Osadnictwo starszej i środkowej epoki kamienia na terenach Podkarpacia w świetle badań na trasie autostrady A4 w latach 2005-2011
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The areas of south-east Poland, lying within the boundaries of today Podkarpackie voivodeship belong to those Polish areas where the Palaeolithic settlement is still poorly recognized. The research on the Older Stone Age has here, admittedly, a long, but very poor history. Therefore, the researchers noticed a large opportunity for understanding the settlements preceding the agricultural peoples in the areas of Podkarpacie after conducting field studies along the eastern section of A4 motorway construction. However, field work carried out here yielded no breakthroughs. The researchers discovered a few sites where the traces of settlement coming from the earliest period of prehistory were recorded. They registered in general very poor residue remains of the Final Upper Palaeolithic and the Mesolithic groups recorded in a single, specific finds or rare collections. They were usually uncovered beyond their original context, often in decidedly younger fills of features, coming from other prehistoric periods. As examples we ought to mention the Sviderian blade core found in the fill of much younger prehistoric pit (Borek Wielki, site 18), or single tanged point within the cultural layer (Białobrzegi, site 8; Budy Łańcuckie, site 7). The researchers found also other categories of artefacts next to them, which cultural and chronological classification was less clear, though, generally with high probability, we can affiliate them with the Final Upper Palaeolithic Period, which in most cases means their relationship with the Sviderian culture. Such a classi fication is proposed primarily for flint forms bearing clear traces of the production technique; in the case of the Sviderian blades, it is possible to recognize mainly clear traces of the opposed platform core techniques. They were found for examples at the sites such as Łąka site 1+27 or Terliczka site 3. Another group of sites constitute those ones where flint artefacts were discovered, and considered probably as the Palaeolithic forms, and which are so poorly characteristic that their chronological and cultural affiliation is not possible (e.g. Terliczka, site 3). Similar image is shaped with regards to the finds belonging to the Mesolithic Period: they are represented in majority by single finds or their small collections of distinctive characteristics – mainly microlith forms (Terliczka, site 3; Kozodrza, site 6; Bratkowice, site 45). Some of the artefacts regarded as the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic forms occurred within the same site. On the other hand, the region around Trzebownisko village near Rzeszów should be assessed differently. During the excava- tions, the researchers have discovered here three large and rich in artefacts sites of the Stone Age, constituting the multicultural complex of sites: Terliczka, site 4; Terliczka, site 5, Łąka site 11–16. These three sites have provided rich inventories of flint lying partly in clusters corresponding to their original deposition. At all these three sites it is possible to isolated flint artefacts belonging to more than one cultural unit among the rich collection of more than 1,000 finds uncovered within each site. What is more, there are numerous forms which affiliation to the Palaeolithic Period is undoubted. The site Terliczka 4 is situated in the valley of the Wisłok River, and it takes the area of a few hectares in total, but the materials of flint occurred on the surface of only 7 ares. Flint inventories belonging to different cultures classified as the Paleolithic and Mesolithic artefacts were re-moved by natural post-depositional processes, and partly due to destruction made by later, prehistoric settlements. These disorders, although they led to a partial mixing of materials, however, they were so small that it was possible to identify the presence of spatial layout of flints, forming two or three concentrations, partially damaged and distorted nowadays in relation to the primary set. Flint inventories are non-homogeneous. There are four chronological-cultural horizons differentiated: – the youngest one, affiliated to the Mesolithic period without any particular cultural belonging. However, on the basis of the presence of characteristic trapezoidal-shaped inserts, it is linked with a younger phase of that period (the Atlantic period, i.e. about 6000 B.P.); – the Sviderian culture, identified primarily not only on the base of the occurrence of classic tanged points, but also characteristic blades; – the Tarnowiański circle / the Tarnów circle, represented by a small collection of flint, which is composed of two unusual curved backed blades and short end scrapers made on flakes as well as burins; – and the most significant discovery – the Gravettian culture, represented by the cores for blades and also other characte- ristic tools: large backed blades made on blades and samples of smaller dimensions, splintered cores (also called knives of Kostienki type), truncated blades and also common forms such as and scrapers and burins. Another important site and rich in inventory is the site 5 in Terliczka. There were approximately a thousand flint artefacts, out of which around 200 ones should be affiliated with the Palaeolithic Period, very few (several examples) with the Mesolithic Period – probably the Komornica culture and perhaps the Janisławice culture. Flint collection occurred in a limited space. Although the researchers gathered them from the area of 119 ares, but they observed the presence of distinctive assemblages within a smaller space. The most obvious products are those which have distinctive features of the Swiderian technology noticeable primarily in the form of a beautiful collection of typical blade cores with a characteristic way of preparing the material for knapping and knapping itself, and a series of tanged points. The complex of Łąka sites 11–16 also provided a series of significant flint materials, out of which it was possible to identified quantitatively dominant Swiderian implements (tanged points) and Magdalenian ones (at least one core and the distinctive burin associated with Lacan burins). What is more, it is worth mentioning that the Palaeolithic sites have not been discovered along the section of the motorway, which runs through the loess areas. Several-meter-deep trenches excavated through the hills have revealed a significant part of the loess profiles, but none of them contained artefacts. Taking into account, that the Palaeolithic settlements were very rare, as well as they were under the influence of numerous destructing processes, and finally it is extremely difficult to find them in the field, the discussed issue should not be surprising. On the other hand, it leaves some disappointment because a great chance of cutting loess has not brought the desired result. However, this does not negate the possibility of the presence of settlement traces in these areas. Coming into conclusion, it is worth indicating that although the conducted research along the route of the A4 motorway has not yielded many spectacular discoveries, but it has led to a number of important findings. With regards to the dominant character of the settlements of the Final Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Periods, it was identified as poor and short, but on the other hand the results of the discovery of new sites will constitute an important point on the map of Palaeolithic settlement of south-eastern Poland. These findings not only indicate the existence of camps in various episodes of settlement but also provide additional data for the study of the Palaeolithic hunters’ routes as well as the relationship among the various areas of our country and our part of Europe.
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