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Multidisciplinary Contributions to the Study of Pit Grave Culture Kurgans of the Great Hungarian Plain


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The aim of our paper is to provide analytical data to the multidisciplinary research of Pit Grave culture kurgans of the Carpathian Basin. The data presented in the following have chronological, cultural, environmental and anthropological implications. People of the Pit Grave culture inhabited the Carpathian Basin during the Late Copper and Early Bronze Age. Radiocarbon dates of Pit Grave culture kurgans and other contemporary cultures help to integrate this cultural complex in the prehistory of the Carpathian Basin. Environmental data – from two archaeological sites – provide detailed information on the environmental setting this culture lived in, and information on nutritional habits as well as burial rituals.
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Interregional Interaction and Socio-Cultural Change
in the Third Millennium BC
Carpathian Basin and Neighbouring Regions
Edited by
Volker Heyd, Gabriella Kulcsár and Vajk Szeverényi
The publication of this volume was generously supported by the National Cultural Fund of Hungary
and by the János Bolyai Research Scholarship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Front Cover
M. C. Escher’s “Day and Night” © 2013 The M.C. Escher Company-The Netherlands
All rights reserved.
Back Cover
Interior decorated bowl fragments from Somogyvár-Kupavárhegy, Hungary
(photo by Fanni Fazekas)
ISBN 978-963-9911-48-2
HU-ISSN 1215-9239
© The Authors and Archaeolingua Foundation
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any
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retrieval system, without requesting prior permission in writing from the publisher.
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Desktop editing and layout by Gergely Hős
Printed by Prime Rate Kft.
Editorial ................................................................................................................................................ 7
Europe at the Dawn of the Bronze Age ................................................................................. 9
Transition to the Bronze Age: Issues of Continuity and Discontinuity
in the First Half of the Third Millennium BC in the Carpathian Basin ............................... 67
View from the Northwest: Interaction Network
in the Dnieper– Carpathian Area and the People of the Globular Amphora Culture
in the Third Millenium BC .................................................................................................. 93
From the Late Eneolithic Period to the Early Bronze Age in the Black Sea Steppe:
What is the Pit Grave Culture (Late Fourth to Mid-Third Millennium BC)? .................... 113
Import, Imitation and Interaction: A Critical Review of the Chronology and
Signicance of Cross Footed Bowls of the Third Millennium BC in Southeastern
and Eastern Europe ............................................................................................................ 139
Multidisciplinary Contributions to the Study of Pit Grave Culture Kurgans
of the Great Hungarian Plain ............................................................................................. 153
Insights into the Transylvanian Early Bronze Age Using Strontium and Oxygen Isotope
Analyses: A Pilot Study ..................................................................................................... 181
The Signicance of Metallurgy at the Beginning of the Third Millennium BC
in the Carpathian Basin ..................................................................................................... 203
Uivar and Its Signicance for the Beginning of the Early Bronze Age
in the Romanian Banat ...................................................................................................... 233
“Nagyrév Jugs” and Their Archaeological Context .......................................................... 245
Bell Beaker Cemetery and Settlement at Szigetszentmiklós: First Results ...................... 287
Cultural Change and Animal Keeping: Case Study of a Neolithic, Copper Age and
Bronze Age Site near Budapest, Hungary ......................................................................... 319
Middle Bronze Age Beyond the Eastern Fringe of the Carpathian Basin ......................... 339
List of contributors ........................................................................................................................... 357
Multidisciplinary Contributions to the Study of Pit Grave Culture Kurgans
of the Great Hungarian Plain1
The aim of our paper is to provide analytical data to the multidisciplinary research of Pit Grave culture
kurgans of the Carpathian Basin. The data presented in the following have chronological, cultural,
environmental and anthropological implications. People of the Pit Grave culture inhabited the
Carpathian Basin during the Late Copper and Early Bronze Age. Radiocarbon dates of Pit Grave culture
kurgans and other contemporary cultures help to integrate this cultural complex in the prehistory of the
Carpathian Basin. Environmental data – from two archaeological sites – provide detailed information
on the environmental setting this culture lived in, and information on nutritional habits as well as burial
After having seen the groundbreaking publication of István Ecsedy's book about the theme (“The People
of the Pit Grave kurgans in Eastern Hungary”) in 1979, new excavations were made and new research
methods and results have emerged in the last 30 years. These facts, and a new approach concerning to
the formation of the European Early Bronze Age, have led us to a new summary of the topic. The short
case studies presented here complement previously published, more extended summaries on the topic
(e.g., Dani 2011; HorvátH 2011a; PetőBarczi [eds] 2011; Barczi et al. 2012).
The rst part of the paper gives an overview on the environmental and burial reconstruction of the
Hajdúnánás-Tedej-Lyukashalom kurgan (Fig. 4). Based on these, we formulate a preliminary hypothesis
on the possible annual migration patterns of the Pit Grave culture populations of the Carpathian Basin.
The second part of this contribution presents the stable isotope data gained from the primary burial
of the Tiszavasvári-Deákhalom kurgan (Fig. 5).
The third part gives an overview on the new magnetometric survey of Hajdúnánás-Tedej-
Szálláshalom, which is situated to the south of the Lyukashalom (Fig. 9).
In the fourth part, we aim give an overview on the absolute chronology of the kurgan burials and
compare these to the contemporary cultures (Baden, Makó and Nyírség) of the Carpathian Basin. An
attempt is made to integrate the radiocarbon dates in the relative chronological system of the prehistoric
Carpathian Basin. Suggestions are made on possible changes based on the result of this integration.
Besides, we attempt to harmonise the radiocarbon dates of kurgan burials of the Carpathian Basin with
the chronology of the North Pontic steppes and the spread of the Pit Grave culture to the Balkans and
to Central Europe.
Finally, a cultural and chronological system of the earliest steppe cultures of the Carpathian Basin
is developed on the basis of the new radiocarbon dates and archaeological nds, which is synchronized
with the existing chronological system.
1 This paper was an oral presentation at the EAA 2010 in The Hague, in the session “Transition to the Bronze
Age: Interregional Interaction and Socio-Cultural Change at the Beginning of the Third Millennium BC
in the Carpathian Basin and Surrounding Regions”. The presentation is available from the website: http://
Tünde Horváth – János Dani – Ákos Pető – Łukasz Pospieszny – Éva Svingor
Fig. 1. The territory of the Pit Grave culture in Hungary (by T. Horváth)
A short summary of the environmental and burial reconstruction
of Hajdúnánás-Tedej-Lyukashalom
The Hajdúnánás-Tedej-Lyukashalom kurgan was subjected to broad spectra of environmental analyses
(for details see Pető Barczi [eds] 2011), among them palaeobotanical ones. The palaeobotanical
analysis, which included phytolith and pollen recovery from the buried soil, the cultural layers of the
kurgan, as well as the primary burial aimed at reconstructing the environmental setting of the Pit Grave
population and the ritual of the primary burial. The results of the environmental reconstruction have been
discussed in detail earlier by Ákos Pető and Linda Scott Cummings (2011), Attila Barczi and Katalin Joó
(2011), Attila Csanádi and Tivadar M. Tóth (2011) and recently by A. Barczi and his colleagues (2012).
The detailed reconstruction of the primary burial is not entirely nished, thus preliminary data show
resemblance with the details of the environmental reconstruction.
The phytolith analysis of the Hajdúnánás-Tedej-Lyukashalom yielded data that reect a steppe-
dominated environment. Data derived from samples taken from the surface of the buried palaeosoil
undoubtedly support this theory, as its microfossil composition is dominated by steppeland indicators
Multidisciplinary Contributions to the Study of Pit Grave Culture Kurgans of the Great Hungarian Plain
Fig. 2. Environment of the Tiszavasvári and Hajdúnánás microregion in the Late Copper Age and Early Bronze
Age 1–3 periods (by T. Horváth) — Boleraz/Baden settlement: Wienerberger téglagyár; Baden settlements:
Kásaföld, Koldusdomb, Muszkadomb; Baden graves: Keresztfal, Paptelekhát; Baden (?) and Yamnaya graves:
Gyepáros; Yamnaya graves: Deákhalom I–II, Kashalom, Lyukashalom; Coţofeni nd: Lyukashalom; nd
with cord decoration: Koldusdomb; Makó settlement: Városföldje-Jegyzőtag; Nyírség settlements: Betepart,
Fejérszik, Gyepáros, Keresztfal, Muszkadomb, Nyugati főcsatorna, Paptelekhát, Utasér-part, Városföldje-
Jegyzőtag, Sanislău/Szaniszló: Dankó tanya, Végvár
(Petőcummings 2011, Fig. 3). The amount of arboreal detritus correlated with the total biomorph
content, and the occasional appearance (low percentage values) of phytolith morphotypes indicating
arboreal vegetation refer to a former grove, grassland vegetation with discrete tree species that may have
inhabited this part of the surrounding area, but did not form closed forest habitats (Barczi – golyeva
Pető 2009). Both the existence of closed forest vegetation and an open steppe land lacking any arboreal
species can be rejected. Palynological data give more precise insight to possible arboreal appearance in
the vicinity of the kurgan and its wider environment.
