Marin Cârciumaru, Iuliana Lazăr, Elena-Cristina Nițu, Minodora Țuțuianu-Cârciumaru, The Symbolical Significance of Several Fossils discovered in the Epigravettian from Poiana Cireșului-Piatra Neamț, Romania, Preistoria Alpina, Vol. 45 (2

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  33 Preistoria Alpina , 45 (2011): 9-151. INTRODUCTIONNear Piatra Neamţ Town, at the conuence of Doamnarivulet and Bistriţa River, at about 400 m absolute altitude,was discovered, in 1963, a new Paleolithic settlement with acultural horion attributed to the “Easter Upper Aurignacian”(Scorpan 1972-1973), which, in reality, was to be identiedlater on as belonging to the Gravettian Culture. The ulteriordiggings carried out during several stages conrmed the at-tribution of this settlement to the Gravettian (Cpitanu 1969),and the recent research has brought to light supplementaryinformation, by dening, so far, the Gravettian and Epigravet-tian (Cârciumaru et al. 2002-2003, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007,2007-2008; Cârciumaru, Anghelinu & Niţ 2006-2007, 2007;Mrgrit 2008; Niţ 2008; Steguweit et al. 2009). The mostrecent, uppermost Late Epigravettian layer belongs to the LateGlacial yellow loess unit; the second concentration – Epi-gravettian layer II – is deposited in the upper part of the clayey-loessic layer which contains lots of calcitic concentrations; theGravettian layer I it suggests a short occupational sequence,at the bottom of the same loessic unit; the Gravettian layer IIbelong to the sandy-loessic deposit at the bottom of the strati-graphical column (Cârciumaru et al. 2006).The Gravettian II layer was dated between 26.347 ±387 (ER 9962) and 26.070 ± 387 (Beta 206.707), which meansthe oldest Gravettian in the Valley of Bistriţa, and the Epigravet-tian II layer was dated several times and was situated between20.076 ± 185 (ER 9.965) and 20.020 ± 110 (Beta 224.156) B.P.   ISSN 0393-0157© Museo Tridentino di Sciene Naturali, Trento 2009 The Symbolical Signicance of Several Fossils discovered in the Epigravettian fromPoiana Cireşului-Piatra Neamţ, Romania Marin CÂRCIUMARU¹ * , Iuliana LAzăR², Elena-Cristina NIŢU¹ & Minodora ŢUŢUIANU-CÂRCIUMARU¹ ¹ Valahia University of Târgoviste, Doctoral School, Lt. Stancu Ion Ave., nr. 36, 130105 Targoviste, Dambovita County,Romania² University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geology and Geophysics, Department of Geology and Paleontology,1, N. BalcescuAve., 010041, Bucharest, Romania * Corresponding author e-mail: SUMMARY - The Symbolical Signicance of Several Fossils found in the Epigravettian from Poiana Cireşului-Piatra Neamţ, România -The archeological research of the last few years from the settlement of Poiana Cireşului, near Piatra Neamţ, demonstrated the exceptionalpotential of this settlement in dening the cultural aspects of the Upper Paleolithic especially in the Valley of Bistriţa and generally inRomania. The dating for the Gravettian II level indicates between 26,347 ± 387 (ER 9962) and 26,070 ± 387 (Beta 206.707), which meansthe oldest Gravettian in the Valley of Bistriţa, while for the Epigravettian II level, the dating indicates 20,076 ± 185 (ER 9.965) and 20,020± 110 (Beta 224.156) B.P. In the Epigravettian II level from Poiana Cireşului-Piatra Neamţ were discovered four fossilied bivalves of thespecies Congeria sp. aff. Congeria (Mytilopsis) subcarinata subcarinata . Certainly, they became part of the cultural layer being broughteither directly or through exchange by the members of the Epigravettian community from over 100 km away. Their shape is striking as itsuggests a vulva, an element frequently encountered in the West European Cave art. Their signicance is profoundly connected to sexualsymbolism. The symbolic value of the respective fossils is accentuated by the fact that on their surface are present obvious traces of ochre. RIASSUNTO -  Il signicato simbolico di alcuni fossili scoperti