M.CÂRCIUMARU, E.-C. NIȚU, Redefining the Epigravetian and Epipaleolithic,

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  1 Introduction  The archaeological investigations in the Iron Gates area were given an unparalleled impetus with the commencement of the construction works of the Hydro-energetic Complex in this region. At that time the “Iron Gates Complex Research Group” was created and, from 1964 to 1971, multidisciplinary investigations were conducted for the entire area of the Danube, including archaeological ones undertaken between Ș imian and Moldova Veche, so on a large surface (143 km) which covered the entire area that was to be flooded by the waters of the future storage basin (fig. 1/1-3). Their extent was unprecedented and received great support from a reputable personality, C. S. Nicol ă escu-Plop ș or, and, very soon, sites attributed to the Palaeolithic were found, which something was new in this area where no such settlement had been known until then (Nicol ă escu-Plop ș or et al.  1968). Of the settlements discovered, some had preserved Epipalaeolithic habitations  sensu lato  : Cuina Turcului, Climente I and II, the Veterani Cave, Veterani Teras ă  point, Ostrovul Banului, Ogradena R ă zvrata, Ogradena Teras ă . Unfortunately, many settlements have an uncertain stratigraphic context, while with most of them the Redefining the Epigravettian and Epipalaeolithic in the Rock Shelter of Cuina Turcului (the Iron Gates Gorges of the Danube, Romania), with Special Emphasis on Art Objects Marin CÂRCIUMARU (a) , Elena-Cristina NI Ț U (a) Abstract:  The Cuina Turcului rock shelter is located on the Romanian bank of the Iron Gates Gorges of the Danube. Archaeological investigations conducted in the 1960’s revealed, in the lower part of the deposit, the existence of two habitation levels, whose cultural definition has changed several times over the years. Due to lithic material features, hard animal materials, C-14 dates and especially personal ornaments and art object, we consider that the first layer belongs to the Epigravettian and the second to the Epipalaeolithic. The richness, diversity and particularities of portable art in the Epigravettian layer I justifies its defining as a regional independent facies, called Clisurean  . Key-words:  Cuina Turcului, Epigravettian, Epipalaeolithic, portable art, personal objects, Clisurean. Résumé :   La redéfinition de l’Épigravettien et de l’Épipaléolithique de l’abri sous roche de Cuina Turcului (le Défilé des Portes de Fer du Danube, Roumanie), avec un regard particulier sur les objets d’art.  L’abri sous roche de Cuina Turcului est situé sur la rive roumaine du Défilé des Portes de Fer du Danube. Les fouilles archéologiques entreprises dans les années soixante du XX e  siècle écoulé ont mis en évidence l’existence, dans la partie inférieure du gisement, de deux niveaux d’habitation dont l’identification culturelle a, depuis, été corrigée plusieurs fois. Compte tenu des caractéristiques du matériau lithique, du MDA, des datations C-14 et notamment des parures et des objets d’art, nous considérons que la première couche appartient à l’Épigravettien, alors que la deuxième couche appartient à l’Épipaléolithique. La richesse, la diversité et les particularités de l’art mobilier en particulier provenant de la couche de l’Épigravettien I justifie la définition de celui-ci comme un faciès régional distinct, appelé Clisurean.   Mots-clés :  Cuina Turcului, Épigravettien, Épipaléolithique, art mobilier, parures, Clisurean. (a) “Princely Court” National Museum Târgovi  ş te, Museum of Human Evolution and Technology in Palaeolithic, 7 Justi  ţ  iei Street, Târgovi  ş te 130017, Dâmbovi  ţ  a County, Romania - mcarciumaru@yahoo.com; elenacristinanitu@yahoo.com PALEO – N° 29 – Décembre 2018 – Pages 00 à 00  archaeological materials are not separated according to cultural layers (P ă unescu 2000). The only site in which the two Epipalaeolithic layers are well-defined stratigraphically is Cuina Turcului, where Al. P ă unescu (1970, 1978, 1989, 2000) conducted accurate excavations and made quite pertinent stratigraphic observations. The cultural definitions of the two Epipalaeolithic layers of Cuina Turcului have repeatedly changed over time, starting with their being included in a local facies called Clisurean   (Nicol ă escu-Plop ș or et al.  1965 - p. 408; Boronean ț  2000), then in the Romanello - Azilian (Nicol