Tincova Selişte IOpen Air archaeology E 22.15833333, N 45.56388889
DescriptionThe archaeological site of Tincova is situated on the western edge of the Poiana Ruscă mountains on a wide terrace structure southeast of the village of Tincova (Caraș-Severin, Romania). The Paleolithic settlement of Tincova is composed of two distinct archaeological locations. The first, Selişte I is located approximately 400 m south of the village and 300 m East-southeast of the Orthodox cemetery. The second, Selişte II is approximately 100 m South-southwest of Selişte I, near the same cemetery.
The Aurignacian site was discovered in 1958 in the eroding sediments of a steep alluvial cone 60 m above the right bank of the Timiş River (Sitlivy et al. 2014b). Formal archaeological research began in 1958 under the supervision of C. S. Nicolăescu-Plopşor and I. Stratan (Nicolăescu-Plopşor and Stratan 1961; Stratan 1962). Later excavations were continued by F. Mogoşanu 1965-1966 (Mogoșanu 1967).
In 1967, several lithic quartzite pieces were found 20 m south of the Aurignacian settlement (Mogoşanu 1968: 303-311; 1972: 11) in a small test trench (3x2 m; Mogoşanu 1978: 48-49) though their stratigraphic position was uncertain, as it was unclear if the deposits they were discovered in had been reworked. Fifteen quartzite pieces were recovered in a ‘degraded loess deposit’ (lying at the base of the present day soil of yellowish-greyish color, at a depth of 40-30 cm. The Aurignacian lithics were found in the upper part of Level 3, between 120-80 cm depth (Mogoşanu 1978: 38).
The majority of lithics at Tincova are manufactured from a local “Banat flint” of variable quality though it is not clear if this material is indeed flint. Petrochemical analyses indicate a probable local source likely from fluvial cobbles of the local rivers (Leonard in prep). Like the other Banat sites of Românești and Coșava, less than 5% of the Banat tools and other artifacts were made from other potentially semi-exotic raw materials. However, their small number and their unknown provenience suggests that they may have a more local origin, having been transported from unknown sources.
It is clear that the main aim at Tincova was to manufacture light, unretouched blades and elongated rectilinear bladelets possibly through a continuous core reduction sequence (cf. Sitlivy et al 2014b). Among bladelet forms, Krems points and Dufour bladelets (Dufour sub-type) are the most abundant. Simple endscrapers and retouched blades are present though carinated scrapers are rare and scaled retouch is absent (Teyssandier 2008; cf. Sitlivy et al 2014b).
Citing these typo-technological attributes, as well as temporal and spatial proximity, the original researchers suggested homologies between Tincova and the “classical” Krems-Dufour Aurignacian collections at Krems-Hundssteig in Lower Austria (Hahn 1977; Mogoșanu 1978). This connection has recently been resurrected placing Tincova (and the other Banat sites as well) within a specific Aurignacian facies, itself a part of a discrete European typo-technocomplex (Demidenko & Noiret 2012).
However, the Tincova assemblage has also been used in the past as evidence that the earliest hominins reached the Banat during MIS 3. Both Teyssandier and Zilhão have suggested that the collection assemblage is “strongly suggestive of the Proto-aurignacian based on the targeted production of elongated rectilinear bladeforms.” They compare it to Geißenklösterle and other early Swabian Jura assemblages and have additionally encouraged comparisons with the Kozarnikian further east in Bulgaria (Tsanova 2006), implying that its position might have served as an intermediary waypoint between Southeastern and Central Europe (Teyssandier 2006; 2008; Zilhão 2006). Still, no direct comparative study between any of these sites has been made and the Tincova site remains undated. If correct however, these comparisons raise important questions as to Tincova’s association with the other Banat sites and may be critical to unravelling the truth surrounding the validity of the Proto-aurignacian and other various Aurignacian subtypes.
Chu, W., Zeeden, C., & Petrescu, S. (2016). The Early Upper Paleolithic of the Banat and recent research at the Paleolithic site of Tincova. Banatica, 26(1), 51–72.
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