Issue 1, 1999

The Mesolithic Habitation Complexes in
the Balkans and the Danube Basin

by Dr. Vasile Boroneanț

Dr. Vasile Boroneanț, The Mesolithic Habitation Complexes in the Balkans and the Danube Basin, Living Past, 1, 1999, URL:
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The social and historical conditions that occurred immediately after the second world war in this part of the continent caused a weak support and interest towards the research in the archaeological field of Mesolithic complexes, in what concerned both the scientific and museum exploitation of the discoveries and their integration into the European circuit. This was also due to their character, more special and more diverse than of the ones in the west-central and northern parts of Europe and a lot more similar to the ones in Anatolia and the Near East. This is why we consider extremely appropriate the organisers' proposal of discussing this matter at the Meetings of the XIII Congress of the International Union For Prehistorical and Protohistorical Sciences (UISPP) at Forli, Italy. Therefore, we shall refer less to the general problems of the Balkanic Mesolithic complexes and more to the relationships between the Romanian and Balkanic areas, of course, only at the extent that the length of this paper will allow us.

1. Geographical Environment

The analysis of the geographical environment where the human society developed during the Mesolithic age shows us that there were three main regions where the process took place:

  • The Peri-Mediterranean area - covering the insular part and the coast of Greece, of Albania and of the countries of former Yugoslavia.
  • The Balkanic area, consisting of the mountainous peninsular region of Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. This second area was separated from the third area, the area of Carpathians by the Danube Gorge in the region of Iron Gates.
  • The eastern part of the Danube basin.

The entire Mesolithic evolution is closely connected to the extension of a warmer climate towards the western, central and north-eastern Europe. The key for the real understanding of this process is (in what concerns Romania and Yugoslavia) the Iron Gates region. This is the region housing the main part of the discoveries. The Iron Gates had a mild Sub-Mediterranean climate, a rich economic potential, specific flora and fauna, cultural and behavioural traditions, the shelter of a generous landscape, in a word, all that the river had to offer.

2. Pathways of penetration. Areas of diffusion

The elements of the cultural dynamics had three main areas of spreading, if we consider the historical evolution:

  • The sea coast - advancing through the western regions of the continent;
  • The corridor of the Danube basin - the direction of diffusion pointing towards central and northern Europe;
  • The eastern part of the Danube basin, having as direction of diffusion the central and eastern Europe. In this last case, the phenomenon took place through the Prut, Siret and Dniester, all three being rivers tributary to the Danube.

The last two areas were connected through the genetic structure of the relief, having in between the Carpathian mountains.

They all exploited the economic potentials and cultural traditions adding a particular colouring feature to the process of development and diffusion of the specific lifestyle during the Mesolithic period. The influence and the communication between the sea stream and the Danubian one took place through a network of rivers flowing on the coast regions but also through the rivers tributary to the Danube, most of them collected by Drava, Sava and Morava on the right side of the Danube, Tisa and Olt on the left one.

A short glance upon these directions of spreading shows that each of them had its own dynamics of invention. This means that where favourable climate conditions, economic and human potentials existed, the human communities changed from the state of hunter and gatherer to the one of harvester and then of farmer, and from hunting animals to domesticating and breeding them. The change to a domestic economy had as a consequence the sedentation, the birth of a rural agricultural community, while all the other communities that did not fulfil the 'conditions' continued their old ways of living of hunting animals and gathering food. The appearance and diffusion of these first 'germs' encouraged the generalisation of the new way of production. Owing to the climate conditions of the Atlantic period it was imposed the generalisation of an agricultural way of production - called the Neolithic age. Under these circumstances, the Mesolithic (or Epi-Palaeolithic as called by other specialists) appears to be a time when based on observations and experiments, humans stepped from a behaviour specific to a society based on the consumption of items that nature was offering - both as food and materials for processing the tools and weapons - to a society based on invested labour.

