. A bladelet burin-core on a massive Levallois flake was also refitted.

The Shuidonggou site cluster in China (localities 1– 12) is situated on the bank of Border River (tributary of the Yellow River) in the transition zone between the Maowusu Desert and the Loess Plateau in Northern China. Several occupational horizons from Paleolithic to Neolithic periods were recorded. J. Svoboda noted the similarity of a portion of this industry with the Levallois-“leptolithic” technology. Artifacts from localities 1 and 9 show characteristic features of the Bohunician, including Levallois artifacts and bipolar cores. The onset of Levalloisian blade technology at Shuidonggou Locality 1 has recently be dated to ca. 43 k.a. by C-14 and OSL.

Suggested Reading, especially about the “Emirian” in the near East

The Story of Levallois Points

The Initial Upper Paleolithic of the Negev


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