nell’Epigravettiano di Poiana Cireşului - Piatra Neamţ, Romania - Lericerche archeologiche svolte negli ultimi anni nell’insediamento di Poiana Cireşului, posiionato nella vicinana della città di PiatraNeamţ, hanno dimostrato le ecceionali potenialità di questo insediamento nel denire gli aspetti culturali del paleolitico superiore dellavalle del Bistriţa, in speciale, e della Romania, generalmente. Le dataioni per il livello gravettiano II sono tra 26.347 ± 387 (ER 9962)e 26.070 ± 387 (Beta 206.707), il che signica il più antico Gravettino della valle del Bistriţa, mentre per il livello Epigravettiano II cisono diverse dataioni che lo collocano tra 20.076 ± 185 (ER 9.965) e 20.020 ± 110 (Beta 224.156) B.P. Nel livello epigravettiano II diPoiana Cireşului - Piatra Neamţ sono state scoperte quattro fossili bivalvi della specie Congeria sp. aff. Congeria (Mytilopsis) subcarinatasubcarinata . Si puo affermare con certea che questi bivalvi sono arrivati nel livello di cultura direttamente o tramite uno scambio coni membri di una comunità epigravettiana situata ad oltre 100 km di distana. La forma dei bivalvi impressiona perche sugerisce la vulva,ingrediente trovato spesso nell’arte parietale dell’Europa Occidentale. Il valore simbolico dei fossili è sottolineato dal fatto che questiconservano sulla loro supercie tracce evidenti d’ocra.  Key words :   Romania ,  Epigravettian, symbolism, fossils, vulvas, Paleolithic art, ochre Parole chiave :   Romania, Epigravettiano, simbolismo, fossili, vulva, arte paleolitico, ocra  34Cârciumaru et al. Fossils discovered in the Epigravettian from Poiana Cireşului-Piatra Neamţ2. POTENTIAL OF THE BONE DISCOVERIESFROM THE POIANA CIREŞULUISETTLEMENTThe most recent stage of the research from PoianaCireşului proved the exceptional potential of this settlementin dening the cultural aspects of the Upper Paleolithic, es-pecially in Bistriţa Valley and in Romania in general.At the same time, concerning the artifacts made of animal bone, the settlement from Poiana Cireşului – Pi-atra Neamţ is doubtlessly the most important in Romania,both through their number and through their variety, espe-cially in Epigravettian layer II. The arms are representedby means of three ivory pointed ends and one made outof a horn; the tools consisted in several chisels. The or-naments are quite varied, such as: perforated stag tooth,perforated wolf canine, and in the category of undeter-minable materials are included two diaphyses with inci-sions, a fragment of bone engraved through incisions thatinvolve an extremely interesting technology, to which wecan add an engraved quartite pebble and traces of ochre,etc. A whistle made of a reindeer diaphysis was studiedusing the VHX-600 digital microscope. So, it was pos-sible to state, unequivocally, that the hole is man-made,being achieved by means of rotational movements using arock tool of the int or jasper type (Fig. 1-5).In Gravettian layer II was found only a necklacefrom 12 perforated snail shells (Fig. 5). This necklace hasholes made using a special technique, on which we aregoing to come back later on in another study with specialobservations made using the VHX-600 digital microscope.Through their geometrical form they seem similar, for in-stance, to those of the Epigravettian from Riparo Dalmeri(Borrelli & Dalmeri, 2004).All these are sufciently illustrative elements con-cerning the symbolical or metaphysical activities involvingthe creative imagination of the Epigravettian communitiesfrom Poiana Cireşului. Their capacity to elaborate personal-ied systems, materialied in the achievement of ornamentswith diverse morphologies, highly schematied decorations,means of communication between the individuals or meansof creation of special sounds, and somewhat similar engrav-ings in point of style and form on similar supports suggestingways of perceiving some temporal cycles, is a proof of thesymbolical individualiation of the