ă escu-Plop ș or et al.  1968; P ă unescu 1970), Epipalaeolithic (P ă unescu 1978; D. Bori ć  2011), Tardigravettian (P ă unescu 1989), Tardigravettian of the Mediterranean type (P ă unescu 2000), Epigravettian (Bonsall and Boronean ț  2016) and even the Early Mesolithic (Bonsall 2008; Boronean ț  2011). The cultural definition of both layers was done uniformly, even though they are different, at least chrono-stratigraphically. The only author who advocated the existence of clear differentiations between the two layers of Cuina Turcului is D. Srejovi ć  (1968). He includes the first layer in the Epigravettian and the second in the Epipalaeolithic. Later, D. Srejovi ć  and L. Zagorka (1978) analysed and argued the differences between the two layers of Cuina Turcului, affirming the need to reassess the first layer and include it in a special facies that should have its own name, possibly the name of the site. The engraved objects of Cuina Turcului have been most frequently invoked to particularise the communities here. Unfortunately, in almost all studies published by authors of those finds (P ă unescu 1970, 1978, 2000; Boronean ț  2000), the description of decorations on various art objects is much too general; there is no analysis of details on each of them, and no elaborate technological study which might determine how the engravings were made, what tools were used and explain the chaîne opératoire   for the decorations on each item (see, for example, P ă unescu 1970). The 2 M. CÂRCIUMARU, E.-C. NI Ț U Figure 1 - The Iron Gates Gorges of the Danube and the Cuina Turcului rock shelter. 1-Epigravettian, Epipalaeolithic and Mesolithic settlements of the Iron Gorges; 2-gorges images; 3-the Dubova gulf; 4-the Cuina Turcului rock shelter during a low flow of the storage basin; 5-the Cuina Turcului rock shelter before the filling of the basin; 6-N-NW profile of trench M, sections III and IV (1 - after D. Bori  ć  , 2011; 2,3 - photo by N. Grimacovschi; 4 - after A. Boronean  ț  , A. B  ă l  ăș escu 2016; 5 - dup  ă  V. Boronean  ț  , 1999, fig. 7; 6 - modified after A. P  ă unescu 2000, p. 340, fig. 136). Figure 1 - Défilé du Danube des Portes de Fer et abri sous roche Cuina Turcului : 1 - habitats épigravettiens, épipaléolithiques et mésolithiques des Portes de Fer ; 2 - vues sur le défilé ; 3 - baie de Dubova ; 4 - l’abri sous roche Cuina Turcului pendant le bas débit du lac d’accumulation ; 5 - l’abri sous roche de Cuina Turcului avant le remplissage du lac ; 6 - profil N-NO de la section M, sections III et IV (1 - d’après D. Bori  ć   2011; 2, 3 - photos N. Grimacovschi; 4 - d’après A. Boronean  ț  , A. B  ă l  ăș escu 2016 ; 5 - d’après V. Boronean  ț   1999, fig. 7 ; 6 - modifié d’après A. P  ă unescu 2000, p. 340, fig. 136).  publication of the doctoral theses of C. Beldiman (2007) on osseous industry and of M. M ă rg ă rit (2008) on art objects was meant to be a step forward. Unfortunately, with the former, the materials are almost impossible to identify, having been included in a regional typology made for the territory of Romania and with an unusable graphics. In the latter case, the art objects did not benefit by an illustration to match the importance of the material. Viewed as a whole, with no chronostratigraphic separation, the engraved art objects of Iron Gates lose their ability to individualise the communities that were contemporaneous with the Tardiglacial. As a matter of fact, it has been recently suggested that the only solution for their separation would be to dating the items directly with a view to establishing a certain chronological framework (Bonsall 2008; Bonsall and Boronean ț  2016). In this study, we shall try to determine if the two layers of Cuina Turcului belong to the same culture or, on the contrary, if there are sufficient arguments to culturally differentiate them. The engraved art objects will be the highlight of analysis, with focus on identifying the stylistic particularities of engravings in order to determine the symbolic and social characteristics of the communities discovered here. The information resulting from the analysis of art items will be corroborated with the analysis of the existing bibliography regarding other categories of materials found (the lithic material and hard animal material, the mammalian and ichthyologic fauna), which also provides several elements that prompt a cultural differentiation of the two