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Abstract and Figures

As data about modern human dispersals into Europe during the Upper Paleolithic accumulates, discussed scenarios have become increasingly complicated. The Banat in the southeastern Carpathian Basin, where multiple fossil and archaeological evidences indicate an early presence of modern humans, has become a key region in this discussion. One of the most important localities is the site of Tincova that has yielded a rich Aurignacian site whose association to both eastern and western Upper Paleolithic assemblages has been widely discussed. In spite of this, its age and site formation are still poorly understood. With that in mind, in the spring of 2016, we initiated a small-scale, preliminary excavation project to (1) identify the spatial extent of the site and (2) to reexamine the surrounding sediments. Our findings confirm the presence of an extensive Paleolithic site found in a stratigraphy similar to that found by Mogoșanu and whose sedimentary context is similar to other early Aurignacian sites in the region.
Simplified profile sketch of Trench 2, representative for Trenches 2-7, compared to the figure by Mogoșanu 1978 (right panel). In agreement with Mogoșanu's observations, we found a humic upper soil (Ah) of 12-25 cm thickness that gradually grades into a denser, grayer and less organic-rich horizon (here down to 70 cm). In all trenches a compact and more or less colorful (orangish, blackish, and ochre) horizon follows, which has a (sub) polyedric structure and black (Mn) coatings of fossil root channels and polyedric sediment structures. It continues to the bottom of the profile with varying amounts of sand and fine pebbles, and with varying intensity in color and black stains and coatings. Table 1 gives a simplified overview of the profiles found in trenches / Schiţa simplificată a profilului secţiunii 2, reprezentativă pentru secţiunile 2-7, comparată cu imaginea dată de Mogoşanu 1978 (panoul din dreapta)� În acord cu observaţiile lui Moroşanu, am descoperit un strat superior de humus (Ah), de 12 -25 cm, care se dezvoltă treptat într-un orizont mai dens, mai cenuşiu şi mai puţin bogat în elemente organice (aici, la o adâncime de 70 cm)� La nivelul tuturor secţiunilor urmează un orizont mai mult sau mai puţin colorat (portocaliu, negru şi ocru), cu o structură subpoliedrică şi straturi negre (Mn) de caneluri de rădăcină fosilă şi structuri de sediment poliedric� Acesta continuă spre baza profilului cu diferite cantităţi de nisip şi prundiş şi, de asemenea, cu pete şi straturi cu o intensitate diferită a culorii sau negre� Tabelul 1 oferă o prezentare generală simplificată a profilurilor descoperite în secţiuni�
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BANATICA, 26 | 2016
Wei Chu**, Christian Zeeden***,
Sorin-Marius Petrescu****
Keywords: Aurignacian, Loess, Danube Corridor, Early Upper Paleolithic, Banat
Cuvinte-cheie: aurignacian, loess, argilă, Coridorul Dunării, începutul
paleoliticului superior, Banat
1� Introduction
Research concerning modern human dispersals into Europehave prolif-
erated in recent years thanks to ever improving genetic research. e amount of
corresponding archaeological evidence concerning modern human dispersals
and the Upper Paleolithic in Europe has also been augmented by new
eldwork. is increase of datahas led to more complex narratives of cultural
dispersals and demographic expansions. Previously, all available Early Upper
Paleolithic evidence suggested that the arrival of the Aurignacian marked the
rst entry of Homo sapiens into Europe from the Levant, and that this arrival
coincided with the rapid decline/replacement of local Neanderthal populations.
However, it is clear now that this narrative is far too coarse. Dierent trajec-
tories of regional cultural development show multiple, distinct dispersals and
e investigations were carried out in the context of the CRC 806 “Our way to Europe”,
subproject B1 “e Eastern Trajectory: Last Glacial Paleogeography and Archeology of
the Eastern Mediterranean and of the Balkan Peninsula”, supported by the DFG (Deutsche
Forschungsgemeinscha, grant number INST 216/596–2). We would like to thank Dumitru
Ţeicu for the invitation to submit this article as well as Jürgen Richter, Frank Lehmkuhl, omas
Hauck and Mircea Anghelinu for thoughtful discussions. Any errors are of course, our own.
Institute of Prehistory; University of Cologne, Weyertal 125, 50923 Cologne, Germany,
Chair of Physical Geography and Geoecology, Department of Geography, Templergraben
55, RWTH Aachen University, D–52056 Aachen, Germany, e-mail: christian.zeeden@geo.
Muzeul Banatului Montan Reșiţa, b-dul Republicii, nr.10, e-mail:
disparate interaction patterns with native hominins. is is particularly true in
Southeastern Europe, a hypothesized geographic intermediary between Central
Europe and the Middle East.