Arboreal species identied by pollen grains surviving in the buried soil can be grouped in order to
interpret their ecological information. Pinus sylvestris L., Picea abies L. Karsten, and Fagus sylvatica L. are
156 Tünde Horváth – János Dani – Ákos Pető – Łukasz Pospieszny – Éva Svingor
Fig. 3. Location of Pit Grave culture kurgans in the territory of Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Serbia and
Bulgaria. Within the territory of Hungary doubtful kurgan sites are marked with grey dots
(by T. Horváth)
Fig. 4. Visual reconstruction of the primary burial (Feature 2, Grave 1) of the Hajdúnánás-Tedej-Lyukashalom
kurgan (graphics by Viktor Szinyei)
Multidisciplinary Contributions to the Study of Pit Grave Culture Kurgans of the Great Hungarian Plain
Fig. 5. Tiszavasvári-Deákhalom, Kurgan II — 1: the site on the map of the Third Ordnance Survey,
2: groundplan of the kurgan, 3: drawing and 4: photo of Grave 6
158 Tünde Horváth – János Dani – Ákos Pető – Łukasz Pospieszny – Éva Svingor
all representatives of mountainous areas. As their pollen is distributed by aeolian process to long distances,
the appearance of these pollen grains are considered external, and give neither a local, nor a regional
signal. Furthermore, Pinus species can only be considered local if their pollen rate in the signal exceeds
25% (HuntleyBirks 1983), which was not met in this case (Petőcummings 2011, Fig. 4). A better
interpretation of regional ora can be made based on the appearance of Salix, Tilia, Ulmus, Moraceae
and Alnus genera. As the study site is, and has always been, in the closer environment of, although not
next to, the Tisza River, these taxa reect grove forests that inhabited the higher ood plain of lowland
river valleys. Plant associations, such as Fraxino pannonicae–Ulmetum, Senecio uviatilis–Populetum or
Leucojo aestivo–Salicetum can all be characterised to a greater or lesser extent by the identied taxa. The
amount of Quercus pollen exceeds 2.0% identifying it as a local element of the closer vicinity. In this case,
Quercus represents a transition between groves and forest steppes as it may be part of both. The so-called
shrub-effect in the samples is represented by the appearance of low amounts of Juniperus (typical of sandy
territories, such as the neighbouring Nyírség region), Berberidaceae and Corylus pollens.
Although the interpretation of arboreal taxa draws diverse scenery, it must be taken into account that
arboreal pollens are underrepresented in all of the samples. The examined samples were dominated by
non-arboreal herbaceous plants. Therefore, the local vegetational patterns should be interpreted based
on the phytolith and non-arboreal record.
The primary pattern of the territory is inuenced by the Gramineae and Asteraceae plant families
(Pető cummings 2011, Fig. 5). While arboreal pollen gave a good overview of the tree species
possibly inhabiting the kurgan’s wider surroundings, herbaceous pollens – combined with the phytolith
analytical results may give an insight of the local ora. Microterritorial vegetation differences can
be adjusted based on the rate of the Liguliorae sub-family and Gramineae family. Phytolith analysis
showed that the central territory of the kurgan was dominated by Gramineae species of (semi)arid steppe
vegetation, so Gramineae pollen can be accepted as an indicator of a former steppe, probably located
on a micro loess ridge. Liguliorea sub-family is considered as an indicator of a – probably periodically
– water-effected meadow mosaic. Based on the distribution of the above-mentioned indicators we may
reconstruct the territory of the kurgan as described below: the central part of the kurgan’s base was
probably inhabited by steppe vegetation (Gramineae), located on an arid loess ridge, whilst the ring, that
is the external skirt of the formation, was inhabited by species more likely to be related to water-effected
vegetation (Liguliorea) (see Petőcummings 2011, Fig. 6).
Besides the external arboreal pollens, there is one observation, which opens up questions related
to the reconstruction of the landscape. The presence of Nymphaea pollen (Pető cummings 2011,
Table 3) suggests the closeness of standing water either in the form of an abandoned meander of the river
Tisza or as a atland lake.
Possible evidence of plant cultivation in the closer environment of the kurgan is shown by cereal and
plough weed pollens found in most of the samples. The typical species of cereal cultivation of the Late
Copper and Early Bronze Age are Triticum, Hordeum and Pannicum (gyulai 2001).
Samples from the primary burial were subjected to pollen and phytolith analysis, whilst FT-IR was
applied in order to gain data on the circumstances and the possible date of the burial ritual.2
Samples taken from the ground surface of the primary burial are dominated by steppeland species. We
aimed at placing the time of burial in a calendar year by compiling a pollen calendar of the predominant
species recovered from the samples of the primary burial, based upon the theory that species that spread
their pollen grains later during the vegetational period will mark the possible date of the ritual. Since
the samples are dominated by Gramineae and Asteraceae pollen grains, the relative time of the burial
2 The Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR) and the pollen analysis were conducted by Melissa Logan
and Linda Scott Cummings at the PaleoResearch Institute, Golden, Colorado, USA.
Multidisciplinary Contributions to the Study of Pit Grave Culture Kurgans of the Great Hungarian Plain
can be placed between May and July (see red frame on Table 1). The only taxon that broadens this
time interval is the Artemisia genus, which starts to distribute its pollens at the turn of June/July. These
results however are only accepted as preliminary data, since we are aware that the method of identifying
annual burial time based on pollen distribution of the ground surface of the burial might have different
interpretations as well. At this point of the research, it is not possible to undoubtedly rely on the time
interval given by the pollen spectra, but we accept this outcome as guideline for a possible burial date.
FT-IR analyses were performed on soil samples collected from different locations from the base of
the grave (burial) and on a sample taken from the mat with red and black stripes (see also HorvátH
2011a, 108, Fig. 6). Samples collected from the side of the grave gave signals of galactoglucomannan
and rhamnogalacturonan. Galactoglucomannan is a primary component of the woody tissue of
coniferous plants (Gymnosperms) (BocHiccHio reicHer 2003). Rhamnogalacturonans are specic
pectic polysaccharides that reside in the cell walls of all land plants, and result from the degradation of
pectin (Willats et al. 2001). These peaks indicate the possible presence of wood in this area, however
it is difcult to assess, whether these signals are the result of secondary contamination, or they truly
represent wood material used for constructing the burial/grave.
Organic residues extracted from the mat decorated with red paint were tested for protein and organic
residues. Protein residue analysis yielded a weak positive to human on the leather fragment recovered
(cummingslogan 2009). This is possibly the result of association with the burial and decay of bodily
uids and tissues, rather than suggesting the origin of the leather. No other positive reactions were noted,
so it was not possible to identify the origin of the leather conclusively. The position of this leather or
skin within the burial might be crucial to answering this question. The organic residue signature for
the leather fragment included peaks representing the presence of absorbed water, fats/oils/lipids and/or
plant waxes, aromatic esters, aromatic rings, pectin, proteins including nucleic acids, and the amino acid
valine (cummings logan 2009). Valine, an essential amino acid, is represented in this sample by a
peak at 1451 wave numbers. Common dietary sources of valine include sh, poultry, and some legumes.
Matches with this signature were made with bird blood and humates. The presence of bird blood, which
is interpreted at a general level indicating animals, rather than at the specic level, indicates the presence
of animal proteins in the sample, which would be expected for leather. The FT-IR signatures for animal
bloods, including humans, are nearly identical, which makes it impossible to identify the specic species
or type of animal leather. Finding a match with animal blood does seem to support the possibility that
the sample represents a piece of leather; however, identication of raw protein using protein residue
analysis, which is based on immunological techniques, is the only method to identify specic animal
proteins, and conrm that the sample is a piece of leather. The match with humates probably indicates
the presence of the local environmental signature representing the deterioration of plant materials in the
sediments in which the leather fragment was buried.
February March April May June July August September October
Alnus sp.
Picea sp.
Pinus sp.
Quercus sp.
Salix sp.
Artemisia sp.
Corylus avellana L.
Table 1. Pollen calendar compiled based upon the pollen record of samples collected from the base burial at
Hajdúnánás-Tedej-Lyukashalom kurgan – dark gray elds indicate the main owering, whilst the light gray
elds the pre- and post-owering periods of the taxa listed in the pollen calendar
160 Tünde Horváth – János Dani – Ákos Pető – Łukasz Pospieszny – Éva Svingor
Based on the archaeological nds recovered at the Hajdúnánás-Tedej-Lyukashalom kurgan, the site
can be linked to the Pit Grave culture. Since the skeleton in the primary burial was disturbed, it is
difcult to identify more precisely the cultural afliation of the kurgan. Based on the way the skeleton
was lying, Pre-Pit Grave communities cannot be excluded, the radiocarbon dates, however, seem to
exclude this (younger than 3000 BC).
The kurgan was constructed in multiple steps (see also Barczi J 2011; csanáDi M. tótH
2011 for details). The feature – probably a grave – associated with the third cultural layer of the
construction was almost entirely robbed, we can only rely on radiocarbon dates gained from the layers
and the construction of the grave itself. Since the construction differs from the primary burial, we might
conclude that these belonged to different Pit Grave populations, however the radiocarbon dates suggest
that these populations appeared very close in time to each other at the location. The primary burial
and the one in the third cultural layer can be identied as either Pre-Pit Grave and Early Pit Grave or
Early Pit Grave and Late Pit Grave. The later concept is underlined by the absolute chronological dates.
Ceramic sherd fragments of Coţofeni III and Early Bronze Age cultures were recovered from the third
cultural layer. Moreover, the phenomenon of the burial process, namely that the person was rolled in
a mat composed of plant material and laid on the kurgan without any pit dug into the already existing
kurgan body, is a typical characteristic of Early Bronze Age cultures inuenced by Pit Grave effects
(ciuguDean 2011, 24).
Based on what we already know about the time of burial and the environment of the kurgan, it
might be concluded that the Hajdúság and the archaeological site could have been part of the summer
occupation and settling area of one of the westernmost Pit Grave populations of the Eurasian steppe belt.
Tiszavasvári-Deákhalom, Kurgan II
The Tiszavasvári-Deákhalom (II) kurgan is situated approximately 150 meters north-west of Hajdúnánás-
Tedej-Lyukashalom (Fig. 2). Several mounds and burials have been excavated here (Fig. 5) by the
archaeologists of the Jósa András Museum (Nyíregyháza, Hungary) (Dani 2011, 27–28).
Altogether six graves were found in kurgan II at Tiszavasvári-Deákhalom. The two most interesting
ones were selected for radiocarbon dating and stable isotope measurements. Grave 3 was a secondary
grave intersecting the original mound, and was dated generally to the Late Copper/Early Bronze Age. It
contained remains of an adult male, placed in a straight position on his back. The skeleton was equipped
with a hair-ring made of bronze wire. Grave 6 was dug in the palaeosoil buried under the formation.