habitations. All this adds to the arguments regarding the existence of an srcinal Epigravettian facies in the Iron Gates area. 1 - Context of discoveries 1.1 - Site context and chronostratigraphy  The 1961 investigations revealed the important settlement of Cuina Turcului (Nicol ă escu-Plop ș or et al.  1965), a well-defined rock shelter, 40 m long and 25 m high, about 450 m downstream of the entrance to Cazanele Mari, at the foot of the Ciucarul Mare massif, (44°35’30»N, 22°15’33’’E) (fig. 1/1-3). The shelter, which today lies under the waters of the Iron Gates storage basin, was located at the time of its formation at an absolute altitude of 60 m and 12 m above the Danube level (fig. 1/4-5). The first survey conducted by C. S. Nicol ă escu-Plop ș or and his collaborators was enough to allow him to draw important conclusions and attempt an attribution that was surprisingly accurate for the stage of the research. The great palaeolithician’s intuition made him include two lower layers of the deposit in the Epipalaeolithic, a culture unknown in that area up to that moment. Furthermore, he noted that the traits of this period here were “distinct from those we know around”, which prompted him to propose the attribution of the Cuina Turcului layers to a “new culture” he called the “Clisurean culture” with two stages: the Lower and Upper Clisurean (Nicol ă escu-Plop ș or et al. 1965 - p. 408). Moreover, he would observe the possible analogies of the Upper Clisurean with the West-European Azilian, remarking that the discovery at Cuina Turcului of snail shells of Mediterranean srcins, such as Dentalium  , may be an argument for the existence of contacts between the respective cultural areas. At that time, he would assert that there were no significant cultural differences between the two layers, namely the Upper and the Lower Clisurean. Stratigraphically, the two layers are separated from the Neolithic habitation and from each other by archaeologically sterile levels (Nicol ă escu-Plop ș or et al.  1965, 1968; P ă unescu, 1970, 1978, 1989, 2000). The stratigraphic difference is also supported by absolute dating. The few C-14 dates obtained are of real help in specifying their age (tabl. 1) and even in terms of a more precise cultural attribution, in accordance with the accepted European terminology. To avoid possible confusions, some clarifications are necessary. We have attributed layer I, which was initially defined as Epipalaeolithic I, to the Epigravettian (=Clisurean). It developed between 12.600 ± 120 B.P. (Bln. 803) and 11.960 ± 60 B.P. (GrN 12,665). As regards layer II, designated as Epipalaeolithic II at first, we shall continue to refer to it as Epipalaeolithic. Its age is between 10.435±45 B.P. (OxA 19.203) and 10.125±200 B.P. (Bln 802). Therefore, the Cuina Turcului Epigravettian (Clisurean) layer I was contemporaneous with the second part of the Tardiglacial, which would mean that it reached the end of Bölling climatic oscillation (13.300-12.300 B.P.), the cooling during Dryas 2 (12.300-11.800 B.P.) and some part of Alleröd climatic amelioration (11.800-10.800). The Epipalaeolithic II layer was possibly deposited entirely in the cold episode of Dryas 3 (which occurred from 10.800 to 10.000 B.P.). Generally, such attribution of Cuina Turcului layers, which should include Alleröd climatic oscillation and late Dryas, was suggested by Al. Bolomey (1970) as well, based on the study of mammalian fauna. Pollen analysis is too little revealing in this case, as for layer I and layer II only a pollen spectrum is mentioned for each. In the context of C-14 dates obtained after the palynological study, the results may be nevertheless reinterpreted. The fact that the first pollen spectrum is characterised, along with the existence of the Pinus genus (the species of which has not been determined), by the significant presence of thermophilic deciduous trees of the mixed oak group (37 %), in which Tilia   was 23%, is an sign of an indubitable climatic amelioration, which might have been precisely the end of Bölling climatic oscillation, as indicated by C-14 dates as well. But it is harder to explain the second pollen spectrum, to the extent that, curiously enough, it is stated that it was obtained from almost 2 m of sediment accumulated. That is why, in this context, what the authors of the palynological study state should not surprise us: according to them, this spectrum, in which linden reached over 70%, shows that we were in Boreal period. Of course, this is hard to accept considering that the C-14 dates point to the minimum age 10.125±200 B.P. (Bln 802) for the Cuina Turcului layer II. In conclusion, the palynological study of the Cuina Turcului rock shelter deposit, which has often been invoked without careful consideration, should be interpreted with much caution, at least with regard to the Epigravettian and Epipalaeolithic layers. 