Because of the early Aurignacian nds in the Swabian Jura e.g. Hohle Fels,
Willendorf II, Geißenklösterle, Keilberg-Kirche1 and the slightly older Early
Upper Paleolithic assemblages (Bachokirian/Kozarnikan) in the lower reaches
of the Danube catchment e.g. Kozarnika, Temnata and Bacho Kiro, scholarshave
hypothesized an early migratory link through the Danube Valley; the so-called
Danube Corridor Hypothesis2. Plausible as that hypothesis may seem, in
reality the Danubes role in early modern human movements is not well under-
stood as the catchment’s Early Upper Paleolithic siteshave not been veried
and tested alongside the more extensive surrounding archaeological record.
Current archaeological research along the Danube is limited to the surrounding
highlands, the Inner Carpathians and Lower Austria; little is known from the
Basin itself3. Additionally, many ndspots remain poorly understood while
others with single and multiple layers are only just being identied/reexcavated,
for instance, Beregovo I4. In addition, archaeologistshave paid scant attention
to the topography and paleoclimatic variability of the Middle Danube, which
couldhave inuenced modern human migration.
e Banat plays a key role in this discussion as it is a unique topographic
region that comprises the intersection of both karstic cave and open air settle-
ments5 thathave yielded Europe’s earliest modern human fossils at the Peștera cu
Oase6 as well other early specimens at Peștera Muierii and Peștera Cioclovina7.
Excavationshave also reported smaller, possible early lithic traces in the karst
at the Peștera Liliecilor8 and Tabula Traiana Cave (Serbia) where artifacts
were recovered directly above a Campanian ignimbrite tephra and dated with
associated cutmarked bones to between 41.3–34.5 ka cal BP9. However, these
assemblages are small, poor in diagnostic artifacts, and in the case of Liliecilor,
the provenience of the artifacts remain unclear10.
By contrast, the region alsohas a number of large open air early Aurignacian
Conard, Bolus 2008; Higham et alii 2012; Nigst et alii 2014; Uthmeier 1996.
Conard, Bolus 2003.
Anghelinu et alii 2012; Ioviţă et alii 2014; Steguweit et alii 2009.
Usik 2008.
Tasić et alii 2011.
Moldovan 2003; Trinkaus et alii 2003, 2012.
Alexandrescu et alii 2010; Harvati et alii 2007; Socaru et alii 2006, 2007; Trinkaus et alii
Dobrescu 2008, 409.
Borić et alii 2012; Mandić, Borić 2015.
Cârciumaru 2010, 145.
assemblages concentrated around the fringes of the Poiana Ruscă Mountains in
the Romanian Banat such as at Românești, Coșava, Tincova and potentially at
the newly discovered ndspot at Temerești11. ere are also further Aurignacian
artifacts found in the plains surrounding the city of Vršac (Vojvodina, Serbia)
most notably at Crvenka-At where thesehave been recovered in good preserva-
tional contexts12. Dates for the open air sites remain scarce, however, OSL and
TL dates of sediments and heated artifacts both directly and indirectly bracket
the Aurignacian levels at Românești to between 45–40 ka ago13. If correct, these
would place the assemblage contemporaneous with the oldest Aurignacian
assemblages in Europe.
Unfortunately, the human fossils and the lithic artifacts in the Banat, while
both important to our understanding of early modern humans in Europe, are
frustratingly found to the exclusion of the other. Except for a few scattered,
unprovenienced pieces at both Peștera Muierii and Peștera Cioclovina in other
parts of the cave, no lithics are associated with the modern human fossils.
Likewise, no organic remainshave yet been found in open air sites, a situation
that is not likely to change due to high soil acidity14. Furthermore, as yet, there
are no Aurignacian or contemporaneous nds in the Carpathian Basin loess
where better preservation may be expected15.
It is with this in mind that the Collaborative Research Center–806 “Our Way
to Europe” began eldwork in the Banat, attempting to acquire and compare new
comparative archaeological and sedimentological data with which to compare
other Early Upper Paleolithic sites in the Levant and in Central Europe.
2� Background—Palaeolithic Research in the Romanian Banat
e history of Palaeolithic research in the Romanian Banat has been
discussed extensively by I.Băltean (2011). He relates that Pleistocene research
in the Banat began at the end of the 19th Century with the discovery of Upper
Pleistocene faunal remains (Ursus spelaeus, Capra ibex) in the Buhui Cave in
Steierdorf-Anina16. Paleolithic artifacts were not found until the late 1930s
when research was carried out at the Cerbului and Popovăţ Caves in the Caraş
Valley. While these artifacts were originally interpreted as bone and quartzite
Palaeolithic artifacts, they were later shown to be geofacts17.
Mogoșanu 1978; Kels et alii 2014; Sitlivy et alii 2014a; Micle et alii 2015.
Chu et alii 2014; Mihailović 1992; Radovanović 1986.
Schmidt et alii 2013; Sitlivy et alii 2012.
Kels et alii 2014.
Händel et alii 2009.
Păunescu 2001.