However, it is not certain whether it was the primary burial of the mound or not, since it was located 14
meters from the geometric centre of the kurgan. An adult male was buried in straight position on his back
in a log “cofn”, and probably covered with animal skin or fur. No other grave goods were preserved.
Collagen samples were taken from single bones of both individuals, and have been subjected to
AMS 14C dating at the Poznań Radiocarbon Laboratory. The sample taken from a bone from Grave 6
was dated twice and sent to the Polish Geological Institute (National Research Institute in Warsaw) for
stable isotope analysis (δ15N and δ13C).
C:N values of both samples indicate a rather low degree of preservation of collagen. In case of
collagen from Grave 6 it signicantly exceeds the recommended interval (van klinken 1999; Bronk
ramsey 2004). The result of the dating from Grave 3 undermines its initial dating to the Early Bronze
Age, placing it between 11th and 12th century AD (Table 2, Fig. 6). For the human collagen sample from
Grave 6 two radiocarbon determinations were obtained. As they relate to the same event they were
combined together for calibration. At 95.4% probability from the Bayesian model the burial dates to
3091–2926 cal BC, with the mean age of 3011 cal BC (Table 2, Fig. 7).
Multidisciplinary Contributions to the Study of Pit Grave Culture Kurgans of the Great Hungarian Plain
Stable isotopes ratios in humans’ bone collagen are related to the protein part of their diet (amBrose
1993). The δ13C value in a consumer’s bone collagen is approximately 5‰ more positive than the dietary
source. The δ15N value expresses the trophic level of the consumer and is enriched by approximately 3‰.
For a better understanding of the results received for Grave 6 of Tiszavasvári-Deákhalom II, they were
compared with the published data set obtained for human and animal bones from the Early and Middle
Chalcolithic of the Great Hungarian Plain. These reference samples were obtained from the cemetery of
Tiszapolgár-Basatanya, from Phase I of the Tiszapolgár culture and from Phase II, which is related to the
Bodrogkeresztúr culture, and from the Bodrogkeresztúr culture cemetery at Magyarhomorog (giBlin
2011, Appendix A).
Julia Giblin concluded earlier in her study that the investigated Chalcolithic populations consumed
terrestrial plants and animals. Fish and millet (or other type of C4 plants) did not constitute a substantial
part of their diet (giBlin 2011, 272). Relatively high δ15N values indicate that a signicant portion of
the protein in their diet came from animals (meat and dairy products). The δ15N value of the sample of
Tiszavasvári-Deákhalom was higher in relation to the comparative series. It is plausible, therefore that,
the diet of the investigated individual relied largely on animal derived protein (HeDges reynarD
2007, 1248) excluding sh (see Bonsall et al. 1997, 77, Fig. 8). Hence, the assumed offset of the
radiocarbon age due to freshwater reservoir effect (lantingvan Der PlicHt 1998) is insignicant.
The isotopic signal possibly reects a subsistence strategy similar to pastoralism (Fig. 8).
The evaluation of the analytical dates connects Grave 6 of Tiszavasvári-Deákhalom II with its
particular burial rite and relatively early radiocarbon dates to the Pre-Pit Grave Kvityana culture.
Fig. 6. Calibrated age probability distributions for the individuals from Tiszavasvári-Deákhalom II kurgan
No. Lab. ID BP SD Sample 68.2% (1σ) 95.4% (2σ) μ C
%C:N δ13C
39208 935 30 metacarpal
bone 1038–1153 1025–1164 1098 9.6 2.5 3.84
39209 4350 40
frontal bone
3012–2910 3090–2894 2977
4.2 0.9 4.67 –20.4 12.7
40857 4430 30 3307–2944 3326–2926 3098
Table 2. Radiocarbon and stable isotopes results for the individuals from Tiszavasvári-Deákhalom II kurgan
162 Tünde Horváth – János Dani – Ákos Pető – Łukasz Pospieszny – Éva Svingor
Fig. 7. Calibrated probability distributions
of the combined radiocarbon dates
of Grave 6 from Tiszavasvári-Deákhalom II
Fig. 8. Isotopic ratios in human bone collagen of the individuals from the Early and Middle
Chalcolithic cemeteries on the Great Hungarian Plain (after Giblin 2011) and Grave 6
from Tiszavasvári-Deákhalom II kurgan
Multidisciplinary Contributions to the Study of Pit Grave Culture Kurgans of the Great Hungarian Plain
Hajdúnánás-Tedej-Szálláshalmi dűlő
1500 meter south-west from Hajdúnánás-Tedej-Lyukashalom, in the Hajdúnánás-Tedej-Szálláshalmi
dűlő, a eld survey was conducted in 2010. Two natural and/or articial mounds were identied in the
close vicinity of each other. At the so-called Kis-Szálláshalom a geophysical survey was conducted in
order to identify if it is a destroyed kurgan or not (Fig. 9).
The Hajdúnánás–Tiszavasvári microregion was densely inhabited in the Late Copper Age (3600–
2800 BC) and during the transitional period between Late Copper Age and Early Bronze Age (2800–
2600 BC). In the Early Bronze Age 1–3 periods (2600–2000/1900 BC), a dense network of sites existed
here (Fig. 2). Baden-Viss type sites (settlement traces and extramural or intramural graves) were
noticed in seven cases; Coţofeni sherds as stray nds in one; Pre-Pit Grave/Pit-Grave kurgan sites in
approximately 50 (many were destroyed by modern agricultural practice); a cord decorated sherd as
stray nd in one; a Makó site in one; Nyírség sites (burials and settlement traces) in nine and Sanislău
settlements in two cases.
The potential kurgan at Kis-Szálláshalom is marked on the topographical map and has been conrmed
by a eld survey in the spring of 2010. Precise elevation measurements and geophysical survey were
applied on a selected part of the site to identify burial pits, as well as the size and the state of preservation
of the mound.
Magnetometry was chosen for the geophysical survey (asPinall gaffney scHmiDt 2008).
This method is designed to measure the anomalies in the Earth’s magnetic eld, caused by near-surface
layers and archaeological features of enhanced magnetic susceptibility. The anomalies are initiated by
remnant and induced magnetisation. These processes relate to objects made of metal, bricks, decaying
or burnt organic materials (humus, wood, plants, bodies of animals and humans), ferromagnetic rocks,
etc. The measurements were made with a Bartington Fluxgate Grad 601-1 magnetometer, in a parallel
mode. Twenty-ve data grids (20.0×20.0 m each), covering an area of 10,000 m2, were surveyed. The
data was processed in the Geoplot 3.0 application.
No clear magnetic anomalies related to the kurgan burial mound were registered. However, a complex
structure of settlement or causewayed enclosure features (ditch, palisade?) were discovered (on the basis
of the material found on the surface it is identied as a multi-component Middle and Late Neolithic, and
Early Copper Age tell(?)/enclosed-settlement with LBK, Esztár and Tiszapolgár potsherds).
In the Upper Tisza region, there are some sites, where antecedent Neolithic and Early Copper Age
cultures are connected to the Pit Grave kurgan sites in the same time interval. This phenomenon can
probably be seen at the Kis-Szálláshalom site as well: all detected prehistoric cultures need high places
close to water for settling. Neolithic traces were excavated under the kurgan sites of Hajdúnánás-Tedej-
Lyukashalom (Mesolithic animal bones and uncharacteristic Neolithic potsherds, Tiszavasvári-Deákhalom
II (Tiszadob culture, Middle Neolithic), in the palaeosoil of Tiszavasvári-Gyepáros, and at the eld survey
at Hajdúnánás-Zöldhalom and Nagy-Vidi halom. Such phenomena also occurred at some of the kurgan
sites in the Hortobágy region as well (Hortobágy-Halászlaponyag, -Papegyháza: old excavations).
Absolute and relative chronology
According to the Hungarian chronology, nomads of the Eurasian steppes reached the eastern part of the
Carpathian Basin between the Middle/Late Copper Age and the Early Bronze Age. The following tables
give a summary of the radiocarbon dates that were obtained from nds of steppe and contemporary
cultures inhabiting the Carpathian Basin. Based on the radiocarbon dates, the steppe cultures could
be divided on a chronological and cultural basis. This division was harmonised with the Hungarian
prehistoric terminology (Tables 3–4, 6).
164 Tünde Horváth – János Dani – Ákos Pető – Łukasz Pospieszny – Éva Svingor
Fig. 9. Hajdúnánás-Tedej-Kis-Szálláshalom and Nagy-Szálláshalom — 1–2: location of the sites,
3: plot of results of magnetometric prospection, 4: plot of results of magnetometric survey overimposed
on digital elevation model
Multidisciplinary Contributions to the Study of Pit Grave Culture Kurgans of the Great Hungarian Plain
Labor ID Name of the archaeological site Cultural afliation Type of the sample BP calibrated BC
(1 σ, 68.2%)
Poz-41865 Csongrád-Kettőshalom Steppe Ochre Graves
Period I
human bone
Grave 1 5470 ± 40 4370–4239
Poz-39466 Tiszavasvári-Gyepáros Early Pit Grave
Period III
human bone
Grave 6 4355 ± 35 3020–2910
Poz-40857 Tiszavasvári-Deákhalom Pre-Pit Grave/Kvityana
Period II
human bone
Grave 6
4350 ± 40
4430 ± 30
Poz-31637 Hajdúnánás-Tedej-Lyukashalom Pre/Early Pit Grave Period
charred plant material
Feature 1 4270 ± 40 2920–2870
Poz-31405 Hajdúnánás-Tedej-Lyukashalom Early/Late Pit Grave Period
human bone
Grave 1, Feature 2 4210 ± 35 2900–2700
Poz-39464 Hajdúszoboszló-Árkushalom Early Pit Grave
Period III
animal bone
sacricial feasting,
O. 331
4385 ± 35 3080–2920
Poz-39461 Balmazújváros-Hortobágy-Árkus-
Early Pit Grave
Period III
human bone
kurgan grave 4320 ± 35 3010–2890
Poz-39561 Hortobágy-Ohat-Dunahalom Early Pit Grave
Period III
human bone
kurgan grave 4030 ± 35 2580–2480
Poz-42726 Püspökladány-Kincsesdomb
Pre-Pit Grave/Lower
Period II
soil material
from double burial of
Grave 3
7340 ± 40 6250–6100
Poz-42724 Püspökladány-Kincsesdomb Early Pit Grave
Period III
human bone
Grave 1 4215 ± 35 2900–2710
Poz-42725 Püspökladány-Kincsesdomb Late Pit Grave
Period IV/V?