1.2 - Faunal remains  The fossil fauna was determined by Al. Bolomey (1970, 1973). Between the two layers, there are differences not only in terms of the species represented, but also in the minimum number of individuals. This does not mean that there aren’t also common elements. The identified species are: Suids, Castor fibex, Capra ibex, Rupricapra rupicapra, 3 Redefining the Epigravettian and Epipalaeolithic in the Rock Shelter of Cuina Turcului (the Iron Gates Gorges of the Danube, Romania), with Special Emphasis on Art Objects  Bos/Bison, Alces alces (elan), Capreolus capreolus, Cervus elaphus, Equus caballus, Canis lupuc, Vulpes vulpes, Ursus arctos, Martes sp., Felis silvestris, Putorius putorius, Lepus europaeus  . The most significant species difference between the two layers is the percentage of boars hunted: boar is highly prevalent in layer I (17.7 % MNI) and scarce in layer II (2.3 % MNI). Deer and polecats are identified only in layer II. Furthermore, Bos/Bison   is much better represented in layer II (14.2 % MNI as compared to 2.2 % MNI in layer I), while in layer I there is a higher percentage of moose and doe. An interesting fact is the large number (and similar percentages) of the two species Capra ibex   and Rupicapra rupicapra   in both layers. They are known to be alpine species. Besides, the presence of the species Capra ibex   in layer II seems to be the tardiest occurrence of this species in Romania. D. Mihailovi ć  (2008) notes that the presence of faunal remains belonging to various habitats, forest, steppe and mountain, suggests indirectly that the shelter functioned as a base camp. In addition to mammals, bird bones and fragments of turtle shell were recovered from the deposit of both layers (Bolomey 1970). The analysis of fish bones has revealed a large difference between the species caught during the sedimentation of the two layers attributed to the Epigravettian (layer I) and the Epipalaeolithic (layer II). In layer I, 5 species have been determined (plaice, carp, pike, zander, perch), with plaice and zander prevailing. In layer II, 8 species have been identified, plaice and sturgeons (sterlet, Russian sturgeon) being most prevalent. In addition to sturgeons, catfish was also found only in layer II. Following the analysis of catfish bones, it was concluded that some specimens reached 15-40 kg and a length of up to 2 m (Nalbant 1970). In layer II there is an obvious predilection for the fishing of large species, difficult to catch, some of them, such as sturgeons, not being available throughout the entire year (Dinu 2010). Analysing the quantity of fish bones, Al. Bolomey (1970 - p. 39) believes that fishing in layer I was a sporadic occupation, while in layer II it provided about 25-30% of the community food. 1.3 - Anthropological discoveries  The human bones were determined by D. Nicol ă escu-Plop ș or (1970). In the first layer, only two molars belonging to adult individuals were found. In the second layer, several osteological fragments from four individuals were discovered: a human foetus about 7 and a half – 8 months old, found in trench K, an adult, probably female, under 30 years of age in trench M, two adults, one of whom relatively robust, probably male, in trench B. The female bones in trench M and those of an individual in trench B have been recently dated (tabl. 1). 1.4 - General considerations of the lithic material  The whole lithic assemblage, which is very large, was analysed by Al. P ă unescu in several studies (1970, 1978, 2000), using a method based on the inclusion of tools in the type lists established by D. Soneville-Bordes and J. Perrot (1954, 1955, 1956a, b). In his last work about Cuina Turcului, Al. P ă unescu (2000) mentions an impressive number of lithic materials found in this site: 28.352 items in the first layer and 44.262 items in the second layer. Of the total amount of discovered items, the percentage of tools is very small: 4,73 % in layer I (1.340 tools) and 4,57 % in layer II (2.022 tools). In both layers, the materials are microlithic, 98 % of them less than 3 cm long. The typology table made by Al. P ă unescu (2000) has been translated in a recent article, with some additional brief observations (Bonsall and Boronean ț  2016). A preliminary analysis was carried out by E. H. Dinan (1996), who examined 1.103 items from layer I and 747 from layer II, hence much less than the number provided by Al. P ă unescu (2000). However critical we might be of Al. P ă unescu’s definitions 4 M. CÂRCIUMARU, E.