The only way of a thoroughly understanding of the process of formation and diffusion of the European Mesolithic, is not considering it separate from the one that took place in the Near and Middle East. The warm postglaciar climate, the potential of flora and fauna in the Near and Middle East, Anatolia and the basin of the Aegean sea presented common features, encouraging thus the adaptation process of the human race. We do not insist now upon this fact, well known from various other studies. The new factor is that recent archaeological and environmental research revealed a genetic link between these cultural aspects. The historical dynamics is closely connected to the optimum conditions for the development of the human spirit. For the territory we are discussing about was proved the existence of micro-climates that through specific features encouraged the appearance of 'germs' that pushed the human civilisation upwards on the ascendant line of the historical becoming. The micro-climates influenced one another and the new developed ideas circulated confronting the realities among them. The existing conditions lead to a new way of thinking, to a new behaviour of the species. This is how we explain the fact that the geographical regions that expanded the last, had the human experience started on the process of transformation later, and borrowed from the first ones the new discoveries, adapting them to their specific conditions. It was not the great number of individuals that produced the change, but the circulation of the new ideas. And then appeared the required factor of progress, the emulation.

Compared to the Palaeolithic, the existence of micro-climates generated a restriction of the area where the human activities were taking place. The phenomenon, noticed by several specialists, was named 'segregation' or 'regional specialisation'. The phenomenon became stronger as the climate got warmer. During the same period of time, the food diet changed, the consumption of meat decreased while the consumption of vegetal food increased. This is closely connected to the extinction of certain species of animals, like the mammoth, the cave bear and reindeer. The species specific to the new climate extended, with the domination of Capra ibex, Rupicapra rupicapra, Cervus elaphus, Sus scrofa. The deciduous forests spread to the prejudice of the conifers. The change on the climate had also as a consequence an incrementation on the area of lakes and ponds, therefore an increasing number of fish and birds. The humans directed their attention and activities towards them. A new toolkit for hunting and fishing was required then, attracting into the economic circuit other raw materials locally available or resulted from the food consumption, as bone, horn, wild boar teeth. New tools, weapons, means of catching the game and fish were invented. The activities of gathering and harvesting improved. But new problems appeared: the storage of food, the introduction of new kinds of meat in the food diet. Clothes made of vegetal fibres, looser and more adequate to a warmer climate replaced the clothing made of furs.

3. Considerations on the general evolution of the Epi-Palaeolithic/Mesolithic in the area

We must say from the very beginning, that we consider the Balkans and the Iron Gates region of the Danube (the 'Clisura') as fit into the large geographic area where a series of special discoveries were made. We consider worth mentioning that between the Balkans and the Iron Gates region on one side and the rest of Romania, on the other side, in what concerned the three ways of diffusion of the Mesolithic, there was a time delay, materialised in the inventory of artefacts discovered so far. We expect future discoveries to fill the existent gaps. This appeared because of the dynamics of invention, more accelerate in this part of the continent, owing to the favourable climatic conditions (a lot milder here during the last glaciation) and to the existence of cultural traditions that allowed the humans to start from a more advanced level, compared to the one on the rest of the continent. Apart from these, there is another cause that apparently was overlooked or neglected by the specialists and we would like to discuss now.

The Black Sea, because of its warm water streams, also favoured the development of a milder climate. It was present on the coast (the Bosphorus, the Dobrudja, the south of Caucasian mountains, south of Moldavia and Ukraine). As the most recent discoveries proved, in all these regions were exposed complexes having related features to the ones that benefited by the Peri-Mediterranean climate. The existent flora and fauna support the idea. And this is also our argument for the third way of diffusion of the Epi-Palaeolithic/Mesolithic on the European area. We presume that the process of diffusion had also an opposite sense of penetration; the same ways of advance were used by the cultural syntheses present in the cultural complexes in the west, centre and east part of the continent to advance towards the south-eastern regions. This continued during the Neolithic age, too.

During the same period of time as the Sub-Atlantic climatic period, the Euro-Asian civilisation seemed to have passed into a new age. The change was also correlated, of course, with other climatic factors and also with the socio-historical cultural dynamics. Another problem that we would like to bring into discussion is the one of the warm water streams of the Canary Islands, coming from the west and the north of the continent from tropical regions. They have influenced the existing populations during the historical period we are dealing with. In no other way can we explain the presence of Maglemoisian type complexes on both sides of the British channel. They developed owing to the thermic balance of the Earth and spread in a tight connection with the level variations of the planetary ocean. This problem must remain in focus for further research.

