The findings of the project addressing Early Neolithic lifeways in Central Europe were published in 2013 (P. Bickle, A. Whittle). As part of this research project, samples from human and animal skeletons from various Linearbandkeramik (LBK) sites of the immense area extending from Transdanubia to Alsace were submitted to stable isotope analyses in order to reconstruct the mobility, diet and social structure of Early Neolithic groups. However, owing to the nature of the submitted samples, the conclusions drawn from the analyses cannot be applied to the early LBK phase because very few human remains are known from this period, especially from East Central Europe. Interaction between households and groups — as well as the crucial issue of LBK origins — can principally be reconstructed from the study of the material culture, especially from the analysis of lithic tools and pottery (and their raw materials).The study focuses on the early LBK phase, on the comparison of the material culture of Mesolithic foragers and the LBK, and on the assessment of the finds from LBK households and settlements. This analysis is restricted to the Central European diffusion of the LBK, to the main axis extending from Transdanubia to southern Poland.
This is a study of the stone tools found in the rubble of a Prototiszapolgár culture house and the humus layer above during the 2007 excavations of Polgár-Bosnyákdomb. This assemblage marks an important interface between Late Neolithic and Early Copper Age lithic industries in this transitional period. The repertoire of raw materials is dominated by specimens from eastern sources, while the technology is characterized with Late Neolithic traditions.
The Balkans, particularly southern and central, were sparsely populated in the Mesolithic and the occupation networks in that period were discontinous and highly diversified, contrasting with the density and homogeneity of the Early Neolithic. The aim of this paper is to describe the environmental conditions of the Mesolithic sites in relation to Early Holocene climatic fluctuations and to discuss the causes of specificity and diversity of culture and behaviour at this period.
Some general trends are observable in the adaptation to Early Holocene environments (trends in faunal exploitation; for ex. shift from high ranked large game to low ranked small animals) but also particular adaptations to local conditions (technological changes due to difficulties in access to better quality lithic raw materials, adaptations to coastal or to terrestrial resources reflecting the unique features of site use, etc).
The diversity of the Mesolithic is also reflected in cultural taxonomy: in some sequences continuity of the Balkan Epigravettian techno-morphological tradition can be seen as opposed, in other sequences, to highly isolated groups with technology and tool morphology adapted to local raw materials and specific activities. The Balkan Mesolithic was not completely cut-off from the Western Mediterranean techno-morphological influences (particularly in Southern Greece) and from the Anatolian lithic traditions (seen only in the Northern Aegean). A more intensive network of marine contacts is confirmed by obsidian circulation in the Aegean Basin.
A salvage excavation preceding a major investment project was conducted in 2006–2007, during which associated settlement features of a Middle Neolithic, Eastern Linear Pottery Culture (Alföld Linearbandkeramik — ALBK) were uncovered in an area called Piócási-dűlő on the eastern outskirts of Polgár. The features of the ALBK settlement date from two periods. The cluster of multi-functional pits yielding a rich assortment of finds, the handful of post-holes and an unusual ritual well found in the southern part of the investigated area formed one unit from the earliest phase of the Middle Neolithic (ALBK I). The settlement’s other occupation can be assigned to the late phase of the Middle Neolithic (ALBK IV). Five houseplans representing the remains of timber-framed buildings outlined a distinct area with three multi-functional pits. Associated with the above features were 8 burials.The preliminary archaeobotanical results from Polgár-Piócási-dűlő are based on the plant material found within the sediments of 11 archaeological structures, which mainly represent pits and a welI. It can be stated that the natural environment offered habitats in which oak trees dominated in the local vegetation, forming floodplain forests and wooded steppes. They also provided food in the form of fruits and formed an optimal habitat for domestic animals. Arable fields were probably also established in the vicinity of the settlements, suggested by findings of macroscopic plant remains that represented cultivated species.In both settlement phases lithic production activities are manifested both by the local on-site lithic production and — most importantly — by the presence of imported, mainly mesolocal, raw materials that point to contacts with deposit areas, or off-site preliminary working of obsidian and limnoquartzites. The kit of harvesting tools and a large number of grinding stones — especially in the younger phase — for the preparation of plant food suggest a major role of plant cultivation.
The general inventory of the chipped stone artefacts coming from the LBK features at Apc indicates that a specific, small scale, local lithic production was conducted on-site. Majority of used raw materials are limnoquartzites (nearly 70%) originating mainly from the Mátra and Cserhát Mountains. The use of rather poor quality local raw materials influenced the technique of working raw materials, which was employed throughout the period of the functioning of LBK settlements at Apc. As a consequence, most tools were made on flakes. At the same time, as early as the oldest phase a limited supply of blade blanks and blade tools, produced elsewhere, was used. The ground stone artefacts and fragments included lower and upper grinding stones, plaquettes with polished surfaces, hammerstones, grinders/pounders. The raw materials used in the ground stone industry are either local (quartz, conglomerate, sandstone) or mesolocal (gabbro, basalt) coming from river alluvia or from the hills at the Hungarian—Slovakian border. Andesites, probably from the Mátra Mountains, occur in small quantities. Thus, the raw materials exploited at Apc demonstrate contacts with eastern region, however the site is the easternmost LBK settlement.
The topographical position and size of the site, the number of detected houses, the presence of the early phase make the Apc-Berekalja I settlement one of the most significant sites of the LBK in Hungary. The ongoing processing of the excavation data provided already some very important observations. The geoarchaeological results demonstrated the presence of the in situ soil of the Neolithic period and effects of floods on the settlement. The study of the chipped and ground stone material coming from the Neolithic features revealed no conspicuous changes in the lithic industry of the settlement from the pre-Notenkopf to Želiezovce phases of the LBK. Lithic raw materials came exclusively from territories to the east of the site, which is an evidence of the isolation of the LBK groups that inhabited Apc.