Flint Materials from Berżupia, Dubicze, Dymitrówka and Grybosze in Southern Lithuania
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Publication date: 2001-12-31
Wiadomości Archeologiczne 2001;LV(55):101–121
The sites at Berżupia/Beržupis, Dymitrówka, Dubicze/Dubičiai and Grybosze/Gribaša, rej. Varėna, Lithuania, lie in the south-western part of the Lithuanian Lake District, on the upper and middle Mereczanka/Merkys River, at the centre of heavy concentration of Final Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic settlement. The sites at Dubicze were situated probably on the first terrace above the flood plain of Lake Pielasa; geomorphologic location of other sites cannot be specified more closely. The flint material had been collected from the surface of deflated dune formations at the turn of the 19th and 20th c. as well as in the 1920s by W. Szukiewicz and L. and I. Sawicki. All the specimens are made of Baltic Cretaceous flint collected locally from the surface. The local “Orany variation of Baltic flint (from the town of Orany/Varëna) distinguished by its fine quality occurred in large nodules. The cores were worked using the hard hammer technique. The largest group is formed by conical and subconical specimens with a single striking platform (Fig. 1). Nearly a half of the striking platforms show traces of preparation. Preparation of sides and back of the core is seen extremely seldom. While there are almost no raw blades of high quality many of the blade tools are of considerable length. It would appear that only a small number of long and straight blades were produced, most of them used in tool production. Percentage participation of cortical blades and flakes (Table 1) suggests that flint nodules were worked on the site. This is indicated by the tool inventory of a number of small concentrations of flints at Dymitrówka and Grybosze. Blade morphology, the type of cortex on cores and blanks, patina, manner of exploitation, and refittings (Fig. 6b) suggest that at least a part of the blanks and waste products had been struck from cores remaining at these sites which probably represent sites (workshops) which were used once or only briefly for working a one or more cores. Flint finds originating from the sites in question vary greatly in terms of chronology and culture affiliation. A small number of specimens probably belongs to the Lyngby and Arhensburgian culture namely, a core similar to Lyngby specimens (Fig. 6d), tanged points (Fig. 4k) and truncated pieces of the Komornica/Zonhoven type(?). Swiderian culture is represented by tanged points (Fig. 5d,h, 7i, 10e,g), opposite platform cores (Fig. 3a, 7k) and Tarnovian end-scrapers (Fig. 3e, 4h,i, 5f) all of which occurred at several sites and may be dated to the close of Younger Dryas or beginning of the Preboreal Period. Mesolithic finds well represented at all sites included single specimens characteristic for the Western Baltic early Mesolithic: Komornica/Zonhoven truncated pieces and backed pieces of Stawinoga type associated with Komornica culture. It is noteworthy that inventories featuring elements of that culture form visible concentrations on the upper Kotra and Uła/Ūla Rivers, at Duba, Dubicze, Grybosze, Rudnia and Czereszla VI. Western influence is suggested by the presence in the assemblages likewise at Dubicze and Grybosze of elements such as Wieliszew points with a truncated base (Fig. 9d) and a trapeze with concave sides (Fig. 7h). Analogous specimens are known in Maglemosian culture. The presence of the trapeze suggests that contacts with this environment lasted even until the beginning of the Atlantic Period – the post-Maglemosian Oldesloe culture. The main body of the collection is comprised by Janisławice and Neman material. Finds from Dubicze, Dymitrówka and Grybosze included all varieties of Wieliszew points: specimens having a natural, snapped, retouched or concave and retouched base. A distinct variant are truncated pieces of the Janisławice type in which the tang is formed (Fig. 9a,b) by means of a semiflat alternate (Kunda type) or unifacial (Ahrensburgian) retouch. They are made on broad, regular, slightly bowed blades. The small number of analogous specimens published to date has yet to be studied in more detail. They are associated with Kunda culture sites and concentrate in the area close to the border between Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. Materials from the analysed sites also featured elements characteristic for Janisławice culture, such as large and small Janisławice triangles, trapezes, partly backed knives and side-scrapers. The Boreal Period saw a shift of the Kunda culture from the north onto Janisławice settlement and the emergence of a zone of Kunda-Janisławice intermixing featuring assemblages containing elements of both these cultures. A compact area of occurrence of such assemblages to a large extent corresponds to with the range of a phenomenon defined by S. K. Kozłowski (1972, 92–119; 1973, 349–350) as Neman culture, group of the Lithuanian Kunda culture (S.K. Kozłowski 1971, 73), by R. Rimantienė (1971, 125–152) as Microlithic-Macrolithic culture. Neman materials are characterised by presence of tools such as subconical cores with a single striking platform, slender and squat end-scrapers, burins on snaps, core and flake axes, Kunda points, Borki bladelets, Neolithic arrowheads, truncated pieces of Michałów type and perforators, borers, side-scrapers, Wieliszew points. The assortment of types evidently suggests a strong continuation of Mesolithic forms accompanied by an admixture of Neolithic characteristics evidenced by the method of retouching (arrowheads, axes). There is no certainty however, whether the Neolithic elements do not represent a purely mechanical admixture (E. Kempisty 1983, 183). The presence of an arrowhead with channel retouch, the polishing of blades in macrolithic tools, predominance of macrolithic rather than microlithic forms (Dymitrówka, Berżupia), as well as the location of the site at Dubicze on the first terrace above the flood plain indicate a later chronology of the Neman materials, i.e., 3000 and 2000 BC. At the same time pottery registers early Neman elements (e.g. Dubičiai pottery). This suggests that the site was settled repeatedly or that there was a continuity of settlement from the beginning of the Neolithic. Phase III of the Neolithic in Lithuania (end of the 3rd millennium until 1600 BC) saw the advent of Corded Ware culture in the region. In southern regions of Lithuania settlement of Neman (Upper Neman) culture continued in existence featuring in its inventories numerous elements associated with the Corded Ware environment, represented in the collections under discussion by bifacal oval-sectioned axes (Fig. 7a) and bifacial tools (Fig. 11b). Basing on the analysis of inventories the sites were distinguished into two groups: 1. Berżupia and Dymitrówka produced predominantly Neman culture material dated to 4000–3000 BC. A number of concentrations or sections of sites may probably be considered to be largely homogeneous although a slight admixture of materials from the Final Palaeolithic is also in evidence (i.e., Swiderian, Ahrensburgian?, Lyngby?) as well as most probably, Mesolithic (Janisławice culture?). A part of the assemblages have a character of workshops – Dymitrówka (gn. 3, site 1e, Koło koty 110). 2. Dubicze and Grybosze most probably represent multicomponent flint workshops associated with working Cretaceous flint found locally. Similar character is exhibited by sites concentrating around Rudnia in Lithuania (R. Schild, H. Więckowska 1961, 194). Settlement continuity in these sites is documented starting from the close of the Final Palaeolithic until the Bronze Age.
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