The New Find of an Early Mesolithic Bone ‘Mattock’ from the Village of Borki, Wołomin County
Grzegorz Osipowicz 1  
,   Justyna Orłowska 1  
,   Justyna Kuriga 1  
,   Daniel Makowiecki 1  
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Instytut Archeologii, Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika w Toruniu
Publication date: 2020-01-28
Wiadomości Archeologiczne 2019;LXX(70):173–182
The artefact under study was found in 2017 in a gravel pit located in the village of Borki, Radzymin County in Eastern Poland (Fig. 1). The object was unearthed during the industrial extraction of sand from the former bed of the Bug River and, according to the finder, was located at a depth of about 16–18 m. The tool is 21 cm long, with a width of 6 cm and a thickness of approx. 4 cm, both measured at half the length of the specimen. The blade is bevelled on one side, and the object is cream-coloured (Fig. 2). The mattock was made out of a radial bone of a large ruminant, probably aurochs or European bison (Fig. 3). The radiocarbon date of 9180± 50 BP (Poz-97932) obtained for the mattock from Borki makes it one of (if not) the oldest known objects of this kind and allows us to assume that it was made during the Preboreal Period (Fig. 5). The vast majority of objects analogous to the mattock described come from the Boreal period and are associated with Maglemosian communities. However, considering the territorial range of the Ma­glemosian Culture, which covered the area of the South Baltic Lakelands (J. Kabaciński 2016, 263, 264, fig. 22), and the fact that the artefact was discovered in Mazovia, it seems much more probable that it is connected with the Komornica Culture. As a result of traceological analysis, interesting technological and functional traces were observed on the item. As regards the methods employed to form the tool, the wide use of the nicking technique (Fig. 2:B, 6:D.E; É. David 2007, 39), used to shape the blade and flat surfaces of the specimen, draws particular attention. The traces of use-wear registered on the mattock (Fig. 6:L–N) indicate that it was most likely used for chopping/hewing soft wood. The tool from Borki is undoubtedly unique in form and currently has no strict analogies among other early Holocene objects made of aurochs long bones from either Poland or Europe. Radiocarbon dating places the mattock among the few Mesolithic bone artefacts from the Preboreal Period known in Poland. Traceological analyses have shown a number of interesting technological and use-wear traces on its surface, which can provide a good basis for further technological and functional studies of this type of object.