The Peri-Mediterranean area was dominated during the end of the Upper Palaeolithic by Epi-Gravettian features and it was perfectly normal to continue that tradition during the Epi-Palaeolithic. Within the Balkanic region the situation appeared to be similar. It is not clear yet what happened within the Carpathian area, as because of the relief and the thermic climate this has always functioned like a 'revolving plate' between the two areas mentioned above and other two: the alpine central European region and the eastern one, areas much different, due to the presence of the Black and the Baltic seas.

From the research completed so far, in the Iron Gates region we can distinguish two different stages. The first one is the one that continues the Epi-Gravettian cultural tradition. The change towards the "segregation/ regionalization" took place gradually. The blade technique was little by little abandoned and flaking technique is adopted. The flint and other rocks, locally available, were used as raw materials, but bone and horn were also in an intense usage. The second stage corresponds to the moment of reduction in size of the area within which the humans were activating and also to the moment of a rare use of flint in the bladelet technique and the usage mainly of quartz and quartzitic rocks in making the tools. The processing of bone, horn and wild boar tusk became more common. The same for flaking the quartzite rocks and flint. Culturally we were able to tell three categories of complexes, linked together in a genetic and causative chain.

  • Final Epi-Gravettian - or Proto-Clisurean (Proto-Romanellian) as we call it;
  • Late Epi-Gravettian - Clisurean (Romanellian) as called by us. (Al. Paunescu names it Romanello-Azillian). It comprises at his turn four stages of development:
    • Climente Cave II
    • Cuina Turcului I
    • Cuina Turcului II
    • Ostrovul Banului I-III a
  • The cultural complex Schela-Cladovei-Lepenski Vir, also with four stages: an early one, two middle ones and a late one. In order to establish this periodization we have taken into account quantitative studies (the quantity of rocks used: flint, quartz, quartzitic rocks), qualitative e being the one of the Danube Gorge in Clisura region, between Bazias and Gura Vaii and the second being the open space following the Danube's exit from the Gorge, between Gura Vaii and Ostrovul Mare. Between the two zones there are differences in terms of quantity and quality of the toolkit, in the typology of stone, horn and bone artefacts, in the frequency of appearance of various animal species.

4. The succession of the three complexes in the Iron Gates region

From the climatic point of view the three complexes developed between Lascaux Interstadial Age (the early arid pine phase by Em. Pop & collab., the climatic Romanian oscillation by M. Carciumaru) and the beginning of the Atlantic (mid-'spruce mixed with hazelnut and oak' phase after Em. Pop and the end of 'spruce & oak' s phase, after M. Carciumaru). Chronologically, it took place between 14,500 BC and 5,600 BC. We must pay a great attention to this chronological framing, as we agree with E. Pop, N. Boscaiu and M. Carciumaru that the 'classic' Pre-Boreal might have appeared a lot earlier than in the central Europe, that is about 2000 years before. Alexandra Bolomey, who studied the local fauna also noticed this fact, as well as E. Kessler, who studied the avifauna.

5. The final Epi-Gravettian. The Proto-Clisurean

This stage was identified in 1965 and 1968 in just one site, at Pestera Climente I, situated in Cazanele Mari region, Dubova village, Mehedinti county. The layer occurred at a depth of 140 to 190 cm. It was rich in 'cryoclasts', containing fireplaces and faunal remains ( forest and euritherm species): Sorex araneus, Pippistrellus pippistrellus, Spalax leucodon, Cricetus cricetus, Microtus arvalis, Ocotona pusilla, Ursus spelaeus, Crocuta spelaea, Mustela nivalis, Rupicapra rupicapra, Capra ibex etc. Among the 157 pieces of the lithic inventory were identified scrapers made of the end of blades, points and micro-points with a flat side, roundly retouched points, micro-gravettes, 'a cran' pieces, 'encoche' blades, backed blades, Dufour blades, segments of circles, a few burins, etc. To complete the list we would also like to mention a bone spear made of a 'penial' bone of Ursus spelaeus and a piercer. Similar finds were found at La Gravette, Willendorf, Moravany, Asprochaliko.

