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MESOLITHIC AND NEOLITHIC (DIS)CONTINUITIES IN THE DANUBE GORGES: NEW AMS DATES FROM PADINA AND HAJDUCˇKA VODENICA (SERBIA)

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MESOLITHIC AND NEOLITHIC (DIS)CONTINUITIES IN THEDANUBE GORGES: NEW AMS DATES FROM PADINA ANDHAJDUCˇKA VODENICA (SERBIA)

Text of MESOLITHIC AND NEOLITHIC (DIS)CONTINUITIES IN THE DANUBE GORGES: NEW AMS DATES FROM PADINA AND ...

  • DU AN BORI AND PRESTON MIRACLE

    MESOLITHIC AND NEOLITHIC (DIS)CONTINUITIES IN THEDANUBE GORGES: NEW AMS DATES FROM PADINA ANDHAJDUCKA VODENICA (SERBIA)

    Summary. In this paper we present 17 new AMS dates from theMesolithicEarly Neolithic sites of Padina and Hajdu ka Vodenica and discussthe continuity and nature of occupation at them in the context of theMesolithicNeolithic transformations in the Danube Gorges region (north-central Balkans), c.100005500 Cal BC. The dates indicate long occupationsequences and help refine the stratigraphies of the two sites. They, also enableus to date architectural features, burial positions and bone/antler tools, and tofurther our understanding of the impact of the noted aquatic reservoir effecton radiocarbon dating of human and dog remains from this region. Finally,these dates suggest continuity of occupation at sites other than Lepenski Vir inthe Danube Gorges at the time of the MesolithicNeolithic transition,c.63005950 Cal BC.

    introduction

    Since the excavation of MesolithicEarly Neolithic sites in the Danube Gorges (IronGates) region of the north-central Balkans (Fig. 1) in the 1960s and 1970s it has not been easyto estimate the actual depths of the occupational sequences or to phase numerous human burialsand architectural features to particular chronological periods. This situation is due to the complexstratigraphic superposition of features and the nature of occupation at these locations. New AMSdates from two sites Padina and Hajdu ka Vodenica in the Danube Gorges,1 which we presenthere, allow us for the first time i) to distinguish clearly Mesolithic and Early Neolithic contextsat the site of Padina, ii) to obtain the first radiometric dates for the site of Hajdu ka Vodenica,iii) to provide further information about the noted freshwater reservoir effect in this region withregard to differences in dating human burials and associated bone tools, iv) to date specific burialpositions found in this culture complex, and v) to date specific typological categories ofantler/bone tools. We further examine whether the distribution of the current radiometric

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    OXFORD JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGY 23(4) 341371 2004 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2004, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UKand 350 Main Street Malden, MA 02148, USA. 341

    1 Six AMS dates (OxA-9052, OxA-9053, OxA-9054, OxA-9055, OxA-9056, OxA-9034) were obtained in thecourse of the NERC-funded project directed by Alasdair Whittle (Whittle et al. 2002) and the remaining sevenAMS dates from Padina and four dates from Hajdu ka Vodenica came through the NERC-funded ORADS facility in the course of Du an Bori s Ph.D. project, supervised by Preston Miracle, and in collaboration with the excavator of Padina and Hajdu ka Vodenica, Borislav Jovanovi .cc

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  • evidence in this region indicates continuity of occupation during the Mesolithic and Neolithicperiods.

    conventional and bone collagen radiocarbon dates from padina

    Padina (4430 N 2225 E) is situated in the Upper Gorge of the Danube in the vicinityof the sites of Lepenski Vir and Vlasac (Fig. 1). There are three excavated sectors of thissettlement along the Danubes bank with a complex stratification of the remains of severalprehistoric and later periods (Jovanovi 1969a, 1987). A superposition of Mesolithic and EarlyNeolithic features and finds was noted in all three sectors. Mesolithic architectural features weremainly represented by elongated stone constructions, primarily in Sectors II (Fig. 2) and III (Fig.3; see Fig. 7), while an Early Neolithic date for buildings with trapezoidal floors has beensuggested on the basis of the associated Early Neolithic Star evo-Krs-Cri pottery found insitu on their floors (Jovanovi 1969a, 1987; Bori 1999, 2002b, fig. 2). The trapezoidal buildingswere found only in Sectors I (Fig. 2) and III.

    There are nine previous conventional radiocarbon dates from Padina. Six dates on bonecollagen samples from all three sectors were made at the British Museum (Table 1), five onhuman bones (BM-1143, BM-1144, BM-1146, BM-1147 and BM-1404) and one on a bear bone(BM-1403) (Burleigh and ivanovi 1980; Radiocarbon 24, 1689). These dates indicated amostly Early Mesolithic occupation at the site. On the other hand, three charcoal dates (GrN-8229, GrN-8230 and GrN-7981) came from trapezoidal structures in Sector III (Table 2), i.e.