respective societies.This image of the testimonies on the spiritual ca-pacities of the Epigravettian communities from PoianaCireşului-Piatra Neamţ was to be completed in 2003, theyear when in section V (Epigravettian layer II), square A-1were discovered four fossilied bivalves, attributed at thattime to the Congeria sp.3. GENERALE CONSIDERATIONSCONCERNING THE GEOLOGICAL FOSSILSDISCOVERED IN PALEOLITHICALSETTLEMENTSThe introduction by the Paleolithic communities of certain fossils in their settlements has deep roots, the oldesttestimonies of this type being attributed to the Neanderthalman. Here is A. Leroi-Gourhan’s interpretation of thesediscoveries: “In the Mousterian, the number of manifesta- Fig. 1 - Poiana Cireşului – Piatra Neamţ: 1 pointed ends made of ivory; 2 pointed ends made of reindeer horn found in the Epigra-vettian layer II. Fig. 1 – Poiana Cireşului – Piatra Neamţ: 1 punte in avorio; 2 punte in corno di renna dal livello epigravettiano II. Fig. 2 - Poiana Cireşului-Piatra Neamţ: 1-2 engraved diaphysesfound in the Epigravettian layer II. Fig. 2 - Poiana Cireşului-Piatra Neamţ: 1-2 diasi incise dal li-vello epigravettiano II.  35 Preistoria Alpina , 45 (2011): 9-15 Fig. 3 - Poiana Cireşului-Piatra Neamţ, Epigravettian layer II: 1bone engraved in a special technique, 2 perforated wolf canine,3 perforated stag canine, 4 engraved bone suggesting an animalhoof; 5 quartite pebble engraved and painted with ochre. Fig. 3 - Poiana Cireşului-Piatra Neamţ, livello II epigravettiano:1 – canino di lupo perforato; 2 – canino di cervo perforato; 3 –osso inciso che sugerisce lo zoccolo di un’animale; 4 – ciottolo diquarzito inciso e dipinto con ocra. Fig. 4 - Poiana Cireşului-Piatra Neamţ, Epigravettian layer II: 1 raindeer phalange turned into whistle. Fig. 4 - Poiana Cireşului-Piatra Neamţ, livello II epigravettiano: 1 – strumento a ato realizzato su una falange di renna.  36Cârciumaru et al. Fossils discovered in the Epigravettian from Poiana Cireşului-Piatra Neamţtions that can be linked to religion is very limited.” “...Inthe Hyena’s Cave, in Arcy-sur-Cure... in the very advancedMousterian, we discovered a little deposit made up of twobig fossils, a gastropod and a spheroid polypier, and of twoblocks of iron pyrite shaped like agglomerated spheres...These objects’ situation in point of srcin makes it neces-sary for them to have been brought here voluntarily. So,these pieces constitute the rst piece of evidence, as leastas far as we know, concerning man’s interest in unusualforms; it is somehow the far introduction into the gura-tive art, but it is more than that, it is the rst of the formsencountered in nature coming out of rock or earth.” (Leroi-Gourhan 1964: 70) (Fig. 6).M. Otte, a representative of another generation, ap-propriates A. Leroi-Gourhan’s interpretations and bringsagain to light the hypothesis of the foreign “objects” pickedup and transported by the Neanderthal man who confersthem, despite their apparently non-utilitarian aspect, a sym-bolical value. “So, the natural products play a role of media-tor between the spirit and nature, and the creative act is re-duced to the choice of these elements invested from now onwith a human value. Among them, the fossils create a bridgebetween the mineral they are made of, and the animal whoseimprint, trace and image they are.” (Otte 1996: 79-80).Since then, no other similarly old discoveries weremade, maybe except a bivalve geologically attributed to theMaastrichtian – Paleocene layer (of the species Glyptoactis(Baluchicardia) sp.) and recovered in 1991 from among thelithic materials resulted from older diggings of the lowerstratum of the Mousterian layer from Che-Pourré-Che-Comte (Corree), attributed to a Charantian Mousterianwith an evolved aspect (Lhomme & Freneix 1993).P. Y. Demars, in his turn, through the reevaluation of some older diggings of F. Bordes, brings back into actualitytwo shell fossils recuperated