Mogoșanu 1978, 14.
e rst systematic Paleolithic excavation in the Banat took place in 1954 at
the Peștera Hoţilor and was carried out by Nicolăescu-Plopşor18. ese excava-
tions yielded numerous Mousterian assemblages manufactured on quartzite
(attributed to the Last Glacial cycle) along with a small number of possible
Upper Paleolithic Aurignacian nds. Further collaboration with A.Păunescu,
P.Roman and I.Stratan, resulted in the identication and investigation of the
settlements of Tincova, Românești and Coşava19.
e impending ooding caused by the construction of the Iron Gates dam
during the 1960s provided major stimulus for Banat Paleolithic research as
archaeologists focused on rescuing at-risk archaeological heritage20. During this
time, four Paleolithic settlements were excavated: Băile Herculane (F.Mogoşanu,
1968–1970, 1972), Gornea–Căuniţa and Gornea–Păzărişte (F. Mogoşanu,
1969–1970 and V.Boroneanţ, 1970) and Climente I (V.Boroneanţ, 1965) culmi-
nating in the publication of several reports and articles21.
Paleolithic research was rejuvenated in 2002 with the discovery of modern
human remains from the Peștera cu Oase. is nding initiated a large, interna-
tional multidisciplinary research project22 during which archeological, sedimen-
tological and paleontological research was carried out both within the chambers
of the Peștera cu Oase but also in the multi-layered site from the Peștera La
Hoţu and the Plopa Ponor rock shelter23. Since then, Paleolithic research in the
Banathas been steady and a number of exploratory excavations24have led to a
synthetic publication of Paleolithic and Mesolithic research25.
a) e site of Tincova
e archaeological site of Tincova is situated on a wide terrace structure
southeast of the village of Tincova (Caraș-Severin, Romania) at the western
edge of the Poiana Ruscă Mountains. e Paleolithic settlement of Tincova
is composed of two distinct archaeological locations. e rst, Selişte I is
located approximately 400m south of the village and 300m East-southeast of
the Orthodox cemetery. e second, Selişte II is approximately 100m South-
southwest of Selişte I, near the same cemetery.
e Aurignacian site was rst discovered in 1958 in the eroding sediments
Jungbert 1978; Nicolăescu-Plopșor, Mateescu 1955.
Păunescu 1992.
Băltean 2011.
e.g. Mogoșanu 1978; Boroneanţ 2000.
Trinkaus et alii 2012.
Băltean et alii 2008.
e.g. Tureau et alii 2007.
Tasić et alii 2011.
of a steep alluvial cone 60m above the right bank of the Timiş River26. Formal
archaeological research began in 1958 under the supervision of C.S.Nicolăescu-
Plopşor and I. Stratan27. Later excavations were continued by F. Mogoşanu
e majority of lithics at Tincova are manufactured from a local “Banat
int” of variable quality though it is not clear if this material is indeed int.
Petrochemical analyses indicate a probable local source likely from uvial
cobbles of the local rivers (Leonard in prep). Like the other Banat sites of
Românești and Coșava, less than 5% of the Banat tools and other artifacts were
made from other potentially semi-exotic raw materials. However, their small
number and their unknown provenience suggests that they may be local,having
been transported from unknown sources.
It is thought that the main aim at Tincova was to manufacture light,
unretouched blades and elongated rectilinear bladelets possibly through a
continuous core reduction sequence29. Among bladelet forms, Krems points and
Dufour bladelets (Dufour sub-type) are the most abundant. Simple endscrapers
and retouched blades are present though carinated scrapers are rare and scaled
retouch is absent30.
Citing these typo-technological attributes, as well as temporal and spatial
proximity, the original researchers suggested homologies between Tincova and
the “classical” Krems-Dufour Aurignacian collections at Krems-Hundssteig in
Lower Austria31. is connectionhas recently been resurrected placing Tincova
(and the other Banat sites as well) within a specic Aurignacian facies, itself a
part of a discrete European typo-technocomplex32.
However, the Tincova assemblagehas also been used in the past as evidence
that the earliest hominins reached the Banat during MIS 3. Both Teyssandier
and Zilhãohave suggested that the collection assemblage is “strongly suggestive
of the Proto-aurignacian based on the targeted production of elongated recti-
linear bladeforms.” ey compare it to Geißenklösterle and other early Swabian
Jura assemblages and have additionally encouraged comparisons with the
Kozarnikian further east in Bulgaria33, implying that its position mighthave
served as an intermediary waypoint between Southeastern and Central
Sitlivy et alii 2014b.
Nicolăescu-Plopșor, Stratan 1961; Stratan 1962.
Mogoșanu 1967.
cf. Sitlivy et alii 2014b.
Teyssandier 2008; cf. Sitlivy et alii 2014b.
Hahn 1977; Mogoșanu 1978.
Demidenko, Noiret 2012.
Tsanova 2006.
Europe34. Still, no direct comparative study between any of these siteshas been
made and the Tincova site remains undated. If correct however, these compar-
isons raise important questions as to Tincovas association with the other Banat
sites and may be critical to unravelling the truth surrounding the validity of the
Proto-aurignacian and other various Aurignacian subtypes.