human bone
Grave 2,
Carbonate contant
3730 ± 35 2200–2040
Poz-39454 Kunhegyes-Nagyálláshalom Early Pit Grave
Period III
human bone
Grave 14 4075 ± 35 2840–2490
Poz-39456 Kunhegyes-Nagyálláshalom Early Pit Grave
Period III
human bone
Grave 18 4195 ± 35 2890–2700
Bln-609 Kétegyháza-Törökhalom
Kurgan 3
Early Pit Grave
Period III
human bone
Grave 4 4265 ± 80 3020–2690
deb-6869 Sárrétudvari-Őrhalom Pre/Early Pit Grave
Period II/III?
human bone
Grave 12 4520 ± 40 3350–3110
Poz-39563 Sárrétudvari-Őrhalom Early Pit Grave
Period III
charred plant material
Grave 8 4530 ± 60 3360–3100
deb-6639 Sárrétudvari-Őrhalom Early Pit Grave
Period III
human bone
Grave 10 4350 ± 40 3020–2910
deb-7182 Sárrétudvari-Őrhalom Late Pit Grave
Period IV
human bone
Grave 4 4135 ± 60 2870–2520
deb-6871 Sárrétudvari-Őrhalom Late Pit Grave
Period IV
human bone
Grave 9 4060 ± 50 2840–2490
Poz-39467 Tiszavasvári-Wienerberger Téglagyár Baden-Viss surviving
in the EBA
animal bone from pit
Feature 459 3860 ± 50 2457–2235
Poz-39470 Tiszavasvári-Wienerberger Téglagyár Baden-Viss animal bone from pit
Feature 501 4450 ± 35 3322–3025
Poz-39562 Tiszavasvári-Wienerberger Téglagyár Baden-Viss animal bone from pit
Feature 502 4405 ± 35 3091–2933
Poz-31799 Berettyóújfalu-Nagy-Bócs dűlő Baden animal bone from pit
Feature 2006/Str.4251 4480 ± 40 3332–3096
Poz-31805 Berettyóújfalu-Nagy-Bócs dűlő Baden animal bone from pit
Feature 1989/4234 4505 ± 35 3338–3106
Poz-31798 Berettyóújfalu-Nagy-Bócs dűlő Makó animal bone from pit
Feature 82/353 3990 ± 30 2566–2473
Poz-31800 Berettyóújfalu-Nagy-Bócs dűlő Makó animal bone from pit
Feature 152/603 3955 ± 35 2566–2351
Poz-31803 Berettyóújfalu-Nagy-Bócs dűlő Makó animal bone from pit
Feature 824/1889 3970 ± 40 2570–2461
Poz-31804 Berettyóújfalu-Nagy-Bócs dűlő Makó animal bone from pit
Feature 1922/4212 3940 ± 35 2548–2348
Poz-31801 Debrecen-Szennyvíztelep Makó human bone
Grave 479/617 3955 ± 35 2566–2351
Poz-39462 Hajdúnánás-Feketehalom Nyírség human bone
Grave 32/51 3710 ± 30 2190–2037
Poz-39463 Hajdúnánás-Feketehalom Nyírség human bone
Grave 36/62 3740 ± 30 2201–2053
Table 3. Radiocarbon dates of Pit Grave culture (Pit Grave) kurgans from the territory of Hungary and new
radiocarbon dates of contemporary cultures – * dates typeset with italic yielded younger or older dates and
probably need correction
166 Tünde Horváth – János Dani – Ákos Pető – Łukasz Pospieszny – Éva Svingor
Fig. 11. Calibrated probability distributions
of the radiocarbon dates of Grave 8 and 12
from Sárrétudvari-Őrhalom and their combined calibration
Unfortunately, not too much is known about the life and economy of the steppe cultures that inhabited
the Carpathian Basin in the examined time interval.
Differences in nutrition and nutrition sources (e.g. the ratio of terrestrial and aquatic species), the use
of space along rivers and their tributaries all play an important role in the interpretation and correctness
of the radiocarbon dates. These circumstances make it difcult to assess the effects that might have
altered the archaeological nds that were subjected to radiocarbon dating (sHisHlina et al. 2007). These
environmental effects multiply each other in case of group calibration, and may result in a 300 to 500
years variation. To avoid these alternations, we have been using raw data (Table 4, Fig. 10).
The widest time interval was detected for the Sárrétudvari-Őrhalom kurgan. The two oldest
radiocarbon dates derive from this kurgan as well: sample deb-6869 from Grave 12 and sample Poz-
39563 from Grave 8. The age of these are basically the same, so they can be combined (Fig. 11).
Table 4. Calibrated radiocarbon age
of Pit Grave culture kurgans
Fig. 10. Calibrated age probability distributions for
the individuals from Pit Grave culture kurgans
Sample code cal BC 1s
cal BC 2s
95.4% m
R_Date Poz-39563 3360–3100 3500–3020 3225
R_Date deb-6869 3350–3110 3370–3090 3220
R_Date Poz-39464 3080–2920 3100–2900 3005
R_Date Poz-39466 3020–2910 3090–2890 2975
R_Date Poz-39209 3020–2910 3090–2890 2975
R_Date deb-6639 3020–2910 3090–2890 2975
R_Date Poz-39461 3010–2890 3030–2880 2945
R_Date Poz-31637 2920–2870 3020–2700 2885
R_Date Bln-609 3020–2690 3100–2580 2865
R_Date Poz-42724 2900–2710 2910–2670 2800
R_Date Poz-31405 2900–2700 2910–2670 2795
R_Date Poz-39456 2890–2700 2900–2660 2780
R_Date deb-7182 2870–2620 2890–2500 2720
R_Date Poz-39454 2840–2500 2860–2490 2645
R_Date deb-6871 2840–2490 2870–2470 2630
R_Date Poz-39561 2580–2480 2840–2470 2555
The age of two bone samples collected from two different sites in the vicinity of Tiszavasvári
(Tiszavasvári-Gyepáros and Tiszavasvári-Deákhalom II, Grave 6), were found to be identical, although
they derive from different cultural contexts (Tiszavasvári-Deákhalom II: Pre-Pit Grave/Kvityana,
Multidisciplinary Contributions to the Study of Pit Grave Culture Kurgans of the Great Hungarian Plain
Tiszavasvári-Gyepáros: Pit Grave). The same age interval was measured for a sample collected from
Grave 10 at Sárrétudvari-Őrhalom, therefore the combined calibration of the three samples seems logical
(Fig. 12).
Fig. 13. Calibrated probability distributions
of the radiocarbon dates of Grave 6 from Tiszavasvári-
Deákhalom, Grave 10 from Sárrétudvari-Őrhalom,
Balmazújváros-Hortobágy-Árkus-Kettőshalom and
Hajdúszoboszló-Árkushalom kurgans and a possible
combined calibration
Samples from Hajdúszoboszló-Árkushalom (Poz-39464) and Balmazújváros-Hortobágy-Árkus-
Kettőshalom (Poz-39461) gave similar distribution curves (Fig. 13).
The above listed 5 samples can be combined, because statistically their age is the same at a probability
of 95% (Student’s test), and they can be dated to 3010–2910 cal BC at 1σ probability, to 3020–2910 cal
BC at 2σ probability.
Fig. 12. Calibrated probability distributions
of the radiocarbon dates of Grave 6 from Tiszavasvári-
Deákhalom and Grave 10 from Sárrétudvari-Őrhalom
and their combined calibration
Similar probability distributions were gained for the following samples: plant material of the
secondary burial (Poz-31637) and human bone (Poz-31405) found at Hajdúnánás-Tedej-Lyukashalom;
human bones excavated from Grave 4 in Kurgan 3 at Kétegyháza-Törökhalom (Bln-609), Püspökladány-
Kincsesdomb (Poz-42724) and Grave 18 at Kunhegyes-Nagyálláshalom (Poz-39456). Therefore, their
combination can be done as well (Fig. 14).
These 5 samples can be combined, because statistically their age is the same at a probability of 95%
(Student’s test), and they can be dated to 2900–2770 cal BC at 1σ probability, to 2900–2710 cal BC at
2σ probability.
The youngest sample (Poz-39561) derives from Hortobágy-Ohat-Dunahalom. The two relatively
young samples come from Sárrétudvari-Őrhalom (deb-6871 from Grave 9) and from Kunhegyes-
Nagyálláshalom (Poz-39454 from Grave 14). The forth sample from Sárrétudvari-Őrhalom Grave 4
(deb-7182), is a bit older but because of its larger SD, the difference is irrelevant. The four samples can
168 Tünde Horváth – János Dani – Ákos Pető – Łukasz Pospieszny – Éva Svingor
Fig. 14. Calibrated probability distributions of the radiocarbon dates of the samples
from Hajdúnánás-Tedej-Lyukashalom, Kétegyháza-Törökhalom, Püspökladány-Kincsesdomb and
Kunhegyes-Nagyálláshalom kurgans and a possible combined calibration
Fig. 15. Calibrated probability distributions
of the radiocarbon dates of the samples from
Hortobágy-Ohat-Dunahalom, Sárrétudvari-Őrhalom and
Grave 14 of Kunhegyes-Nagyálláshalom and a possible
combined calibration
be combined, because statistically their age is the same at a probability of 95% (Student’s test), and they
can be dated to 2630–2490 cal BC at 1σ probability, to 2840–2480 cal BC at 2σ probability (Fig. 15).
