An Enigmatic Funnel Find of the Somogyvár-Vinkovci Culture from Balatonőszöd-Temetői dűlő in Transdanubia, Hungary - PDF

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Volume IV Issue 1/2013 Pages Interdisciplinaria archaeologica Natural Sciences in Archaeology homepage: IV/1/2013 An Enigmatic Funnel Find of the Somogyvár-Vinkovci Culture from Balatonőszöd-Temetői dűlő in Transdanubia, Hungary Tünde Horváth a*, Katalin Gherdán b, Gabriella Kulcsár a, György Sipos c, Mária Tóth d a Institute of Archaeology Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, H-1014 Budapest, Úri u. 49. Hungary b Faculty of Humanities, Institute of Archaeological Sciences, H-1088 Budapest, Múzeum krt. 4/B. Hungary c University of Szeged, Department of Physical Geography and Geoinformatics, H-6722, Szeged, Egyetem u Hungary d Institute of Geological and Geochemical Research, Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, H-1112, Budapest, Budaörsi út 45. Hungary Article info Article history: Received: 29. November 2012 Accepted: 20. June 2013 Keywords: Early Bronze Age Transdanubia ceramic funnel Somogyvár-Vinkovci culture Abstract A small section of an Early Bronze Age settlement made up of pits was uncovered at the prehistoric, multi-period site of Balatonőszöd-Temetői dűlő. In addition to ceramics of the Somogyvár-Vinkovci culture, the finds from Pit 2563 included an enigmatic artefact of baked clay. Despite the fact that analogous archaeological finds and various archaeometric analyses have provided several clues for a conclusive determination of its function, comparable finds nonetheless suggest that it might in all probability be associated with dairying or metalworking. 1. Introduction In addition to the finds and features of other cultures and periods, a section of an Early Bronze settlement was also uncovered at Balatonőszöd-Temetői dűlő (Site M7/S-10) during the excavations preceding the construction of the M7 Motorway in (Figure 1). Features of the Early Bronze Age Somogyvár-Vinkovci and of the late Somogyvár-Vinkovci/proto-Kisapostag horizon were scattered over a 100,000 m 2 large area (twenty-seven pits, five of which yielded late Somogyvár- Vinkovci/proto-Kisapostag finds, of which the pottery totalled 1037 pieces). 1 In order to compare the Late Copper Age and Early Bronze periods regarding the archaeological typology of the finds, their chronology and the pottery making techniques, six samples taken from Early Bronze Age ceramics were submitted for petrographic and other archaeometric examinations (thin section microscopy * Corresponding author. 1 The final report containing a detailed description of the site and its finds is in progress. and X-ray diffraction; Gherdán, Horváth, Tóth 2012) to complement the Late Copper Age data (Gherdán, Horváth 2009; Gherdán et al. 2010; Horváth 2010). A sample for radiocarbon measurement was collected from one Early Bronze Age feature, while TL/OSL dating was performed on a Late Copper and an Early Bronze Age artefact (Horváth et al. 2010; Horváth 2011a). The present study focuses on the date, the archaeometric analysis and the possible function of an unusual artefact, a clay funnel recovered from Pit 2563b. 2. Archaeological interpretation of the clay funnel 2.1 The clay funnel Feature 2563 uncovered in Trench 34/7 was a deep beehive shaped pit (Pit 2563b) which yielded 3 kg of ceramics. A small intrusion or layer (2563a) was noted in its upper section, from which we recovered a perforated mussel ornament. 2 2 Similar perforated ornaments, although made from different mussel species (lacustrine Unio species) which were perforated in a different manner and a different spot, were also recovered from the features of the Middle 23 scoring. The stem of the funnel narrows gradually. Slight damage to the funnel could be noted on the rim and the base of the stem. Vitrification indicating secondary burning could be noted on the rim. The interior contained patches of a whitish calcareous coating which mostly survived in the deep scoring. Analogous finds suggest use as a milk strainer, a crucible or perhaps a tuyère. Diam. of rim, 228 mm, diam. of stem 28 mm, H. 150 mm. The TL/OSL analysis provided a date of 4110±580 BP/2110±580 BC (Table 3). 2.2 Formal and temporal analogies to the clay funnel Similar funnel shaped clay artefacts of a different form and function dating from the 3 rd millennium and the early 2 nd millennium BC are known from Lower Austria, the southern Russian steppe and the Balkans. A funnel shaped, baked clay artefact from Unter-Mamau (today Untermamau, p. B. Sankt Pölten, Lower Austria) is housed in the collection of the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna (inv. no ; Figure 4.1 2). Together with various other finds, the artefact came to light in 1929, during an excavation conducted by H. Wichmann. The funnel has a diameter of 14.2 cm at the top, 4.5 cm at the base and a height of 12 cm. The dark brownish-grey funnel has a smooth, perhaps polished exterior and interior, and was fired in a reducing atmosphere. During the revision of the museum s holdings, the artefact was assigned to the Early Bronze Age, but without a closer cultural attribution (the finds were re-inventoried by Fritz Eckart Barth on June 25, 1984). The funnel from Untermamau was displayed among the finds shown as part of the exhibition Der geschmiedete Himmel in the Landesmuseum for Vorgeschichte in Halle in , whose centrepiece was the Nebra disc. The funnel was described as an Early Bronze Age artefact used in metalworking. 