Resolving the exact nature of the Tincova assemblages is therefore a main
goal in understanding its relevance to the Danube Corridor Hypothesis. It is
with this in mind that we posited the following questions:
1. What is the extent of the site of Tincova and;
2. Could the site represent multiple layers not observed by Mogoșanu and
the other excavators?
b) Material and Methods
Small “keyhole” trenches were dug by a mechanical excavator in eight
dierent locations predetermined by the excavation team (Table 1; Fig 1).
Aer the topsoil was removed, trenches were dug in approximately 5cm spits.
Sediments in each spit was carefully examined for archaeological material
but not sieved. When artifacts were found in situ, their depth was recorded;
otherwise, depths recorded give an approximate depth and location within the
trench. Trench proles were manually trowel cleaned and described. Sediment
samples were taken from stratigraphic levels integrating 5cm intervals. Samples
were taken using a trowel, and were stored in plastic bags.
Additionally, we were able to identify and interview Dănilă Gheorghiţa
from the village of Tincova who worked as one of approximately twenty other
locals as an excavator in archaeological excavations of Selişte I for two months.
rough her, we were able to conrm the exact position of the former excava-
tions. Additionally, she alerted us to an eroding surface where she collected
large quantities of lithic surface nds which she donated to the Lugoj Museum.
3� Results
More than 3m (Trench 1) of sediment overlay coarse terrace sediments
cropping out at the terrace edge. From eight trenches, seven were described in
the eld. Table 2 gives summarized descriptions from top to bottom.
Trenches 2–7 show similar build-ups (Table 1). We found a humic upper
soil (Ah) of 12–25cm thickness that gradually grades into a denser, grayer and
less organic-rich horizon, interpreted as an Ae/Bv/Sd horizon thathas been
bleached by water stagnation. In all of the trenches, a compact and colorful
(orangish, blackish, and ochre) horizon follows, which has a (sub)polyedric
Teyssandier 2006; 2008; Zilhão 2006.
structure and black (Mn) coatings partly composed of fossil root channels
(but not only of fossil root channels) and polyedric soil/sediment structures. It
continues to the bottom of the prole with varying amounts of sand and ne
pebbles, and with varying intensity in color and black stains and coatings. No
clear dierences in the sediment composition was visible.
e deeper trenches, 1 and 8, are somewhat dierent. Trench 1 was dug the
deepest and the closest to the terrace edge; it shows less colorful redoximorphic
features than Trenches 2–7. Trench 8 was excavated on the hillslope east of
Trenches 2–7. ough its stratigraphy is similar, ithas more and coarser sand
and gravels are embedded in the ne sediment. e sediment itself is sandier
and also more brown-gray, and shows less colorful redoximorphic features.
A total of ve artifacts were found during the test trenches in Trenches 3 and
6. In Trench 3, a carinated core was found as well (Fig.3–1) as an unambiguous
quartzite endscraper (Fig.3–4). ese artifacts were found in the back dirt of the
excavation so their depths were not recorded, however from our observations,
they came from a depth of between 80–90cm. In Trench 6, three artifacts were
found: a single blade, a large ake, and a small debitage piece (Fig.3). Again,
the depths of the blade and ake were not recorded, however, the debitage piece
was found in situ at a recorded depth of 75cm (Fig.4). Additionally, a number
of surface nds including a carinated core (Fig.3–2), were found in the dirt
path near Trenches 3 and 4.
Previous archaeological excavations by Mogoșanu (1978) have suggested
a generalized ~3 m deep stratigraphy consisting of an upper yellowish grey
vegetated soil (sol vegetal gri-gălbui), a yellowish white ne powder with iron
oxide concretions (praf n gălbui-albicios cu concrețiuni de oxizi de er), a
compact yellowish brown clay (argilă brun-galbuie compactă) and a reddish
clay (argilă de culoare roșcată). e sediment proles we found at Tincova
are similar to the original descriptions by Mogoșanu (1978). Kels et al. (2014)
described similar sediments and stratigraphies from Coșava and Românești,
ca. 30–40km further northeast and were described showing similar fragipan
features, restricting water inltration and root penetration.
We agree with the interpretation of Kels et al. (2014), that water inl-
tration is limited as the soil is extremely wet and shows colorful redoxi-
morphic features from ~40cm downward. Water stagnation is also visible in
the landscape by the frequent occurrence of standing surface water puddles
and of hydrophilic sedges (sp� carex). Similar sedimentshave been observed by
the authors southeast of Vršac (Serbia), and it is posited that their continuous
distribution along the Banat hillslopes towards the Carpathians is likely, though
more observations are required. Kels et al. (2014) also ‘assume a wider distri-
bution of [these] fragic horizons in comparable altitudes and morphological
positions along the Carpathian arc. e observations at Tincova support this
statement. e Tincova site seems quite similar in its sedimentary composition
and geomorphologic position to the Românești site, where probably no or only
minor erosion took place as opposed to Coșava where sediments were highly
eroded35. Less intense redoximorphic features in trenches one and eight may be
associated with less stagnant water through better drainage at the hillslope and
near the terrace edge.
e origins of the ne sediment and its several coarser components may
be of aeolian or colluvial genesis; they may also represent a former ood plain
of the Mureş River. We suggest a combination of aeolian loess deposition
combined with colluvial sediment input from the adjacent upland hills accumu-
lated during heavy rain events alongside carbonate dissolution to be respon-
sible for the present soils. e coarser particles (in the sand fraction and the
ne pebbles) support an alluvial or colluvial origin of parts of the deposits; an
aeolian origin is at this point speculative. e absence of clear stratied sand and
coarse material speaks against oodplain sediments and testies to aeolian and
colluvial deposition. Further evidence for a colluvial origin is in the abundance
of coarse material in Trench 8 excavated at the hillslope. In summary, we suggest
a combination of colluvial and aeolian sediment to be present at Tincova.