The last two sample groups cannot be separated at 2σ level (2900–2710 cal BC and 2840–2480 cal
BC respectively). At the same time – based on Student’s test – the nine samples are not identical, so they
cannot be combined.
We must stress, however, that the above presented clustering was only based on the statistical
evaluation of the radiocarbon dates. The grouping does not reect the cultural context of the samples
in every case. These anomalies were dissolved by the overlapping of the periods and the partial
co-appearance of different steppe cultures in space and time in the Carpathian Basin. Moreover, we are
aware that the consistent and rigorous insistence to the radiocarbon dates themselves would be a similar
mistake like a preconception that would neglect scientic measurements. The groups that are shown in
Table 5 and Fig. 16 therefore only represent a working hypothesis that was formulated on the basis of
our current knowledge and data.
Next to the determined T test values the numbers in brackets indicate the maximum T test values for
the conformity of data at a probability of 95%. The combinations are (Fig. 16):
R_Combine 1: Poz-39563, deb-6869
R_Combine 2: Poz-39464, Poz-39466, Poz-39461, Poz-39209, deb-6639
R_Combine 3: Poz-31631, Bln-609, Poz-42724, Poz-31405, Poz-39456
R_Combine 4: deb-7182, Poz-39454, deb-6871, Poz-39561
Multidisciplinary Contributions to the Study of Pit Grave Culture Kurgans of the Great Hungarian Plain
Table 5. Combined radiocarbon age of Pit Grave kurgans
Periods for the steppe cultures
Period I – Steppe Ochre Grave, until 4000 BC
On Great Hungarian Plain the single burial at Csongrád-Kettőshalom – n.b. not a kurgan burial! –should
be rather identied as Steppe Ochre Grave culture. Its estimated date is based on the contemporary
Marosdécse burials: 4200–4100 cal BC (goveDarica 2004, 71), parallel with the Middle Copper Age
Bodrogkeresztúr culture (ecseDy 1979, 12).
The recently obtained radiocarbon data of the Csongrád-Kettőshalom grave is 4370–4240 cal BC,
in good correlation with other Steppe Ochre Grave data (goveDarica 2004), but a little bit earlier then
the Middle Copper Age.
In Eastern Europe this is the period of the Early Eneolithic (4550–4100/4000 BC) of the Eurasian
steppe region. The period of the Khvalynsk and Skelya cultures is contemporaneous with the Cucuteni
A-Tripolye B1 phase (which populations played a signicant role in the mediation between the steppe and
agricultural communities). Moreover, it is analogous with the Romanian Aldeni-Bolgrad and Bulgarian
Varna cultures (HigHam et al. 2007), whose prosperity is identied with the elite of the Skelya culture.
There is a so-called steppe-hiatus between the early and middle phase of the Eneolithic between
4100/4000–3800/3700 BC (rassamakin 1999, Table 3. 2).
The Middle Eneolithic Period of the Eurasian steppes (3800/3700–3500/3400 BC) can be
characterized by the Cucuteni B-Tripolye B2-C1 Phase (Tomashevo, Zhvanetsk, Kosenovo groups, and
the so-called Scheibenhenkel horizon, and in the east by the Lower Mikhailovka, Kvityana, Dereivka,
Pivikha, Repin and Maikop cultures.
In the Carpathian Basin, the Early Eneolithic, the steppe-hiatus and the Middle Eneolithic Period is
identied as the Early and Middle Copper Age, with the Tiszapolgár, Bodrogkeresztúr, Hunyadihalom,
Lažňany, Ludanice, Balaton-Lasinja and Furchenstich cultures.
Csongrád-Kettőshalom ts rather to the beginning of the Middle Copper Age horizon, and most
probably arrived into the Carpathian Basin as an early wave of the eastern Early Eneolithic populations,
which can be described as the transition period of the Early and Middle Copper Age (see Bodrogkeresztúr
cemetery at Rákóczifalva-Bagi föld: 4334–4075 cal BC; csányi – tárnoki – raczky 2008).
Group cal BC 1s, 68.2% cal BC 2s, 95.4% m T test
R_Combine 1 3360–3110 3360–3090 3220 0 (3.8)
R_Combine 2 3010–2910 3020–2910 2960 1.7 (9.5)
R_Combine 3 2890–2770 2900–2700 2830 2.5 (9.5)
R_Combine 4 2630–2490 2840–2480 2580 2.5 (7.8)
Fig. 16. Combine group-calibration
of Pit Grave kurgans
170 Tünde Horváth – János Dani – Ákos Pető – Łukasz Pospieszny – Éva Svingor
Table 6. Relative and absolute chronology of the Late Copper Age and Early Bronze Age of the Carpathian Basin
(“?” means sites, cultures and periods/ages are in uncertain chronological position, with uncertain absolute
dates, or without correct, modern 14C dates. Hungarian Bronze Age dates are from RaczkyHeRtelendi
VeRes 1994: conventional radiocarbon dates)
Time period
Name of the Age or Period
(Hungarian and neighbouring
territory: MaRan 1998;
todoRoVa 2002)
in Transdanubia east of the Danube
4000–3600 BC
End of the Middle Copper Age
Ludanice and Balaton-Lasinja,
mixed with Furchenstich
dates: Balatonőszöd-Temetői dűlő:
HorvátH 2011b; and 3980–3800 cal BC,
Vörs-Máriaasszonysziget, deb-12188:
meDziHraDszky et al. 2009, 24, Table 1
Ludanice, Lažňany, Bodrogkeresztúr,
Hunyadihalom, and Balaton-Lasinja,
mixed with Furchenstich
dates: Abony 49: raJna 2011; Szihalom
(Ludanice): WilD et al. 2001, Table 1
3600–2800 BC
Late Copper Age
Jung- und Spätkupferzeit
Late Neolithic
Bronzezeit (from 3100 BC after
Early Helladic and ETh (from
3100 BC)
Boleráz (3600–3400 BC)
Boleráz/Baden (3400–3000 BC)
Baden (3400–2800 BC)
Kostolac (3350–2800 BC)
Early Vučedol? (3500?–2900/2800 BC)
dates: Balatonőszöd-Temetői dűlő, and
Benkő et al. 1989; PetrovićJovanović
2002; Balen 2005, 2011
Boleraz (3600–3400 BC)
Boleraz/Baden? (3400–3000 BC)
Baden (3400–2800 BC)
Coţofeni III (3000–2800 BC)
Kostolac? (3350–2700 BC)
Pre-Pit Grave/Pit Grave (3350–2800 BC)
dates: Balatonőszöd-Temetői dűlő, Benkő et al.
1989; forenBaHer 1993; ciuguDean 2000;
staDler et al. 2001
2800–2600 BC
Transition between LCA and
Early Bronze Age
Early Helladic I
Early Helladic II from
2700/2600 BC
Baden (2800–2600 BC)
Vučedol? (2800–2600 BC)
Early Makó?
Late Kostolac (2880–2670 cal BC, Vörs-
Máriaaszonysziget, deb-12763, unpublished,
pers. comm. of K. T. Biró)
Somogyvár-Vinkovci (2750–2580 cal BC,
Vörs-Máriaasszonysziget, deb-12180,
meDziHraDszky et al. 2009, 24, Table 1)
Baden (2800–2600 BC)
Pit Grave (2800–2600 BC)
Early Makó?
2600–2500 BC
Early Bronze Age 1
Early Helladic II
Early Bronze Age
Baden (2600–2500 BC)
Early Makó?
Late Vučedol? (2600–2500 BC)
Somogyvár-Vinkovci (2750–2580 cal BC,
Vörs-Máriaasszonysziget, deb-12180,
meDziHraDszky et al. 2009, 24, Table 1:
the date is uncertain, it may belong to the
Kostolac period)
Baden (2600–2500 BC)
Early Makó (2600–2500 BC)
Pit Grave (2600–2500 BC)
2500–2300 BC
Early Bronze Age 2a
Reinecke Bz A0-1
Early Helladic II
Baden (2500–2300 BC)
Makó (2470–2300 BC; kőváriPatay
Proto-Nagyrév/Early Nagyrév? (2570–2340
cal BC, e.g. Bln-1649: Bölcske-Vörösgyír)
Somogyvár-Vinkovci (kalafatić 2006;
Vinkovci, KIA-29563)
Bell Beaker (2500–2300 BC)
Baden (2500–2300 BC)
Makó (2500–2300 BC)
Pit Grave (2500–2470 BC)
2300–2200 BC
Early Bronze Age 2b
Reinecke Bz A0-2 or transition
between A0/A1
Early Helladic II
EBA/MBA transition
Late Makó (2300–2200 BC; kőváriPatay
Bell Beaker (2300–2200 BC)
Early Nagyrév?
Baden (2300–2200 BC)
Maros (from 2270 BC, P. fiscHlkulcsár 2011,
Table 3)
Early Nagyrév (2290–2050 cal BC, e.g., Bln-
1987: Tószeg-Laposhalom)
Late Makó?
2200–2000 BC
Early Bronze Age 3
Reinecke Bz A1
Early Helladic III
Middle Bronze Age
Makó (2200–2130 BC; kőváriPatay
Bell Beaker (2200–2000 BC)
Classic Nagyrév?
Somogyvár-Vinkovci – Proto-Kisapostag
(2100–2000 BC; meDziHraDszky et al.
