Authors:Béla Rácz, György Szakmány, and Katalin T. Biró
On the territory Transcarpathian Ukraine, about 100 Palaeolithic localities are known up to our days. Most of them are surface finds. In spite of the rich archaeological heritage, the elaboration of the material, especially its petroarchaeological evaluation supported by professional scientific analytical methods, is in the initial phase as yet. The aim of the present study is to supply information on the lithic raw materials of the Palaeolithic settlements in Transcarpathian Ukraine, the detailed survey and description of the primary raw materials, their identification, description and terminology, as well as the outlining of the local raw material provinces and study of the distribution of the raw materials on archaeological sites.
In the archaeological literature of Transcarpathian Ukraine, lithic raw materials are still described under incorrect petrographical terms. For example, for the raw material of Korolevo Palaeolithic site is, correctly speaking, hyaline dacite, and the “flints” of Beregovo region are indeed rocks of volcanic origin which have undergone metasomatic processes. Field survey for collecting geological samples localized 19 different raw material sources all of which yielded hard rocks with conchoidal fracture that are suitable for tool making with knapping.
Out of the 19 raw material types 11 were actually found in archaeological assemblages of the studied area. The most popular raw materials of Transcarpathian Ukraine are the Korolevo hyaline dacite, Rokosovo obsidian, (Carpathian 3 type) and siliceous rhyolite tuff varieties (type I and II), siliceous tuffite (type I and II), siliceous and opalised rhyolite (type I and II) from the Beregovo Hills area, as well as silicified sandstone (type II) and the siliceous argillite. Certain types of potential raw materials were found in archaeological assemblages as yet. These are the Kriva limno-chalcedonite and limnoopalite, radiolarite of Svalyava type I, II and III, the siliceous limestone of Svalyava and Priborzhavske, and the hornfels of Suskovo.
The paper also points out patterns in lithic raw material circulation in the prehistoric period of Transcarpathia. In the Palaeolithic, the settlement system and location of sites was largely dependent on the lithic sources. Altogether 9 types of rocks played important role: Korolevo hyaline dacite, the Carpathian 3 type obsidian from Rokosovo, 6 types of metasomatites of Beregovo Hills, and the silicified sandstone (type II). Upper Palaeolithic communities settled close to the outcrops of primary and secondary geological positions and this phenomenon is observable at each important Palaeolithic settlement.
On the basis of the principal raw material circulation of the Palaeolithic three territorial groups have been formulated. These are named after the most abundant and used rock types of the given region. Three raw material regions are recognized in Transcarpathia: volcanic, metasomatic, and sedimentary. Furthermore, sub-regions were also established in the volcanic region (Rokosovo-Maliy Rakovets and Korolevo-Veryatsa sub-regions) and in the metasomatic region (Beregovo, Muzhiyevo and Bene- Kvasovo sub-regions).