As loess covers wide parts of the Carpathian Basin and also the Banat
, at
least some aeolian loess deposition may be expected at Tincova. Where Kels et
al. (2014) found three discrete sedimentological units at Coșava and Românești,
Tincova does not show clear separations (however there are variations in coarse
sediment fraction). Rather it shows dierent degrees of post-depositional alter-
ation through soil formation and geochemical processes. At Coșava, ne sediments
with a high proportion of coarser sediment from the underlying sediments are
. e trenches at Tincova did not reach the underlying coarser sediments,
which crop out at the edge of the terrace-plateau-like landform where the archae-
ological site Tincova site is located. e sediments, including the high amount of
clay and stagnic features found at Tincova, Coșava and Românești are dissimilar
from last glacial sedimentary deposits in the Carpathian Basin, which mainly
consist of loess, sometimes including a sandy component
Kels et alii 2014.
e.g. Haase et alii 2007; Kels et alii 2014; Lukić et alii 2014; Marković et alii 2014; Obreht et
alii 2015; Schulte et alii 2014.
Kels et alii 2014.
Obreht et alii 2015.
e artifacts found at Tincova are identical to those found by previous
excavations. Clearly the presence of in situ lithic artifacts conrm Băltean’s
(2011) suspicion that the archaeological site at Tincovahad not been exhaus-
tively excavated as Mogoșanu (1978) posited. Although few artifacts were found
in these test trenches, the cores conrm that the artifacts are unambiguously
early Aurignacian in nature but are unable to add to the discussion as to whether
Tincova is part of a Proto-aurignacian, or Krems-Dufour typo-technocomplex.
Nevertheless, the addition of two cores to the small collection of carinated cores
(n=9) from Tincova represents a gain of over 20% and eventually may be able to
help sort out the “mixed” signal currently given by the collection39.
4� Conclusions
From the initial results it appears that the Banat and the Paleolithic
site of Tincova have a long history of human occupation, and still have
much potential to help clarify the picture of the Late Pleistocene modern
human dispersals into southeastern Europe. e generalized stratigraphy
and Paleolithic ndings devised by Mogoșanu for Tincova largely conforms
that the occupied area was much wider than previously thought. A quarter
of the trenches tested in this eldwork yielded at least traces of Paleolithic
occupation, and techno-typological observations conrm that the area was
occupied in the Late Pleistocene. Sediments are probably the combined result
of aeolian deposition and colluvial input; post-depositional disturbances
of the archaeological layers were not observed. We were unable to recover
enough artifacts to conrm Mogoșanu’s archaeological stratigraphy however,
all the artifacts we found were ~80cm below the surface. It is unclear if this
represented multiple layers, but understanding if the site is comprised of a
single or multiple early Aurignacian occupations would be important to our
understanding of the Tincova assemblage and modern human migrations in
Europe and it is clear that this is an aim for future work. Due to the low nd
density excavations would require a large area for recovering a signicant
amount of in-situ archaeological material.
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Pe măsură ce datele despre răspândirea urmelor umane moderne în Europa în timpul
paleoliticul superior se acumulează, scenariile devin din ce în ce mai complicate. Banatul,
integrat în Bazinul sud-vest Panonic, unde numeroasele fosile și dovezile arheologice indică
o prezenţă timpurie a oamenilor moderni, a devenit o regiune-cheie în această discuţie.
Unul dintre cele mai importante situri este cel de la Tincova, care reprezintă un sit
aurignacian bogat, a cărui asociere cu paleoliticul superior de est și de vest a fost pe larg
discutată. In ciuda acestui fapt, vârsta și formarea sitului sunt încă puţin înţelese.
Cu aceste idei la bază, în primăvara anului 2016, am iniţiat un proiect de mică anver-
gură de diagnoză și excavare arheologică preliminară (1) menit să identice întinderea
spaţială a sitului și (2) pentru a reexamina sedimentele din jur.
Aproape jumătate din sondajele efectuate în acest loc pe teren au dat cel puţin semnalul
unor urme de ocupaţie antropică paleolitică și observaţiile tehno-tipologice conrmă faptul
că zona a fost ocupată în Pleistocenul Târziu.