3 The burials under the kurgans of the Catacomb culture excavated on the Kalmyk steppe, dated to the mid-3 rd millennium BC, yielded several artefacts including a funnel, a milk cup and a nursing vessel which could be linked to the production and consumption of dairy products (Figure 4.3; Shishlina 2001, 24 26, Figure 5). The funnel is spouted and in this respect bears more of a resemblance to the piece from Balatonőszöd than the Lower Austrian one. Funnels without 0 5 cm Figure 3. Balatonőszöd-Temetői dűlő Clay funnel from Pit 2563b (Drawing by Magda Füredi). The Early Bronze Age pottery fragments from the pit can be assigned to the late Somogyvár-Vinkovci culture (Figure 2). Description of the clay funnel (Figure 3): A yellowishgreyish-red funnel with an everted rim and spout. The interior is irregularly scored and bears patches of a white calcareous coating. The exterior is covered with vertical Copper Age Balaton Lasinja/Furchenstich culture. We therefore tentatively dated Pit 2563a to this occupation horizon. A similar perforated mussel was found among the grave goods of a Baden burial uncovered at Szigetszentmárton (Kalicz 1976, 190; Hungarian National Museum, inv. no. MNM-RÖ ; Lichter 2010, Cat. no. 279). It is equally possible, however, that the mussel dates from the Early Bronze Age Somogyvár Vinkovci culture and was used in metalworking. Similar mussels were deposited in steppean metalsmith burials, although their exact role in metalworking is unclear (cp. Bátora 2002, Fig : Kalinovka, Poltava culture, Azerbaijan; Kaiser 2005, Abb : Gromovka, Kurgan 1, Grave 7, Kazakhstan). The mussel from Pit 2563a was perforated through the umbo (Figure 2.6). This mussel species is alien to this region as it represents a species thriving in flowing water (Unio crassus Retzius) which does not occur in Lake Balaton at present. It could only have reached the Balatonőszöd site through trade. At present, this species thrives in larger rivers such as the Danube. We would like to thank Sándor Gulyás for the species determination. 3 The funnel does not appear in the catalogue that accompanied the exhibition (cp. Meller 2004). 26 bronze dagger with a triangular blade, two golden lockrings 5 and a clay lump bearing a circular imprint were found 80 cm above the burial. Another group of artefacts lay in the middle of the mound, at a depth of 60 cm from its top: an interior decorated bowl with a fenestrated pedestal (perhaps an altar or an incense burner), a lugged funnel with a decorated exterior and plain interior and a broken, decorated, one-handled jug (Figure 5.1). The unusual and currently unparalleled funnel was fired to a greyish-orange colour. It is 18.2 cm in height and has a diameter of 14.1 cm on top and 4.2 cm at the base. The diameter of the stem matches the size of the round imprint on the clay lump, suggesting that the latter had functioned as a stopper. The observations carried out during the excavation indicate that the assemblage had been deposited after the burial ceremony, during the construction of the burial mound. It would appear that the burial ceremony was followed by a libation and a fumigation ceremony (burnt offering), performed at the spot of the burial (Baković, Govedarica 2009, 11, 15 16, Figure 10). The burial and its finds can be assigned to the Mala and Velika Gruda type burials of Montenegro, and the southern Adriatic distribution of the Ljubljana culture. Comparable funnels, both undecorated and adorned with a simple pattern, are known from the settlements of the Kostolac/Vučedol period (Sarvaš: Balen 2005, 49, Cat. nos , Pl , Pl ; Vučedol: Vulić, Grbić 1938, Pl. 1. 2, 8; Schmidt 1945, Table : two pieces from the burial chamber; Figure 5.3). These funnels were interpreted as tuyères attached to leather bellows or artefacts for pouring liquids. Their sizes differ: the pieces from Sarvaš are cm high, while the ones from Vučedol include smaller specimens with a height of 4.3 to 9.8 cm. 3. An archaeometric analysis of the Balatonőszöd funnel and other Early Bronze Age finds 3.1 Petrography (Table 1) The six ceramic samples from the settlement s Early Bronze Age occupation can be divided into three groups: the three sherds (Samples 61 63) had a serial fabric and the nonplastic inclusions did not include diagnostic mineral and/ or rock grains for identifying the provenance (for a detailed discussion of the analyses and their results, see Gherdán et al. 