2009, Table 1: deb-11965, 12542, 12388,
12390, 12547)
Nyírség (2200–2030 BC)
Classic Nagyrév (raczky–HertelenDi–veres
Early Hatvan (raczky–HertelenDi–veres 1994)
Early Maros (P. fiscHl–kulcsár 2011, Table 3)
Early Ottomány (2025–1910 cal BC e.g., Bln-
1642: Gáborján-Csapszékpart)
2000–1900 BC
Transition between EBA and
Reinecke Bz A2
Middle Bronze Age
Middle Helladic
Bell Beaker (2000–1900 BC)
Proto-Nagyrév (2010–1910 cal BC; deb-
10117, endrődiPásztor 2006)
Somogyvár-Vinkovci (2000–1900 BC;
DirJec 1991, Z-1934: Blatna Brezovica)
Nagyrév/Vatya? (2035–1925 cal BC; e.g.,
Bln-1646: Bölcske-Vörögyír)
Late Nagyrév?
Hatvan (1925–1770 cal BC, e.g., Bln-1844:
Multidisciplinary Contributions to the Study of Pit Grave Culture Kurgans of the Great Hungarian Plain
Period II – Pre-Pit Grave, 3400/3350–3300/3000–2750 cal BC
The cultures of the Late Eneolithic Period in the Eurasian steppe belt (3500/3400–3000/2900 cal BC)
are late Repin, late Konstantinovka, Novosvobodnaja, late Kvityana, late Dereivka and late Lower
Mikhailovka cultures, Tripolye C2 (with the Soevka, Kasperovo/Gordinesti, Gorodsk, Usatovo
groups), and with the “Badenization process”, together with the local groups at the Dnieper-South-Bug
region, Kemi-Oba communities. The emergence of the Pit Grave culture can be dated in this period,
which is partly contemporaneous with the Boleráz, respectively the Cernavodă III, and the classical
Baden, dating to a bit thereafter. More or less it is the Late Copper Age in the Hungarian prehistory.
The earliest kurgan graves of the Great Hungarian Plain can be classied as Pre-Pit Grave (syn. Pre-
Yamnaya) horizons (Sárrétudvari-Őrhalom, Grave 12; Dani M. nePPer 2006; K. zoffmann 2006;
Tiszavasvári-Deákhalom, Grave 6/Kvityana; Püspökladány-Kincsesdomb, Grave 3/Lower Mikhailovka,
and perhaps Hajdúnánás-Tedej-Lyukashalom, Grave 1).
An overlap with this period appears with the earliest Pit Grave: the earliest, primary phase of Pit
Grave kurgans with multiple depositions (Kétegyháza-Törökhalom, Kurgan 3, Grave 6, some Pit Grave
ochre-graves in the Hortobágy region, e.g. Hortobágy-Árkus, which all lack grave deposits, and also
those burials with grave chambers lined with some organic material). Differentiated from Period I, this
phase might be identied as a Pre-Pit Grave horizon, and dated on the basis of the burials at Sárrétudvari
and Tiszavasvári between: 3400/3350–3300/3000–2750 cal BC.
Period III – Early Pit Grave, 3300/3100–2900/2600 cal BC
In the Eurasian steppe region this is the period of the Early Bronze Age, which corresponds with the
Early Pit Grave horizon, with the surviving Pre-Pit Grave groups (Usatovo), and dates from 3300/3100–
3000/2600 cal BC.
At the Great Hungarian Plain the youngest period of multi-phase kurgans, moreover, the burials
with timber-construction, but no or poor grave deposits can be linked to this period. This horizon can
be identied and with the end of the Late Copper Age–Early Bronze Age transitional period, including
the Late (and surviving) Baden/Coţofeni IIIa, b culture. This might be called Early Pit Grave Horizon.
This period can be dated between 3300/3100 and 2900/2600 cal BC, overlapping with Period II. Our
opinion is that Hajdúnánás-Tedej-Lyukashalom, Tiszavasvári-Gyepáros, Sárrétudvari-Őrhalom Graves
8 and 10, Kétegyháza-Törökhalom, Kurgan 3, Grave 4 and some graves from the Hortobágy region
(Balmazújváros-Kárhozotthalom) are part of this time span.
Period IV – Late Pit Grave with strong Catacomb inuences, 2900/2800–2500/2400 cal BC
The Early Bronze Age in the Eurasian steppes, which is the Late Pit Grave horizon, and simultaneous
with the Catacomb entity, can be dated between 2800/2700–2100/2000 cal BC.
On the Great Hungarian Plain the latest, third construction phase of the kurgans, and, this is the time
frame when rich metal depositions and Early Bronze Age ceramic sets appear in kurgan burials. It is
contemporary with the Period I of the Early Bronze Age, and includes the surviving Baden, Vučedol,
Makó-Kosihy-Čaka, early Somogyvár-Vinkovci, Glina-Schneckenbeg A, Coţofeni IIIc-Livezile
cultures, and can be dated to 2900/2800–2500/2400 cal BC, according to the radiocarbon dates of
Nezsider/Neusiedl am See, Velika Gruda, and the second building phase of the Sárrétudvari kurgan.
In contrast to former theories, we assume that the Catacomb culture – one of the later waves from
the Eurasian steppes – did not exist as a discrete tribe on the territory of the Carpathian Basin. Although
172 Tünde Horváth – János Dani – Ákos Pető – Łukasz Pospieszny – Éva Svingor
the late Pit Grave horizon shows similarities with the graves of the Polish Corded Ware culture that are
found under mounds as well, it cannot be classied as Catacomb culture.3
The afuent arsenic bronze and gold grave goods, the secondary burials in the kurgans, and
the arrangement along the outer circle can be a Catacomb inuence; however, all these features are
represented in the late Pit Grave culture as well. Besides, the contemporaneity as well as the combination
of the two cultures has earlier been proved in the northwest Pontic area. Because of this phenomenon we
might denominate this fourth phase as Late Pit Grave horizon with strong Catacomb inuence.
On the basis of the AMS dates, the graves of Ohat-Dunahalom and Kunhegyes-Nagyálláshalom can
be dated to this period, despite the conservative outlook of the burial rite.
Period V – Late Pit Grave effect, 2500/2400–2200/2000 cal BC
It can be presumed that this period enters into the second phase of the Early Bronze Age: Nyírség
skeleton graves beside Hajdúnánás-Feketehalom, Somogyvár-Vinkovci type barrow burials, Eastern
Slovakian mounds with Nyírség type pottery, all dated to the same period as the emergence of the Bell
Beaker culture and the Proto-Nagyrév culture (see Bóna 1994), without the real ethnic presence of the
Pit Grave peoples.4 The study period is an excellent example to illustrate how contemporary cultures
unite: in the Budapest region it is nearly impossible to differentiate the Bell Beaker-Early Nagyrév-
Makó cultures: both settlements and burials are documented as a special mixture (kalicz-scHreiBer
kalicz 1998–2000).5
The settling steppe communities in Period II and III can be identied with mixed cultural entities
of the Pit Grave culture, and the strongly Tripolye C2-Usatovo stimulated Pre-Pit Grave Kvityana and
Lower Mikhailovka groups, arriving from the Pontic area to the territory of the Great Hungarian Plain.
The direction of the migration led from Moldova,6 through the passes of the Carpathian Mountains and
along the main waterways such as the valleys of the Berettyó, Maros/Mureş, and stopped at the line of
the Tisza River.7
In Period IV(/V) intercultural connections with local cultures inside the Carpathian Basin
strengthened and extended in a way that the original cultural identity of the Catacomb-inuenced Late
Pit Grave groups diluted, thus it is even more problematic to reconstruct their route than in the earlier
periods. The direct route, which this even more far-away group followed when it arrived to Central
Europe, has probably changed as compared to the previous periods: another road along the Danube
seems to be a dominating one for the whole Carpathian Basin; with the use of the wheel and the wagon
(Plačidol) and a developed metal production based on arsenic-bronze raw materials.
3 In Little Poland, where the presence of niche graves was previously seen as a result of inuences from the
steppes, there is currently no clear evidence for direct connections with the Catacomb culture (Włodarczak
2006, 135).
4 The beginning of the Reinecke A Bronze Age is identical with the Phase 3 of the Hungarian Early Bronze Age.
Thus, when discussing the Phase I or Phase II of the Hungarian Bronze Age this corresponds with the Final
Eneolithic, Late Neolithic periods and cultures in Europe, see HorvátH 2004, 43; 2012.
5 It was not only proved in the central part of the country, see for instance the paper given by János Dani and
Katalin Tóth at the MΩMOΣ VI conference on the burial at Panyola.
6 The strongest anthropological similarity to Carpathian Basin kurgans can be detected with the ones in Moldova,
see marcsik 1979; K. zoffmann 2011.
7 Populations of the autochthonous cultures of the Great Hungarian Plain (e.g. Boleráz, Baden, Makó) and the
people of the kurgans were presumably mixing between 3350–2400 BC.
Multidisciplinary Contributions to the Study of Pit Grave Culture Kurgans of the Great Hungarian Plain
Most probably the main reason for this large-scale migration was the drastic change in the ecological
circumstances caused by a drier climate and the over-grazing of the meadows (golyeva 2000;
sHisHlina [ed.] 2000).8
David W. Anthony (2007, 362–364) recommended that the steppe populations arriving to the Great
Hungarian Plain got there east from the Usatovo settlement area, from the South-Bug-Ingul-Dnieper
region: the earliest Pit Grave kurgans are situated there (for example Bal’ki, with a deposited wagon,
and one wooden plough-tooth: rassamakin 1999, Fig 3. 58). The steppe along the Lower Dniester
were occupied by the Usatovo culture between 3400/3300–2800 BC, but the majority of the Pit Grave
kurgans there (from 2800–2400 BC) are dated later than the migration to the Great Hungarian Plain.
Thus, D. W. Anthony supposed that the Dniester variant is a sign of a return migration from the Danube
valley and the Great Hungarian Plain to that region. Although this is a very pleasant theory, it cannot be
veried in the study area: without much more excavation results and radiocarbon dates, and moreover, the
overall revision of the Usatovo culture, this debate cannot be resolved (for this see also rassamakin
nikolova 2008, 13).