-C. NI Ț U Layer Depth in m and the context of the sample The material used for dating Laboratory and age B. P. Layer II - Epipaleolithic Trench M Human bones, Individual 1, adult, female, left humerus OxA - 19.203: 10.435±45 Layer II - Epipaleolithic Trench B Human bones, Individual 2, adult, man?, 25–30 years, left ulna OxA - 19202: 10.350±45 Layer II - Epipaleolithic 3,68 - 3,85 (intermediate A,   hearth at the  base of the layer) Wood charcoal, ashes,  burnt bones Bln. 802: 10.125 ± 200 Layer I - Epigravettian (Clisurean) 5,70 - 5,85 (trench Ș , hearth at the base of the layer) Pine charcoal GrN. 12.665: 11.960 ± 60 Layer I - Epigravettian (Clisurean) 5,90 - 5,95 (trench B, hearth at the base of the layer) Pine charcoal Bln. 803: 12.600 ± 120 Layer I - Epigravettian (Clisurean) 6,20 - 6,40 (trench O, hearth at the base of the layer) Pine charcoal Bln. 804: 12.050 ± 120 Table 1 - C-14 datings of the Cuina Turcului Epigravettian and Epipalaeolithic cultural layers. Tableau 1 - Datations C-14 des couches Épigravettien et Épipaléolithique de Cuina Turcului.  and method of study applied, apart from his articles and syntheses there is no other analysis of the entire material. As presented, the materials in the two layers reflect an Epigravettian tradition and are similar to those defined for some settlement in the east of the Adriatic Sea (Jankovi ć   et al.  2012; Karavani ć   et al.  2013). That is why, there seems to be no significant difference between the types of tools defined for both layers, as tradition has put its stamp on the general structure. Nevertheless, for some specific Epigravettian types, percentages differ: enscrapers are more numerous in layer II (47,91 % in layer I, 58,11 % in layer II), including unguiform and thumbnail ones; geometric microliths are more frequent in layer I (7,76 % and 3,61 % respectively), particularly the lunates and the triangles as well as the La Gravette  , microgravette   points and the Azilian points, while backed bladelets in a slightly higher proportion in layer II. Naturally, this may be a consequence of the difference between the way of subsistence and activities practiced in the two layers, but the Epigravettian nature remains in both habitations, more prominent in the first layer, though. Technically, the percentage of debitage products is difficult to assess accurately in Al. P ă unescu’s work (2000). But, doing some calculations in the published table, in which tools have not been included, the following general tendencies may be noticed: in layer I the aim of lithic production was to obtain bladelets (4,62%, as compared to 0,14 % blades and 1,52 % flakes), whereas in layer II flakes and bladelets have similar percentages (5,51%, and 4,55 %, as compared to 0,50 % blades). It may be said that, as regards layer I, there is a clearer specialisation of the knapping techniques used. Therefore, this is also reflected in the identified types of tools described above. 1.5 - Osseous industry  Osseous industry has been analysed by C. Beldiman (2007). The items were included in some kind of typology adapted for materials found in Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic settlements in Romanian. Unfortunately, the structure of the work makes it almost impossible to identify the materials, as the technical description is global for certain typological categories which, most of the times, comprise materials from various settlements and ages. The total number of items analysed by C. Beldiman (2007) is 91, including personal ornaments (64 items in layer I and 27 in layer II). Of these, 58 items in layer I and 24 items in layer II are tools, weapons and decorated pieces with uncertain utility (non-utilitarian). Their distribution on the two layers reveals very significant differences in both number and typology. As with engraved art objects, it