Româneşti-Dumbrăviţa IOpen Air archaeology E 22.320833333333, N 45.81722222
DescriptionThe site of Româneşti-Dumbrăviţa I (Timiș County, Romania) is situated in the Bega River Valley, about 100 km east of Timișoara (Romania), at the confluence of the Bega Luncanilor (Bega Mare) and Bega Poieni (Bega Mică) rivers where they exit the Western Poiana Rusca Mountains and empty into the Banat Plain (Figure 1). Românești-Dumbrăvița I belongs to a cluster of Early Upper Paleolithic sites in the area (Românești-Dumbrăvița I & II, Coşava and Temerești located less than 10 km away) and is close to a number of other important Banat Upper Paleolithic sites including Tincova (Caraș-Severin County) and the Crvenka-At site complex (Serbia) (Chu et al. 2014; Nicolaescu-Plopsor & Stratan 1961; Stratan 1962; Micle et al. 2015).
Românești-Dumbrăvița I was first known as a Paleolithic site in the second half of the 20th century. The first scientific excavation at Românești-Dumbrăvița I was conducted in 1960 and subsequently in 1961–1964 and 1967–1972 (Mogoșanu 1976; Băltean 2011; Mogoșanu 1978) (Figure 2). Between 2009–2010, geological and archeological fieldwork was led by V. Sitlivy who excavated 7m2 in two separate trenches (Sitlivy et al. 2012; Schmidt et al. 2013; Kels et al. 2014). The collection from the Mogoșanu excavations yielded 5000 artifacts over 450 m2 providing an artifact density of 11 artifacts/m2. The later excavation by V. Sitlivy, recovered some 7505 artifacts providing an artifact density of 1072 artifacts/ m2. Sitlivy et al. attributed the higher density of their finds to the application of wet-sieving techniques to recover smaller artifacts.
The sediment deposits of Românești-Dumbrăvița I lie on top of a right bank Late Pleistocene terrace of the Bega Luncanilor. The archeological artifacts are found in the top 80 cm of 3 m thick deposits. These sediments are largely believed to be loess-derived sediments (Kels et al. 2014) however subsequent weathering and soil formations have made it difficult to clearly discern their exact parent material. The sediments containing the lithic artifacts have been dated with Thermoluminescence (TL) and Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) to 40.6 ± 1.5 ka (Schmidt et al. 2013; Kels et al. 2014).
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