Nu s-au observat tulburări post-depoziţionale ale straturilor arheologice. Nu am
reușit să recuperăm destule artefacte pentru a conrma stratigraa arheologică propusă de
Fl.Mogoșanu dar, cu toate acestea, toate artefactele au fost descoperite la -80cm sub supra-
faţă. Nu este clar dacă acest lucru a reprezentat mai multe nivele, dar înţelegerea în cazul
în care situl este format dintr-o singură sau mai multe ocupaţii specice aurignacianului
timpuriu ar  importantă pentru noi în ceea ce privește integrarea sitului de la Tincova
înharta migraţiilor umane moderne în Europa și este clar că acesta este un obiectiv pentru
munca noastră viitoare.
Sedimentele, inclusiv cantitatea mare de argilă cu caracteristici minerale prezente la
Tincova, dar și la Coșava și Românești, sunt deosebite de ultimele depozite sedimentare
glaciare din Bazinul Carpatic, care constau în principal din loess, uneori, inclusiv o compo-
nentă de nisip.
Descrierea sedimentului este doar descriptivă aici și iniţial se evită o interpretare știin-
ţică a solului. În plus, noi am fost capabili să identicăm și să intervievăm o persoană din
satul Tincova care a lucrat cu alţi aproximativ douăzeci de localnici la săpăturile arheologice
din Seliște I timp de două luni în anii ‘70.
Astfel, am fost capabili de a localiza poziţia fostelor săpături. În plus, persoana inter-
vievată ne-a avertizat cu privire la o suprafaţă de erodare din islazul satului, zonă în care
ea a colectat de-a lungul anilor de la suprafaţă cantităţi mari de piese litice din silex pe care
le-a donat Muzeului din Lugoj. Descoperirile noastre conrmă prezenţa unui sit aparţinând
paleoliticului superior, aat într-o stratigrae similară cu cea găsită în context, de către
Fl.Mogoșanu, stratigrae și secvenţă sedimentară care sunt similare cu cele observate în
alte situri aparţinând aurignacianului timpuriu din regiune.
Figure 1: Location of the test trenches from the 2016 eld campaign. Imagery ©2016 CNES/Astrium,
DigitalGlobe, Map data ©2016 Google / Campania din 2016 – Amplasamentul secţiunii de examinare
preliminară� Imagery ©2016 CNES/Astrium, DigitalGlobe, Map data ©2016 Google�
Figure 2: Simplied prole sketch of Trench 2, representative for Trenches 2–7, compared to
the gure by Mogoșanu 1978 (right panel). In agreement with Mogoșanu’s observations, we
found a humic upper soil (Ah) of 12–25cm thickness that gradually grades into a denser,
grayer and less organic-rich horizon (here down to 70cm). In all trenches a compact and
more or less colorful (orangish, blackish, and ochre) horizon follows, whichhas a (sub)
polyedric structure and black (Mn) coatings of fossil root channels and polyedric sediment
structures. It continues to the bottom of the prole with varying amounts of sand and ne
pebbles, and with varying intensity in color and black stains and coatings. Table 1 gives a
simplied overview of the proles found in trenches /
Schiţa simplicată a prolului secţiunii 2, reprezentativă pentru secţiunile 2–7, comparată cu
imaginea dată de Mogoşanu 1978 (panoul din dreapta)� În acord cu observaţiile lui Moroşanu,
am descoperit un strat superior de humus (Ah), de 12 – 25cm, care se dezvoltă treptat într-un
orizont mai dens, mai cenuşiu şi mai puţin bogat în elemente organice (aici, la o adâncime
de 70cm)� La nivelul tuturor secţiunilor urmează un orizont mai mult sau mai puţin colorat
(portocaliu, negru şi ocru), cu o structură subpoliedrică şi straturi negre (Mn) de caneluri
de rădăcină fosilă şi structuri de sediment poliedric� Acesta continuă spre baza prolului cu
diferite cantităţi de nisip şi prundiş şi, de asemenea, cu pete şi straturi cu o intensitate diferită
a culorii sau negre� Tabelul 1 oferă o prezentare generală simplicată a prolurilor descoperite
în secţiuni�
Figure 3: Artifacts recovered from Tincova 2016 /Artefacte descoperite la Tincova 2016�
Figure 4: South prole of Trench 6 with the position of an artifact recovered in situ
indicated / Prolul sudic al secţiunii 6, cu indicarea poziţiei unui artefact in situ�
Table 1: Location and sizes of the trenches from the 2016 eld campaign. Note that all points
indicate the SW most corner of the trench. All trenches were 60 cm wide / Amplasamentul
şi dimensiunile secţiunilor din campania 2016� A se observa că toate punctele indică cel mai
sud-vestic colţ al secţiunii� Toate secţiunile au avut lăţimea de 60 cm�
Location Depth
Length [m] Orien-
Trench 1 3 4 SSW 1 sediment sample taken
Trench 2 2.15 10 SW
Trench 3 .83 4 N core, quartzite retouched ake
Trench 4 1 4 SSE
Trench 5 .95 4 N
Trench 6 1.15 T-shaped 7X4 N blade, ake, debitage,
sediment samples taken
Trench 7 1.2 4 N
Trench 8 1.9 4 SSW
Table 2: Simplied stratigraphy of the eight investigated trenches from Tincova / Stratigraa
simplicată a celor opt secţiuni cercetate la Tincova�
Description Depth
1 [cm]
2 [cm]
3 [cm]
4 [cm]
5 [cm]
6 [cm]
7 [cm]
8 [cm]
Topsoil with many
roots and organic
material, light
brown in color,
crumble structure
0–15/20 0–25 0–12 0–20 0–15 0–15 As 6, (not
in detail)
Gradual change
towards lighter
(bleached) and more
clay rich horizon,
few roots. Crum-
ble to subangular
structure; clearly
more compact
and clay-rich.