can be noticed that the number of bone tools and weapons is larger in layer I. Furthermore, a distinction between the two layers is given by the presence in layer I of several typical fishing tools, a fragment of fishhook (fig. 2/1-8) and two fragments of harpoon with protuberance, given that fishing was a sporadic occupation in this layer, while being important in layer II, as shown by the study of faunal remains. The only items that may be associated to fishing in layer II are two bone “pendants”, one of rectangular shape, the other of elongated shape, which may suggest some floats, as we shall try to show further, and a possible rectilinear fishhook (fig. 2/9). 2 - Results 2.1 - Engraved items   2.1.1 - Items discovered in the Epigravettian layer I (Clisurean)   - Smoother   made from a bone flake, with biconvex front smoothed by polishing and usage (fig. 3/1). The proximal part of the tool was not preserved, having old fracture, therefore the current dimensions of the item are 7.9 cm long, about 2.9 cm medium width and an average thickness of 0.8 cm. The blank was shaped on the sides by scraping (fig. 4/3) and on the inner side by axial or oblique scraping and polishing. Scraping marks are quite evident on a large surface (fig. 4/4-5), while in certain areas of the inner side, close to the right edge, they were blurred through polishing (fig. 4/6). The distal, active part of the tool still preserves the marks resulted from scraping, abrasion and obviously polishing on both sides. The upper side of the bone preserves the initial bone structure and was decorated with geometrical motifs. Being an elongated item, the symmetry of the decoration follows the median longitudinal axis, in the sense defined by G. Sauvet (1987) as axial symmetry. Two registers appear to stand out: on the right, longitudinal engravings consisting of double lines, one of which is very deep, with a V-shaped profile, penetrating into the distal part as far as the active front of the tool (fig. 4/7; 5/1); on the left, longitudinal engravings made of series of double lines, with a U-shaped profile, which bend in about 45° towards the proximal part. The setup of the decoration thus aimed to create an area for the engraving of the ladder-shaped decoration, which is in median position. This consists of two vertical lines, united with eight other horizontal ones, with a U-shaped profile (fig. 4/8, 10; 5/2). In fact, it is a vertically oriented rectangle hatched by horizontal lines. The two registers developing on the upper side are separated by a longitudinal double line, which is straight in the distal half and zigzag in the proximal one, with a U-shaped profile and bar code (fig. 4/8-9; 5/3). The last zigzag is so oriented as to provide enough space for the ladder-shaped engraving. All engravings are deep, with diverse profile, U-shaped and less V-shaped and bar code. Their marking is surprisingly firm on most part of the engraved area considering that they were made on bone, with a structure that is rather difficult to work. The fact that longitudinal and particularly zigzag engravings are double, keeping the parallelism and the relatively equal distance along the entire line, fully emphasises the artisan’s talent in handling the burin used to make them. On the bottom of the U-shaped engraving one can sometimes see the striae from the burin front (fig. 4/9; 5/3). The stigmata resulting from the preparation of the active front as well as the usage marks are obvious (fig. 5/4-6). - Spatula    on longitudinal bone fragment, with a slightly convex-concave profile, engraved on the upper face (fig. 3/4). Fragmented both laterally and at the proximal part, the item was initially of larger sizes. In its current state, it seems rather a reworked item, functioning as a spatula or even an awl, if we consider the wear pattern of the sides in the distal area. Its current dimensions are: length – 7.5 cm, medium width – 1.2 cm, medium thickness – 0.5 cm. The lower face still preserves the axial scraping stigmata resulted from shaping, particularly towards the left side and the distal part of the tool. Otherwise, lower face is quite polished, perhaps owing to prolonged use (fig. 6/3). 5 Redefining the Epigravettian and Epipalaeolithic in the Rock Shelter of Cuina Turcului (the Iron Gates Gorges of the Danube, Romania), with Special Emphasis on Art Objects
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