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The aim of this study is to identify the milestones of landscape evolution around the Ecse Mound (Karcag-Kunmadaras, Hortobágy National Park, Hungary) in the Holocene period by sedimentological and malacological analysis of strata underneath and within the body of the kurgan concerned, including that of the same characteristics of the artificially piled layers. An undisturbed core drilling was carried out and the sedimentological properties of both the mound and of the substrate baserock were revealed, analysis of which has been supported by three radiocarbon (AMS) measurements. The baserock formation during the last phase of the Ice Age, Middle and Upper Pleniglacial, and Late Glacial phases was followed by soil development in the Holocene, while the mound was constructed in two phases at the end of the Copper Age by the communities of the Pit Grave (Yamna or Ochre Grave) Culture. By publishing these preliminary data, it is also intended to draw attention to the need of focused research efforts by standardized methodology in kurgan research, in order to make the results of different studies consistent and comparable.

Open access
Central European Geology
Authors: Ádám Bede, Roderick B. Salisbury, András István Csathó, Péter Czukor, Dávid Gergely Páll, Gábor Szilágyi, and Pál Sümegi

The Ecse-halom is a burial mound (kurgan) in the Hortobágy region of Hungary. Built in the Late Copper Age/Early Bronze Age by nomadic people from the east, it now stands on the border between two modern settlements. A road of medieval origin runs along this border and cuts deeply into the body of the mound. The southern half of the mound was plowed and used as a rice field, and later a military observation tower was built on top of it. Despite this disturbance, the surface of the mound is in decent condition and provides a home for regionally significant, species-rich loess steppe vegetation. The mound comprises two construction layers as indicated by magnetic susceptibility and thin-section micro-morphological analysis. Examination of organic compounds and carbonate content at various levels showed different values, which suggest a variety of natural and anthropogenic stratigraphic layers. Mid-sized siltstone fraction is dominant in the section. The layers originate from the immediate vicinity of the mound, but have different characteristics than present-day soils. These mounds contain a valuable record of cultural and environmental conditions occurring at the time of their construction, and also serve as a refuge for ancient loess vegetation; therefore their conservation is highly recommended.

Open access