2012). The raw material appears to have been alluvial sediment used without any prior preparation since no traces of tempering agents were observed. The second group was represented by two sherds (Samples 64 65) from vessels made with a carbonate sand tempering agent. The two sherds have a hiatal fabric. The coarse (up to mm large), well-rounded, rounded, occasionally subrounded carbonate rock fragments suggest a carbonate sand tempering agent. Similar tempers were identified during the petrographic examination of other Bronze Age ceramics as 5 The metal articles have not been subjected to archaeometric analyses. well (Kreiter 2006; Gherdán 2009). The funnel from Pit 2563b can be assigned to this group. The composition of one sherd (Sample 60) corresponds to the composition of the ceramics in Group 1 of the Late Copper Age Boleráz/Baden ceramics (Gherdán et al. 2010). The sherds are tempered with grog containing micritic carbonate rock fragments. 3.2 X-ray powder diffraction analysis (Table 1) The main components identified in the ceramic samples were quartz, plagioclase, orthoclase and 10Å phyllosilicates. Chlorite, kaolinite, calcite and dolomite are subordinate, the residue of components which disintegrated during firing. Among the main components, the proportion of plagioclase and orthoclase is reversed in certain samples, although a systematic change cannot be demonstrated. In samples 60 65, chlorite and kaolinite are the typical clay mineral residues, while the other grains are calcite quartz 10Å phyllosilicate (sericite-illiite) dolomite, plagioclase, corresponding to the presence of limestone. The (001) and (002) reflections of chlorite can be more or less demonstrated depending on the firing temperature. Traces of amphibolite were identified in several samples. The carbonate grains trapped in the vessel body did not disintegrate owing to relatively low firing temperatures and rapid heating. The firing temperature was determined from the residual phases (calcite, dolomite), the increased reflection of the transformed phases (chlorite [001] and [002]) and the presence of kaolinite, based on the academic literature on the thermic transformation of calcareous clays and the data obtained earlier from the Late Copper Age samples of the Balatonőszöd site (Gherdán et al. 2010). The firing temperature of the ceramics was generally around ºC (and ºC in one case), i.e. much lower than in the Late Copper Age (Gherdán et al. 2012). 3.3 Archaeology Apart from several general formal similarities between the Late Copper Age Baden and the Early Bronze Age Somogyvár-Vinkovci ceramic styles (such as the presence of variants of flasks and vessels with asymmetric handles among the Baden finds, both vessel types of which are known from the Early Bronze Age contexts as well), there is no connection whatsoever between the two ceramic traditions either regarding pottery production techniques, or in terms of vessel typology (see Horváth 2011a for a detailed discussion). The overwhelming majority of the Early Bronze Age vessels were tempered with carbonate sand or, more rarely, calcareous sand, although natural, untreated clay was also used in pottery production. The vessels are more compact than the ceramics of the Middle and Late Copper Age and appear to be more carefully fired. However, the X-ray diffraction analyses indicated that they were fired at lower temperatures than the Copper Age ceramics which were fired at ºC. The coarsening and scoring techniques in Late Copper Age pottery also differ radically from the Early Bronze Age 29 Table 1. Archaeometric analysis of the Early Bronze Age ceramics of the Somogyvár Vinkovci/proto-Kisapostag period from Balatonőszöd-Temetői dűlő (petrography by K. Gherdán, X-ray powder diffraction by M. Tóth, archaeological description by T. Horváth). Table 1 presents the data (the fabric and the composition of the non-plastic inclusions) from the detailed petrographic examination of the Early Bronze Age ceramics. Specified fabric data: colour of the groundmass in plain (IN) and crossed polarised light (+N), isotropy of the groundmass (categorised according to a three point scale as weak, moderate or strong), fabric type (serial with a continuous grain size distribution or hiatal with a grain size distribution with more than one maximum), sorting of the non-plastic inclusions (good, moderate or poor). If the grain size distribution has more than one maximum (in the case of hiatal fabrics), the ranges for the maxima are also specified together with the composition of the non-plastic inclusions in each range. The grain size distribution is shown in a schematic graph, with the horizontal axis representing absolute grain size and the vertical axis representing relative quantity. The orientation of the non-plastic inclusions is also specified, if detectable. We also specify if any layers could be distinguished in the cross-section. The proportion of the non-plastic inclusions was estimated with comparison charts. We