The migrating route sketched by Richard Harrison and Volker Heyd (2007, 194, Fig. 43) cannot
be accepted for the whole period. This would lead from the mouth of the Dnieper River, around the
Carpathian Mountains and reach the Great Hungarian Plain not just from the southern direction (through
the Lower Danube), but through the passes of the northeastern and eastern Carpathians. The radiocarbon
dates of some kurgans in Serbia, and Bulgaria are later or can be correlated with Period IV/V (e.g. in
case of the kurgan at Jabuka in Serbia, an individual layer of soil formation was documented after a
Kostolac stratum, upon which the kurgan was built; in Bulgaria in Kurgan 1 at Trnava, Coţofeni and Pit
Grave ceramics with corded decoration were excavated: antHony 2007, 363, Fig. 14. 6).
The hypothesis regarding the so called “Pit Grave package” is similarly not entirely applicable to
this problem (HarrisonHeyD 2007, 196–197). In accordance with the literature of Russian scholars
(saPosnikova et al. 1988; levine et al. 1999; sHisHlina [ed.] 2000; tsutHkinsHisHlina [eds]
2001; morgunova et al. 2003; morgunova 2004; rassamakin 2004; merPert et al. 2006), the
third (social status and sex is markedly expressed),9 and eighth characteristics (the importance of the
horse) are not conrmed. At the same time we should be clarifying the fourth component (“The creation
of a special status for craftsman...” in Harrison HeyD 2007, 196): the metalworkers had formed
a specialized group or layer in the Early Bronze Age society; but this doesn't mean necessarily their
highest social status. Irrespectively of this, the complex inuence of the Eurasian steppe populations in
the investigated period in the geographical area under examination cannot be neglected.
At last, it is anticipated that the excavation results and the series of new 14C dates discussed in this
study from the westernmost ethnic presence as well as expansion of these cultures further enhance this
extremely complex and problematic jigsaw-puzzle with some new mosaic stones.
8 According to A. Golyeva, in Kalmykia in most of the kurgans the buried soil was degraded and eroded. This
phenomenon was further deteriorated in the Pit Grave/Catacomb transformation period by the drier climate and
overgrazing. See golyeva 2000.
9 See also ivanova 2003. It should be considered that kurgan burial was a kind of privilege for a not in every detail
perfectly identied social group, thus kurgan burials cannot be taken as a mirror for the whole contemporary
society. The social differences reected in the Pit Grave graves are rather outlining local differences or territorial
accessibility of raw materials and resources (for example the valley of the River Manych in Kalmykia; see
SHisHlina [ed.] 2000), and not just on the basis of the status or the gender.
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List of Contributors
... In Bulgaria, links to the Coţofeni culture can be seen especially in the findings from Târnava (Panayotov, 1989, p. 84-93), while those to the Ezero sequence are seen in Ovchartsi (Alexandrov and Kaiser, 2016). The available radiocarbon dates indicate the emergence of these burials at the very end of the fourth or beginning of the third millennium BC, this being true for Romania (Frînculeasa et al., 2017b), Bulgaria (Kaiser and Winger, 2015, p. 14), Serbia (Koledin et al., 2020, in press) and Hungary (Horváth et al., 2013). No east to west delay can be discerned; the expansion seems to have happened in one episode. ...
... The same transformation can be seen east of the Prut (Ivanova, 2013). In the entire western area, the most recent Yamnaya burials date to the middle of the third millennium BC (Horváth et al., 2013;Kaiser and Winger, 2015, p. 14;Frînculeasa et al., 2017b;Koledin et al., 2020, in press). ...
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This paper aims to provide an overview of the current understanding in Yamnaya burials from north of the Lower Danube, particularly focussing on their relationship with supposed local archaeological cultures/socie-ties. Departing from a decades-long research history and latest archaeological finds from Romania, it addresses key research basics on the funerary archaeology of their kurgans and burials; their material culture and chronology; on steppe predecessors and Katakombnaya successors; and links with neighbouring regions as well as the wider southeast European context. Taking into account some reflections from latest ancient DNA revelations, there can be no doubt a substantial migration has taken place around 3000 BC, with Yamnaya populations originating from the Caspian-Pontic steppe pushing westwards. However already the question if such accounts for the term of 'Mass Migrations' cannot be satisfactorily answered, as we are only about to begin to understand the demographics in this process. A further complication is trying to assess who is a newcomer and who is a local in an interaction scenario that lasts for c. 500 years. Identities are not fixed, may indeed transform, as previous newcomers soon turn into locals, while others are just visitors. Nevertheless, this well-researched region of geographical transition from lowland eastern Europe to the hillier parts of temperate Europe provides an ideal starting point to address such questions, being currently also at the heart of the intense discussion about what is identity in the context of the emerging relationship of Archaeology and Genetics. Résumé : Cet article vise à donner un aperçu général de notre connaissance actuelle des sépultures Yamnaya au nord du Bas-Danube, en mettant l'accent sur leurs relations avec les cultures locales. Il aborde les questions élémentaires de la recherche en archéologie funéraire portant sur les tertres et sépultures, leur culture matérielle et leur chronologie, leurs prédécesseurs steppiques et leurs successeurs de la Culture des Catacombes ainsi que les liens avec les régions voisines et le contexte de l'Europe du Sud-Est. À la transition du IV e au III e millénaire av. J.-C., un nouveau rituel funéraire émerge sur de vastes zones : ce sont des tombes recouvertes de tertres appelés kourganes, de mâles adultes allongés sur le dos dans des fosses rectangulaires ou parfois ovales, avec les genoux initialement fléchis, la tête orientée vers l'ouest et souvent parsemés d'ocre rouge. Les fosses funéraires, qui avaient souvent des marches intérieures menant aux chambres funéraires, étaient apparem-ment garnies de nattes, de peaux et de coussins, et étaient recouvertes de poutres en bois et de nattes textiles d'origine végétale. Le mobilier funéraire est très rare et se compose principalement d'anneaux de cheveux en métaux précieux, de colliers de dents animales et/ou de céramique. Ce nouveau rituel funéraire est apparemment une conséquence de la migration des populations Yamnaya de la steppe vers le Sud-Est de l'Europe. Dix milliers de tertres ont été érigés dans les régions ressemblant à la steppe. Ils constituent la seule source de nos connaissances, puisqu'aucune habitation n'a été identifiée dans toute la région occidentale. Au Nord du Bas-Danube, sur le territoire roumain actuel, 177 tertres funéraires ont été fouillés, contenant un nombre total de 714 sépultures. Les recherches archéologiques effectuées au cours des deux dernières décennies (42 tertres) ont permis de mieux comprendre ce phénomène complexe. Malgré certaines variations, la domination de ce rituel funéraire est écrasante. Tous ces paramètres correspondent au standard funéraire Yamnaya connu dans les steppes pontique-caspiennes d'Europe de l'Est, mais d'autres ne sont pas aussi communs ou ne figurent pas dans les recherches archéologiques, comme les stèles en pierre anthropomorphes, les chariots et les roues en bois, les sépultures d'artisans, les poignards à languette au manche ou les haches à emmanche-ment transversal en cuivre. Preda-Bǎlǎnicǎ B., Frînculeasa A., Heyd V. (2020)-The Yamnaya Impact North of the Lower Danube: A Tale of Newcomers and Locals, Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française, 117, 1, p. 85-101.
... First construction layer of the mound, (11). Recent surface soil B horizon, (12). Recent surface soil A horizon. ...
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Kurgans are the custodians of outstanding archaeological, natural and environmental-historical value in the lowland landscape of Eastern Europe, which has been continuously transformed over millennia by agricultural activity. Their protection and study are, therefore, essential. By comparative soil and sedimentological analysis of the soil levels buried during the kurgans’ construction, the levels of buried soil, and the recent surface soil, we can gain information on the environmental changes of the second half of the Holocene; we can also gain information about how the activity of humans, even in the case of prehistoric cultures, can cause changes in the soil and environment on a local scale, beyond the regional scale. The aim of our research was to conduct a geoarchaeological examination of the Császárné Mound, which is one of the kurgans in the Hungarian Great Plain. For this purpose, sedimentological analyses (grain size distribution, magnetic susceptibility measurements), a pollen analysis, and a malacological analysis were carried out on the samples from the Császárné Mound. The complex geoarchaeological investigation of the mound allowed us to distinguish three different construction layers in the kurgan’s soil material. Besides the archaeological results, we were able to reconstruct steppe-like environmental conditions before and during construction in the local surroundings of the kurgan.
... Alături de tumul, poziţia ritualică a defunctului, ocrul, ţesătură de culoare albă, inelul de buclă reprezintă un element identitar al comunităţilor Iamnaia aflate la Dunărea de Jos. Inelele de buclă se regăsesc în tot arealul tumular Iamnaia, din Caucaz până în Câmpia Maghiară (Ecsedy 1979;Dani 2011;Horváth et al. 2013) şi la sud de Dunăre (Frînculeasa et al. 2014a: 198;Alexandrov 2015;Vasilieva 2017;Valchev şi Blazheska 2019). Apar mai departe la Dunărea mijlocie (Ruttkay 2002), apoi în zona Egeică (Primas 1996;Baković 2011;Vasilieva 2017) sau chiar Adriatică, menţionând aici cele şase piese descoperite în M.3/T.10 de la Shtoj (Koka 2012: tab. ...
... The AMS analysis data of these fragments (Table 1) 4,849 ± 21 cal BP (2,921-2,879 BC) unambiguously indicate that the first layer of the mound was piled up at the end of the Copper Age (Vaday 2004). Thus, it can be stated that the mound was constructed by a local community of the Pit Grave (Yamna) Culture (Gazdapusztai 1968;Ecsedy 1979;Horváth et al. 2013), and that its people predominated within the research area at the late Copper Age-Bronze Age period. ...