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    MESOLITHIC AND NEOLITHIC (DIS)CONTINUITIES IN THE DANUBE GORGES

    OXFORD JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGY342 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2004

    Alibeg

    Padina

    Stubica

    Lepenski Vir

    Vlasac

    RazvrataIcoana

    Veterani

    KulaOstrovul Marekm 875 & 873

    OstrovulCorbului

    Ostrovul Banului

    Schela CladoveiHajduckaVodenica

    SERBIA

    ROMANIA

    DANUBE

    PrivodVodneac

    >1000700-1000 m

    500-700 m

    300-500 m

    100-300 m< 100 m

    0 25

    km

    Climente I & II

    Baile Herculane

    Cuina Turcului

    Velesnica

    cave sites

    open-air sites

    Ilisova

    Izlaz

    SvinitaVirtop

    4430'

    2225'

    Figure 1Map of the Danube Gorges with Mesolithic and Early Neolithic sites.

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    Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2004

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    Figure 2Architectural features and burials, Sectors III, Padina; provenance of dated samples marked (plan: courtesy B. Jovanovi ).c

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    LITHIC AND

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    IC (DIS)CONTINUITIES IN THE DANUBE GORGES

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    Figure 3Architectural features and burials, Sector III, Padina; provenience of dated samples marked (plan: courtesy B. Jovanovi ).c

  • DU AN BORI AND PRESTON MIRACLECS

    OXFORD JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGY Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2004 345

    from hearths and charred remains of timber beams of roofs and posts that framed the upperconstruction of buildings (Groningen Database, obtained from Centrum voor IsotopenOnderzoek, Groningen; see Bori 1999, fig. 6). At the moment we lack more precise informationabout the exact provenience of the latter dates at the level of building associations. However,these dates indicate that the occupation of trapezoidal structures coincides with the duration ofthe Early Neolithic in the wider region (cf. Whittle et al. 2002).

    ams dates and correcting the aquatic reservoir ages in the danube gorges

    Absolute dating by using Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) on human anddomesticated dog bone samples in the Danube Gorges is affected by the freshwater reservoireffect (cf. Bonsall et al. 1997, 2000; Cook et al. 2002; Whittle et al. 2002). This situation is dueto the substantial intake of both freshwater and migratory fish, and possibly other food sources

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    table 1Bone collagen dates from Padina (after Burleigh and ivanovi 1980, table 1). All dates calibrated with OxCal v. 3.9

    (Bronk Ramsey 1995, 2001) using INTCAL98 calibration curve (Stuiver et al. 1998)

    lab ID context burial position species 14C Age Cal BC at Cal BC at(bp) 1 s.d. 2 s.d.

    BM-1146 Burial 12 flexed/right, Homo sapiens 9331 58 87208470 87508330(Sector III) perpendicular to the

    Danube headupslope/away from the Danube

    BM-1404 Burial 39 (?)2 (?) Homo sapiens 9292 148 87308290 91508200BM-1147 Burial 14 (?) Homo sapiens 9198 103 85408280 86908230

    (Sector III)BM-1144 Burial 7 extended, perpendicular Homo sapiens 8797 83 82007650 82507600

    (Sector II) to the Danube head upslope/away from the Danube

    BM-1403 (?) Sector III n/a Ursus arctos 8138 121 75406800 75506700BM-1143 Burial 2 extended, parallel to Homo sapiens 7738 51 66406480 66506460

    (Sector I) the Danube head downstream

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    table 2Charcoal dates from Padina (source: Groningen Database). All dates calibrated with OxCal v. 3.9 (Bronk Ramsey

    1995, 2001) using INTCAL98 calibration curve (Stuiver et al. 1998)

    lab ID context material 14C Age (bp) Cal BC at 1 s.d. Cal BC at 2 s.d.GrN-8229 trapezoidal bldg(?) hearth charcoal 6570 55 56105470 56305380GrN-8230 occupation layer(?) charcoal 7100 80 60605840 61605780GrN-7981 trapezoidal bldg(?) charcoal 7075 50 60005840 60305800

    2 It is not clear to what burial this date relates. Burleigh and ivanovi 1980 mention it as Infans I. However,there is no burial marked as Infans I at Padina (see Roksandi 1999, Appendix I).c

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  • rich in protein, depending on the complexity of the food web (Grupe et al. 2003; Bori et al.in press). This situation makes the measurements older due to the deposition of old carbon(e.g. Lanting and van der Plicht 1998) and requires a correction of uncalibrated measurements.These corrections are critical for the dating of specific contexts and for the question regardingthe continuity of occupation at Padina.

    Here, for the correction of the freshwater reservoir effect, we adopt one of three methodssuggested by Cook et al. (2002). According to that study, one should apply the correction of200500 years to those dated human burials with high d15N values, depending on individualvalues of d15N and d13C and their ratios. In order to estimate the correction factor for the reservoireffect, these authors take the highest d15N value of +17 measured for an adult individual fromLepenski Vir (Burial 89a: Bonsall et al. 1997, table 5) as an end-point for a 100 per cent aquaticdiet while an end-point of +8 is equated with a 100 per cent terrestrial diet (Cook et al. 2002,81). Cook et al. suggested three methods of correcting the freshwater reservoir effect in theDanube Gorges on the basis o

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