6. Late Epi-Gravettian. Clisurean (Romanello-Azillian)

It is a local aspect of the Romanellian, being also related to the Valourguian and Azillian. Stage I - Climente I cave, Cazanele Mari region, Dubova village, Mehedinti county. It was identified and studied in 1968,1969. The layer was between 65-90 cm. It presented 'cryoclasts' and fireplaces. The fauna consisted of Ursus spelaeus, Sus scrofa, Cervus elaphus, etc. The lithic inventory contained: circular, subcircular and ogival scrapers made of flakes, microburins, roundly retouched points (Romanellian), Gravettian pieces with a flat side (Climente I type), triangular points,'a cran' pieces, 'a esquillee', segments of circles, backed blades, truncated backed blades presenting dentils, Dufour bladelets, etc. The inventory comprised 752 pieces, all published. We also found artefacts made on bone, deer antler, a fragmented harpoon, awls, borers, throwing points. A few of the bone pieces were ornamented with incised geometric patterns or small circular hallows executed presumably with a well sharpened burin. Some of the teeth had been used as pendants. The river boulders, occasionally painted with red ochre, were used for grinding bones and seeds or in the case of the ones presenting hallows - to transform the ochre in powder. In the same layer was also found a human skeleton, lying on one side, spread with red ochre, hands under the head. The skull was fragmentary and only the lower jaw was present.

Stages II and III were found in two neighbouring sites in Cazanele Mari region, Dubova village, Mehedinti county. Stage II in the first layer at Cuina Turcului and Veterani Cave. Both were sites excavated in 1964 by C.S. Nicolaescu-Plopsor, M. Davidescu, P. Roman and V. Boroneant. Between 1965-1969 at Cuina Turcului the excavations were resumed by Al. Paunescu and at Veterani cave by Dinu Rosetti and V. Boroneant between 1966-1968. The fauna of both sites consisted predominantly of Sus scrofa, Capra ibex, Rupicapra rupicapra, Bos primigenius, Cervus elaphus, Alces alces, Equus cabalus, Canis lupus, Vulpes vulpes, Ursus aorctus, Putorius putorius, Castor fiber and various species of birds. Flint industry was extremely well represented: we had 1518 processed finds for the first layer and 2345 for the second one. End-scrapers made of flakes were dominant, like in Climente II cave, but all the other types specific to the Clisurean/Romanellian were also to be noticed: circular segmented points, micro-gravettes, backed bladelets, burins, 'a cran' pieces, truncated bladelets, Dufour bladelets. Compared to Climente II cave the new elements were represented by trapeze shaped pieces and also triangular ones. Overall, the variation in the types of tools and the variation of their percentage was hardly noticeable between the layers.

A third site belonging to the Clisurean was found outside the Iron Gates region, in the karst of Cerna Valley, at Baile Herculane, in a cave named Pestera Hotilor ('the Thieves' Cave'). But its inventory was considerably poorer. Cuina Turcului offered a rich bone inventory, consisting of awls, piercers, throwing points, all shaped differently from the ones in Climente I cave. Some of them presented abstract geometric patterns, resembling to the ones belonging to the Romanellian (V. Boroneant, paper at the VIII section, XV colloquium). Personal ornamentation objects made of bone, horn, teeth and snail shells were also to be found. River boulders painted with red ochre were still present. Stage IV was discovered on an island, Ostrovul Banului-Gura Vaii, Mehedinti county, situated at the exit of the Danube from the Gorge.