used the following categories, based on the recommendations of the PCRG (1997): R = rare ( 3%), S = sparse (3 9%), M = moderate (10 19%), C = common (20 29%), V = very common (30 39%), A = abundant ( 40%). Petrographic group: Group 1 6 Layer No Somogyvár Vinkovci or Árpádian Age? Indistinct, medium thick-walled body sherd, probably from an amphora. Reddish-brown exterior, coarsely smoothed: the imprints of vertical organic matter can be noted (from textile or vegetal matter). Brick red interior, smoothed. Tempered with white limestone. Household pottery. Colour of groundmass 1 N Brown + N Dark brown Strong Hiatal Amount of non-plastic inclusions (%) 15 20% Poor Grain size distribution: Two maxima: µm (mineral fragments, carbonate rock fragments); µm (carbonate rock fragments, grog) Maximum grain size: 3700 µm (carbonate rock fragment, grog) Orientation Weak Outer layer colour 1 N Dark brown + N Black isotropy Strong average thickness µm boundary Sharp composition Similar to groundmass Non-plastic inclusions mineral grains monocrystalline quartz C low sphericity, angular µm polycrystalline quartz S low sphericity, subrounded µm R R R rock fragments carbonate rock fragments C low sphericity, well rounded; µm high sphericity, well rounded other grog M µm fossil fragment R calcareous fossil fragment 1800 µm Petrographic group: RTG: Pit 2563 (Somogyvár Vinkovci proto-kisapostag). Spouted funnel (restored). Yellowish-greyish-red, with straight, everted rim. The stem of the funnel narrows downward. The interior is irregularly scored and covered with a white, calcareous coating. The exterior covered with vertical scoring. Possible function: milk strainer/ crucible/tuyère (?). Diam. of rim 228 mm, H. 150 mm TL/OSL date: 4110 ± 580 BP, 2110 ± 580 BC 30 Table 1. Archaeometric analysis of the Early Bronze Age ceramics of the Somogyvár Vinkovci/proto-Kisapostag period from Balatonőszöd-Temetői dűlő (petrography by K. Gherdán, X-ray powder diffraction by M. Tóth, archaeological description by T. Horváth). (Continuation). Petrographic group: Group 4 Colour of groundmass 1 N Light brown + N Yellowish-brown Weak/moderate Serial Amount of non-plastic inclusions (%) ~50% Poor Thin section: 39 Pit 2296 (Somogyvár Vinkovci). Thin-walled body sherd from a storage vessel. Coarsened exterior, smoothed interior. Household pottery. Orientation Outer layer colour 1 N + N isotropy average thickness boundary composition Non-plastic inclusions mineral grains monocrystalline quartz M low sphericity, angular µm M S polycrystalline quartz M low sphericity, angular; low µm sphericity, subrounded R rock fragments carbonate rock fragments C low sphericity, subrounded; high sphericity, well rounded µm Petrographic group: Group 6 61 Pit 1419 (Somogyvár Vinkovci). Indistinct body sherd. Reddish-grey exterior covered with deep scoring. Grey interior, polished, tempered with micaceous sand and limestone fragments. Household pottery mm Colour of groundmass 1 N Brown + N Dark brown Moderate/strong Serial Amount of non-plastic inclusions (%) 20 25% Moderate Grain size distribution: One maximum: µm (mineral grains) Maximum grain size: 1000 µm (polycrystalline quartz) RTG profile: RTG: white encrustation Orientation Outer layer colour 1 N Dark yellowish-brown + N Brown isotropy Strong/moderate average thickness µm boundary Continuous composition Similar to groundmass Non-plastic inclusions mineral grains monocrystalline quartz low sphericity, angular µm polycrystalline quartz high sphericity, well-rounded µm other vegetal remain 31 Table 1. Archaeometric analysis of the Early Bronze Age ceramics of the Somogyvár Vinkovci/proto-Kisapostag period from Balatonőszöd-Temetői dűlő (petrography by K. Gherdán, X-ray powder diffraction by M. Tóth, archaeological description by T. Horváth). (Continuation). Petrographic group: Group Pit 2104 (Somogyvár Vinkovci proto-kisapostag). Indistinct body fragment. Brownish-grey exterior covered with deep scoring. Grey interior, tempered with micaceous sand and limestone fragments, broken where the clay slabs were fitted together. Household pottery mm TL/OSL date: 4070±570 BP, 2070±570 BC Colour of groundmass 1 N Brown + N Black Strong Serial Amount of non-plastic inclusions (%) 20 25% Moderate Grain size distribution: One maximum: µm (mineral grains) Maximum grain size: 500 µm (polycrystalline quartz) RTG profile: RTG: Orientation Outer layer colour 1 N Dark yellowish-brown + N Brown isotropy Strong/moderate average thickness µm boundary Continuous composition Similar to groundmass Non-plastic inclusions mineral grains monocrystalline quartz low sphericity, angular µm polycrystalline quartz low sphericity, angular µm other Petrographic group: Group: 6 63 Pit 2104 (Somogyvár Vinkovci proto-kisapostag). Basal body fragment. Grey, polished exterior and interior, covered with a thin whitish encrustation (limescale?) on the exterior and interior. Tempered with micaceous sand. Fine
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