20–70 25–70 12–33 20–40 15–19 15–27 18–49,
up to ca.
Very compact and
colorful (orangish,
blackish, and ochre)
horizon. Very clay
rich with black spots
and a (sub)polyedreic
structure. Black (Mn)
precipitates along
polyedric structures,
partly following
paleo-root structures.
20–230 70–130 33–83 40–100 19–95 27–115 49–102,
than in
Description Depth
1 [cm]
2 [cm]
3 [cm]
4 [cm]
5 [cm]
6 [cm]
7 [cm]
8 [cm]
As above, but more
coarse sand and
small pebbles in
the clay matrix
- 130–
- - - - 102–
up to ca.
6cm in
Some quartz as
coarse sand (and
small pebbles)
... 42-37 ka cal BP; Trinkaus et al., 2003a;Trinkaus et al., 2003b;Trinkaus et al., 2012). The conspicuous absence of accompanying archeological artifacts stimulated the re-investigation of the openair sites of Românesţi, Cosava and Tincova (Figure 1) that highlight the archeological importance of the Banat during the early Upper Paleolithic (e.g., Anghelinu et al., 2012;Sitlivy et al., 2012;Kels et al., 2014;Sitlivy et al., 2014;Chu et al., 2016b). Furthermore, abundant, nearby loess archives have augmented our understanding of the prevailing palaeoenvironmental conditions during the Late Pleistocene (e.g., Schmidt et al., 2013;Kels et al., 2014;Schulte et al., 2014;Obreht et al., 2015;Zeeden et al., 2016;Gavrilov et al., 2018;Pötter et al., 2020). ...
... Research has thus far focused on archeological sites along the western foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. However, those sites are characterized by short sections (<3 m) of Upper Pleistocene sediments thereby hindering high-resolution dating and palaeoenvironmental analyses (e.g., Kels et al., 2014;Chu et al., 2016b;Chu et al., 2019). On the other hand, other geomorphological settings (e.g., lower altitudes) of the Carpathian Basin have received little attention, thereby limiting a broader understanding of how modern humans interacted with the landscape (Dobos and . ...
... On the other hand, other geomorphological settings (e.g., lower altitudes) of the Carpathian Basin have received little attention, thereby limiting a broader understanding of how modern humans interacted with the landscape (Dobos and . This may be related to either a true absence of archeological sites, problematic sedimentological archives with high deposition rates that obscure archeological findings (Tourloukis, 2016) or limited systematic research (Fitzsimmons et al., 2012;Iovita et al., 2014;Chu et al., 2016b;Mihailović, 2020). ...
Full-text available
The Carpathian Basin is a key region for understanding modern human expansion into western Eurasia during the Late Pleistocene because of numerous early hominid fossil find spots. However, the corresponding archeological record remains less understood due to a paucity of well dated, contextualized sites. To help rectify this, we excavated and sampled Crvenka-At (Serbia), one of the largest Upper Paleolithic sites in the region to obtain radiometric ages for the archeological artifacts and evaluate their depositional context and subsequent site formation processes. Our results confirm that this locality represents a multiple-occupation Aurignacian site that dates to 36.4 ± 2.8 ka based on modeling of luminescence ages. Electrical resistivity tomography measurements indicate that the site formed on a sandy-gravelly fill terrace covered by overbank deposits. Complex grain size distributions further suggest site formation in contrasting depositional environments typically occurring alongside fluvial channels, at lakeshores, in alluvial fan or delta settings. The site is thus the closest (ca. 50 km) known Aurignacian site to the earliest undisputed modern human remains in Europe at the Peştera cu Oase and some intervals of the occupation may therefore have been contemporaneous with them. This suggests that modern humans, during their initial settlement of Europe, exploited a wider range of topographic and ecological settings than previously posited. Our findings indicate that lowland areas of the Carpathian Basin are an important part of understanding the early settlement patterns of modern humans in Europe.
... Chu et alii 2016a; Chu 2018, table 4.69 Chu et alii 2016b; Chu 2018, table 4. In addition, a thin section sample of Banat flint from Crvenka -At was analysed (but is not part of this study) and determined to be a match for the Poieni-Pietroasa fault chert.70 Kaminská et alii 2000, p. 66; Féblot-Augustins 2009, p. 38. ...
