Banat open-air sites with Early Upper Palaeolithic stone artefacts
This year’s fieldwork in Romania (April - May) followed a twofold strategy: the analysis of Upper Palaeolithic stone artefact collections, as well as extended archaeological surveys in different, hitherto unexplored parts of Romania. Project members are V. Sitlivy, M. Anghelinu, V. Chabai, H. Kels, A. Veselsky, T. Hauck and C. Tutu.
Within the survey project we detected artefact concentrations at promising localities, such as Loess covered plateaus in the lowlands or river valleys, in combination with an investigation of the geological context at nearby natural exposures.
Concerning artefact analyses, studied material comprised Upper Palaeolithic collections from three sites in the Banat region, namely Tincova, Coşava and Româneşti-Dumbrǎviţa. This material is housed at the Museum of History in Lugoj and the Museum of Natural History in Bucharest. Of special interest are the Early Upper Palaeolithic assemblages (Aurignacian) as they represent the earliest traces left by Anatomically Modern Humans in the course of their migration into Europe. In this context, the investigation of the mentioned Banat sites is all the more important since the oldest fossils of modern humans in Europe were discovered in nearby caves (Peştera cu Oase, Cioclovina). However, these human bones were found without any archaeological remains, so the artefact assemblages of the Banat open-air sites are of crucial value for understanding the technological prerequisite which was necessary for the successful diaspora into Europe.
Natural exposures at the Upper Palaeolithic site of Coşava I.
Photo: Thomas Hauck