from the Combe-Grenal Cave(Dordogne). The rst is a  Rhynchonellidae   (Teraebratu-lina) delivered by a stratum that is contemporary with theRiss glacial period and attributed to an evolved SouthernAcheulean, while the second belongs to the  Zeillerinae(Terebratulina) species and was recovered from a level at-tributed to a Quina Mousterian industry. The fossils comefrom the deposits attributed to the Upper Cretaceous (De-mars 1992).Maybe for these reasons, the recent discovery of abivalve in the Mousterian level from the Bordul Mare Caveof Ohaba Ponor (Romania) becomes quite interesting. Thegeological study and the archaeological implications of thisdiscovery will be nalied in a near future.In exchange, similar discoveries were made quitefrequently in the settlements attributed to the Upper Paleo-lithic everywhere, attributed to  Homo sapiens sapiens ,which we are not going to remember for the very reasonthat they are especially frequent. Many of them were re-minded and commented, actually, by A. Leroi-Gourhan Fig. 5 - Poiana Cireşului-Piatra Neamţ: 1 Necklace made of perforated snail-shells of the species  Lithoglyphus discovered in the Gravet-tian layer II (around 26.000 B.P.), 2 small bone fragments engraved differently (Epigravettian layer II), 3 samples of prepared ochre foundin a layer with signicant quantities of this material, containing predominantly red shades (Epigravettian layer II). Fig. 5 – Poiana Cireşului-Piatra Neamţ: 1 – collana di conchiglie perforate dalla specie Lythogliphus scoperta nel livello Gravettiano II (circa 26.000 B.P.); 2 – piccoli frammenti d’ossa incise (livello II epigravettiano); 3 – campioni d’ocra preparata recuperati da un livellocon grandi quantità di questo materiale e aspetto rosso (livello II epigravettiano).  37 Preistoria Alpina , 45 (2011): 9-15even since 1964. However, one of these discoveries needsto be mentioned because it was made in a region nearbyPoiana Cireşului. It is about a fossil “sea urchin” of 4,8/5,2cm, recovered from an Aurignacian layer from Climuţi(Republic of Moldova), which is considered to have under-gone changes meant to give it human features (Boriac &Chirica 1996).In Romania no other discoveries were made con-cerning fossils brought by the Paleolithic communities intheir settlements, except the recent discovery of a bivalve inthe Mousterian level from the Bordul Mare Cave of OhabaPonor and the already mentioned four fossils discoveredin the Epigravettian layer from Poiana Cireşului-PiatraNeamţ. Fig. 6 - Fossils introduced by the Neanderthal man in his settlements. Mousterian level: A-the Hyena’s Cave in Arcy-sur-Cure –1 brachio-pods of the Terebratulids family, dated to the Bajocian, transported more than 30 km away from their source (according to M. Soressi,2002; M. Soressi, F. d’Errico, 2008), 2 globular polypier, 3 fossilied spiral gastropod (according to A. Leroi-Gourhan, 1964); B-Che-Pourré-Che-Compte (Corrèe) - 6 bivalve shells, dated to the Maastrichtian - Paleocene Glyptoactis (  Baluchicardia ) sp. (according to V.Lhomme, S. Freneix, 1993); Châtelperronian level: 4 fossilied sea urchins (according to M. Otte, 1996), 5 “rhynconelle”, shaped up tobe hung up (according to A. Leroi-Gourhan, 1964). Fig. 6 - Fossili introdotti nei suoi insediamenti dall’Uomo di Neandertalo. Livello Musteriano: A – Grotta Hyène à Arcy-sur-Cure – 1brachiopode della famiglia Térébratulidés del Bajocien trasportati da oltre 30 km km (dopo M. Soressi, 2002; M. Soressi, F. D’Errico,2008), 2 „polypier globulaire”, 3 gasteropodi a spirale fossili (dopo A. Leroi-Gourhan, 1964); B - Chez-Pourré-Chez-Compte (Corrèze) – 6 conchiglia di bivalve di Maastrichtien - Paleocen Glyptoactis ( Baluchicardia ) sp. (după V. Lhomme, S. Freneix, 1993); Livello Cas-telperoniano: 4 «oursin fossile» (după M. Otte, 1996), 5 «rhynconelle» preparata per la sospensione (dopo A. Leroi-Gourhan, 1964).
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