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2020-05-12 09:34:23   •   ID: 2180

News from Bacho Kiro Level 11 (I) the Type Site of the IUP in S-E Europe

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I was always covinced, that this 9 cm long Blade with facetted base from an old Bulgarian collection was something special.

According to the records it was found as a single surface find at the Dryanovo river near Bacho Kiro in North Bulgaria- the Type site for the IUP in South East Europe (the „Bachokirian“).

Beside some intentional or post - depositional notches, flat retouches are confined to its apical part.

The ventral part is partially covered with a thin and hard stone matrix, the artifact is covered by a whitish patina.

The morphology of the artifact resembles items from the IUP/EUP of the Levant but has neither affinities to the Aurignacian, characterized by often thick blades with a lateral retouche, or the Gravettian with its long, straight and narrow blanks, nor resembles the Levallois-point like Bohunician stone tips.

Interestingly, the tool morphology of our point clearly resembles the smaller (max 6 long) pointed Blades from Manot cave (Israel) and the pointed Blades (length up to 11 cm) from Level I at Bacho Kiro cave (Kozlowski's level 11), shown in a paper published recently- see external links.

Regarding the IUP of Bulgaria, genuine blade technology progressively replaced the Levallois chaine operatoire, which seems to be nevertheless still present at Temnata VI and Bacho Kiro 11 (Kozlowski's excavations).

However, typologically Middle and Upper Palaeolithic types (for example heavily retouched side-scrapers and Mousterian Points) persist in these assemblages.

Apically retouched, mostly broken pointed blades, similar to the artifact of this post, are also characteristic for the earliest Upper Paleolithic of Bulgaria.

After the groundbreaking modern excavations at Bacho Kiro, carried out by a Bulgarian / Polish team (Kozlowski 1983), new Excavations by Bulgarian Archaeologists and a team of the MPG in Leipzig took place since 2005.

About the Material of the new excavations, Tsanova et al. (2019) stated that the ensemble of the IUP level is characterized by

"1) selection of fine-grained aptian flints which come from sources in Ludogorie region between 90 and 180 km northeast of the cave;

2) pointed blades (some of them potentially functioning as tips on projectiles based on diagnostic macro-fractures);

3) variability in the size of blades with small blades produced in continuity; 4) bladelets obtained also by reflaking tools and blanks;

4) reduction method and technique close to Levallois;

5) a high degree of retouched tools and shaping flakes, reduction by reflaking (rédebitage), fragmentation and retouch, according to different modalities: on anvil percussion (splintered pieces), on the ventral face of a flake (Kombewa), on the edge of a tool (burin blows);

6) micro wear traces on pointed blades and retouched blades associated with wood cutting, splintered pieces with bone and antler working, and on endscrapers associated with skin scraping;

7) absence of Aurignacian technology (lithic, osseous). Layer I also contains a large faunal assemblage accumulated anthropogenically and personal ornaments made of animal bone and teeth"

But even more important are the results of an extensive C-14 dating program and the analysis from human remains of the taphonomic minimally disturbed Level I at Bacho Kiro I:

"The extensive IUP assemblage, now associated with directly dated H. sapiens fossils at this site, securely dates to 45,820–43,650 cal BP (95.4% probability), probably beginning from 46,940 cal BP (95.4% probability).

This is the oldest date for a H. Sapiens Population that entered Europe during MIS3 so far and the first unambiguous indication that at least one of the so called: "Transitional Industries" was made by this Species.

Surf the Blog: Discussion about the IUP/EUP: 1603 , here 1495 , and here: 1557