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This paper presents the results of the petroarchaeological analysis of lithic raw materials from the Upper Palaeolithic site of Românești-Dumbrăvița I. The recent archaeological investigations included field surveys for possible raw material supply sources near the site and petrographic analyses of archaeological and geological samples. The field surveys covered a NW-SE orientated strip between Temerești-Românești-Tomești-Poieni villages, focusing on the source of the so-called “Banat flint” near Poieni village. The resulted data showed that the “Banat flint” and other cherts identified in the area are derived from at least three faults in the Neoproterozoic-Palaeozoic metamorphic suite of the NW Poiana Ruscă Mountains. These cherts are the product of the post-deformational silicification of metacarbonate rocks involved in the faulting processes. They are abundant and have a widespread occurrence in the landscape, as inferred from the frequency and distribution of the find spots. The petrographic analysis of the archaeological materials showed that the predominant raw materials used at Românești-Dumbrăvița I are the shear zone related cherts (including the “Banat flint”). Beside these, other raw material categories were identified: quartzite and vein quartz, other siliceous rocks, obsidian, diagenetic cherts and siliceous mudstones/marlstones. Except for the obsidian, all the other categories suggest a narrow area of raw material procurement territories (< 60 km) for both assemblages from Românești-Dumbrăvița I, with the bulk of them supplied from local sources (< 10 km).
... Some 500 of the artifacts are tools, leading to the interpretation that the site was an Aurignacian workshop (Anghelinu et al. 2012a;Pȃunescu 2000). The high ratio of worked pieces and the low artifact density (c. 9 artifacts/m 3 ) may suggest an excavation bias, though recent research indicates that this may not be the case (Chu, Zeeden, and Petrescu 2016). ...
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Early Upper Paleolithic sites in the Danube catchment have been put forward as evidence that the river was an important conduit for modern humans during their initial settlement of Europe. Central to this model is the Carpathian Basin, a region covering most of the Middle Danube. As the archaeological record of this region is still poorly understood, this paper aims to provide a contextual assessment of the Carpathian Basin’s geological and paleoenvironmental archives, starting with the late Upper Pleistocene. Subsequently, it compiles early Upper Paleolithic data from the region to provide a synchronic appraisal of the Aurignacian archaeological evidence. It then uses this data to test whether the relative absence of early Upper Paleolithic sites is obscured by a taphonomic bias. Finally, it reviews current knowledge of the Carpathian Basin’s archaeological record and concludes that, while it cannot reject the Danube corridor hypothesis, further (geo)archaeological work is required to understand the link between the Carpathian Basin and Central and Southeastern Europe.
... Preservation may be expected to be better in the basin due to relatively high last glacial sedimentation rates (see e.g. Obreht et al., 2015;Rolf et al., 2014;Stevens et al., 2011;Újv ari et al., 2010), relatively low precipitation, and generally higher carbonate contents of last glacial loess than in surrounding mountains (compare Chu et al., 2016b;Kels et al., 2014;Obreht et al., 2015Obreht et al., , 2016. Contrastingly, especially in mountain environments high precipitation rates combined with multiple freezing-thawing cycles per year limit the preservation material of past occupation to a negligible amount, with the exception of caves. ...
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The way in which modern humans first entered Europe has been a recent focus of Upper Paleolithic research. A leading theory posits that the Danube served as a conduit for migration from Southeastern into Central and Western Europe. However, a challenge to this has been the scarcity of Early Upper Paleolithic sites along the Middle Danube (Carpathian) Basin. Though several sites with Early Upper Paleolithic features (Szeletian, Aurignacian) are known from surface prospections, few have been archeologically investigated in detail.
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The early Upper Palaeolithic marks the introduction at a continental scale of a fully-fledged laminar industry, and it is associated with the presence of Homo sapiens in the Near East and in Europe.For this period there are three commonly recognised early Upper Palaeolithic technocomplexes: the Early Aurignacian and the Protoaurignacian, in Europe, and the Early Ahmarian, in the Levant.They have been used to illustrate different dispersal routes and behavioural adaptations to climate change, different regional settings or to infer different land-use and mobility strategies. Still, thereis no consensus on the criteria for assigning one lithic assemblage to a particular early UpperPalaeolithic technocomplex. The early Upper Palaeolithic assemblages from Banat are among those showing ambiguous results when observed through the current taxonomical lens. This paper evaluates the taxonomical stances comparing technological raw data from extensively published early Upper Palaeolithic sites in Europe and the Levant. The comparison of assemblages attributed to different technocomplexes reveals a much more homogenous picture than expected.Various behaviours that are ascribed to a particular technocomplex are widespread in others too,but they are overlooked because of unclear and non-standardised terminology. The present paper shows that trying to fit the archaeological record in abstract, short definitions leads to misunderstandings, with clear implications on the further conclusions made on human past behaviours. It further advocates for creating new shared criteria for analysing lithic assemblages and thus overcoming the taxonomical impasse
Borić et alii 2012, D. Borić et alii, Early modern human settling of the Danube corridor: The Middle to Upper Palaeolithic site of Tabula Traiana Cave in the Danube Gorges (Serbia)
  • M Anghelinu
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