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The aim of this study is to identify the milestones of landscape evolution around the Ecse Mound (Karcag-Kunmadaras, Hortobágy National Park, Hungary) in the Holocene period by sedimentological and malacological analysis of strata underneath and within the body of the kurgan concerned, including that of the same characteristics of the artificially piled layers. An undisturbed core drilling was carried out and the sedimentological properties of both the mound and of the substrate baserock were revealed, analysis of which has been supported by three radiocarbon (AMS) measurements. The baserock formation during the last phase of the Ice Age, Middle and Upper Pleniglacial, and Late Glacial phases was followed by soil development in the Holocene, while the mound was constructed in two phases at the end of the Copper Age by the communities of the Pit Grave (Yamna or Ochre Grave) Culture. By publishing these preliminary data, it is also intended to draw attention to the need of focused research efforts by standardized methodology in kurgan research, in order to make the results of different studies consistent and comparable. Keywords: kurgan, sedimentology, malacology, chronology, Early Bronze Age
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The Coțofeni culture is part of an extensive cultural phenomenon that extended across the Carpathian Basin, Transylvania, and surrounding regions during the 4th and early 3rd millennium BC. This cultural phenomenon is marked by distinctive ceramics, metal objects, and agropastoral lifeways. A recent influx of research and radiocarbon dating have made it possible to reconstruct the absolute chronology of the Coțofeni culture in Romania, including its start and end dates and internal development, for the first time. In this study, we present 26 radiocarbon dates, Bayesian models, and a discussion of relevant material culture from 11 sites in Romania: Ariceştii-Rahtivani; Băile Herculane; Dubova; Hăpria; Gligoreşti; Ostrovu Corbului; Peţelca; Poiana Ampoiului; Râmeţ-Gugu; Silvaşu de Jos; and Turdaş-Sitiş. Based on the available radiocarbon data, we place the start of the Coțofeni culture during the Late Copper Age (Eneolithic), approximately 3500/3400 BC. The earliest phase (Coțofeni I) lasted approximately from 3500/3400 BC to 3300/3200. With fewer dates and a shorter span, the second phase (Coțofeni II) is more difficult to situate, but available data suggest it is between 3300/3250 to 3200/3150 BC. The third and final phase (Coțofeni III) spanned from approximately 3200/3150 to 2900/2800 BC. The dates demonstrate that there is significant temporal overlap – up to two centuries in length – between the Coțofeni culture and Yamnaya migrant communities from the Eurasian Steppe in the early 3rd millennium BC. Dates from sites with burial mounds covering Coțofeni settlement, such as at Râmeţ-Gugu (approximately 2900), demonstrate the timing and close connection between Coțofeni communities and the emergence of burial tumuli in Transylvania.
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Broomcorn millet is one of the most important plants species in pre-history. It was first domesticated in China and subsequently spread across Eurasia becoming a significant staple crop. For a long time, the arrival of millet into Europe was assumed to have taken place in the Neolithic. However, this has recently been challenged, with new direct radiocarbon measurements on reportedly Neolithic charred millet grains in fact dating to the Middle Bronze Age. To aid in understanding the timing of millet's spread across East-Central Europe in the Bronze Age we present the results of over 120 new paired radiocarbon dates and stable isotope (δ13C and δ15N) measurements on human bone collagen from individuals across 33 archaeological sites in Poland and western Ukraine. In doing so we directly assess millet's role in the Bronze Age diets. Our results show a clear increase in bone collagen δ13C values from the middle 15th century BC onwards. This increase is rapid across the whole study area, occurring almost simultaneously with respect to the precision of our radiocarbon dates. Pilot stable isotope data for contemporary animals suggests that they were not foddered with millet and hence it was probably eaten directly by humans. Interestingly, individuals consuming millet appear to be exclusive to geographically upland regions compared to lowland ones. However, not all individuals from upland zone have δ13C values consistent with millet consumption. Based on the stable isotope evidence for upland millet consumption and the well documented evidence for connections between these people and those in the northern Carpathian Basin at this time, we posit that it is through this route, across the Carpathians, that millet was introduced into the region. An increase of its economic importance in Lesser Poland was plausibly caused by a significant growth in human populations.
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The older horizon of the tumuli cemeteries from Transylvania were connected with the Early Bronze Age cultural phenomenon (Livezile/Bedeleu, Șoimuș and Copăceni cultural groups). Some of the discoveries made especially during the second half of the 20 th century while searching for the Scythians were considered as belonging to the Ochre Grave Culture (Câmpia Turzii, Cipău, Răscruci). The archaeological research from Silvașu de Jos (Hunedoara county), together with the older and more recent discoveries from Bodo, Bucova Pusta IX and Bucova Pusta IV, prove that the Lower and Middle Mureș valley were used as a path by the Yamnaya Culture, connecting the discoveries from central and western Transylvania to those from the Tisza Plain. This event is contemporary with the earliest manifestation of the Early Bronze Age. Moreover, completing again the observations made on the Tisza Plain and Lower Danube (Trnava, Bulgaria), it is clear that the barrow trend precedes the Yamnaya Culture also in Transylvania, based on the results from Cheile Aiudului and, recently, Silvașu de Jos, showing that the barrows were used by the Coțofeni III communities.
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The Baden Culture is a widely spread culture of the Young Neolithics in east-central Europe. In southeast Europe, several parallel cultures are found at different places. The main innovations in east-central Europe associated with the Baden Culture were traditionally thought to originate in southeast Europe, Anatolia, and the Levant. However, in recent years, doubt about this theory has arisen among archaeologists. Here, we try to contribute to this question by increasing the radiocarbon data set available for the Baden Culture. Thirty-two age determinations of samples from different sites assigned to the Baden Culture were performed by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) ¹⁴ C dating. The new data were combined with previously published ¹⁴ C dates. Data from the individual cultural phases of the entire Baden period and the parallel cultures in southeast Europe (Sitagroi, Cernavoda, and Ezero) were analyzed by sum calibration. Comparison of the results indicates that the southeastern cultures cannot be synchronized with the Boleráz period, the early phase of the Baden Culture. It seems that these cultures were parallel to the Baden Classical period. This finding, which has to be verified by more data from the southeastern cultures, contradicts the theory of the east-west spreading of these cultures.
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In the present paper, we called attention to a so far unknown religious idea of the Bell Beaker – Csepel group after observations made at the excavation of Budapest-Albertfalva, archaeo-astronomical analyses, two special shards with channelled knob ornaments and their analogues. The schematic representation of the Sun symbol appears, although rarely, in the accompanying material (“Begleitkeramik”) of the Csepel group (on grave ceramics, the Albertfalva fragment was probably originally intended to be placed in a grave). The custom of the building of round houses in the western group of the Bell Beaker culture and the burials with round ditches in the eastern group make us think. The orientation of the houses according to the winter solstice at Albertfalva and the existence of a territory enclosed by a round ditch between the houses render the role of the Sun in the daily and religious life of the population of the Csepel group even more emphatic. The representation of the Sun in various forms (gold discs, incised Sun motives) can be observed on nearly the entire territory of the Bell Beaker culture yet we do not want to interpret this phenomenon as a Sun cult. The religious beliefs of the Bell Beaker culture are extremely complicated, complex and colourful, and Sun, an environmental factor that defines daily life, could only be an element in it.
Bone is one of the most widely used materials for dating archaeological activity. It is also relatively difficult to pretreat effectively and new methods are an area of active research. The purpose of the chemical pretreatment of bone is to remove contaminants present from burial and to do so in a way which does not add any additional laboratory contaminant. To some extent, these two aims must be balanced since, on the whole, the more complex the procedure and the more steps included, the greater the chance for contamination. At the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit {(ORAU)}, the method used is a continuous-flow or manual acid/base/acid {(ABA)} treatment followed by gelatinization and ultrafiltration (based on Brown et al. [1988]; documented in Bronk Ramsey et al. [2000]). We find this overall method is very effective at removing more recent contamination in old bones. However, two aspects of the method have recently been improved and are reported here: the redesign of {ORAU's} continuous flow pretreatment and a new protocol in our pretreatment ultrafiltration stage.
Human and domesticate animal bone collagen δ15N values in prehistory differ generally by 3‰ or more from Neolithic to post- Roman times in Northwest Europe, leading to an assumed dietary animal protein fraction of 60–80% using a standard interpretation of δ15N values. We examine the assumptions on which this model rests and the limitations of our knowledge in the analysis of δ15N values in archaeology. We have developed a set of models which, with small changes made in assumptions (on the order of 1‰), can produce substantially lower estimates of the dietary animal protein fraction for given δ15N values. We consider the implications of various dietary animal protein fractions on agricultural carrying capacities and human population densities in prehistory.
Grave/Pit Grave (3350-2800 BC) dates: Balatonőszöd-Temetői dűlő
  • Pre-Pit
Pre-Pit Grave/Pit Grave (3350-2800 BC) dates: Balatonőszöd-Temetői dűlő, Benkő et al. 1989; forenBaHer 1993; ciuguDean 2000;
Neolitičko i eneolitičko naselje. Musei Archaeologici Zagrabiensis Catalogi et Monographiae II
  • Sarvaš
Sarvaš. Neolitičko i eneolitičko naselje. Musei Archaeologici Zagrabiensis Catalogi et Monographiae II, Zagreb.
Kasno bakrenodobno naselje -Late Eneolithic settlement. Musei Archaeologici Zagrabiensis Catalogi et Monographie 7
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Đakovo Franjevac. Kasno bakrenodobno naselje -Late Eneolithic settlement. Musei Archaeologici Zagrabiensis Catalogi et Monographie 7, Zagreb.
Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of Hungarian kurgans on the basis of the examination of palaeosoils and phytolith analysis
Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of Hungarian kurgans on the basis of the examination of palaeosoils and phytolith analysis. Quaternary International 193 (2009) 49-60.
Radiocarbon and thermoluminescence dating of prehistoric sites in Hungary and Yugoslavia
Radiocarbon and thermoluminescence dating of prehistoric sites in Hungary and Yugoslavia. Radiocarbon 31/3 (1989) 992-1002.