Three layers of habitation were identified. The fauna included mainly Sus scrofa and Cervus elaphus but also a large variety of fish, among which the best represented were Acipense ruthenus, Huso huso, Leucicus chephalus, Abramis brama, Ciprinus carpio, Selurus glanis, Styzostedion lucioperca, all species that had been previously identified in the other sites. The end-scrapers dominated the flint industry. The toolkit also included typical Clisurean points, micro-points, La Gravette and triangular points, segments of circles, atypical 'a cran' pieces, truncated, backed and Dufour blades, finely retouched flakes and blades. For the first level we had 101 pieces, 81 for the second level and 127 for the III a level. Not ornamented bone tools were found, but was still to be noticed the presence of river boulders painted with ochre. As a general observation we would like to underline the increasing rate of microlithization, the high percentage of bladelets, the fast decline in number of the segments of circles and the presence of the backed blades down to the lowest level. It is also worth mentioning the increasing number of the 'ecaillee' pieces, especially of the end-scrapers, and the lessening in number of the abruptly and semi-abruptly retouched end-scrapers.

Each stage of the Clisurean brought a strengthening of the microlithization. The prismatic and pyramidal cores are also to be found more and more seldom. Yet, the bipolar ones are somewhat more frequent. Samples for C14 dating were taken for each stage, but only the results obtained for Cuina Turcului were relevant. They read 10650±120 and 10100±120 BC for the first layer and 8175±200 and 8175±200 for the second one. The tests were made by the Berlin Laboratory. The results are given in non-calibrated years. On the Yugoslav bank, similar discoveries appeared only at Padina and Vlasac. Chronologically they are contemporary to stages II and III a from Ostrovul Mare and presented the closest resemblance with ours, in what concerned the entire evolution of the process, starting with the Proto-Clisurean (final Epi-Gravettian) up to the end of this evolution. The similarities concerned the typology of the flint toolkit, the processing technique of bone and horn, the artistic aspect of the ornamental objects.

It is only the percentages and the slight variations in the tool types that distinguish the complexes in the Danube valley from the ones at Grotta Romanelli, Grotta delle Mura, Grotta del Cavallo, Grotta di Uluzzo, Grotta Azzura di Samotorza, etc. This in what concerns the classic Romanellian and the following stages to the Epi-Romanellian. Close analogies can also be made to the Valourguian in the south of France (named at the beginning Romanello-Azillian). Yet, direct links with these cultural complexes could not have existed. Between the Iron Gates region, eastern Yugoslavia and the Adriatic sea there are the Dinaric mountains. Yet, the excavations at Crvena Stijena, Odmut and Medena Stijena seem to indicate a certain road of advance of the cultural relations. The process was born in the Danube Valley and then spread along the Sava river and its tributary, Drina, and then, over the Adriatic (that had a very low level during that age) within the Italian peninsula. Another branch of the cultural trend followed the Sava river to the springs, through Slovenia (Ovca Jama, Babija Jama) maybe over the heights of the Alps, pointing westwards. The complexes on the sea coast (Franchthi IV-VI, Asprochaliko 1-5) (the Slovanian group, as considered by White-Kozlowski) present common features, yet slightly different to the ones in the Iron Gates and southern and western Italy. The penetration through the Iron Gates Gorge happened during the early stage of Cuina Turcului II. We believe that from a historical behaviour point of view the Clisurean marked the presedentation period.

7. The Schela Cladovei-Lepenski Vir cultural complex

This last stage had a sudden development, though in steps. It occurred when changing from the Clisurean complexes, based mainly on flint exploitation from the local resources, to a lessening of this activity and a change to an intensive processing of the river boulders and other types of rocks. Predilection was shown to locally exploited quartz ( seldom obtain from natural deposits, more often from the rocks available on the beach). Climatically, the process corresponds to the Boreal and beginning of Atlantic period, after the end of the Pinus phase. During this stage the landscape suffered a great change. It involved the warming of the climate, the stabilisation of the Danube course( first at a lower level than the present one, then reaching the one existent nowadays). Man gradually descended from the caves situated on the upper levels of the karst (Climente II cave (178m) to Climente I cave (62m) and the shelter under the rock at Cuina Turcului (60m)). During the period of time when Schela Cladovei-Lepenski Vir culture flourished, the Danube had the lowest level. It only happened twice ever since, between III-I centuries BC and IX-XIII centuries AD. In terms of archaeological sites, this period frames between the habitation at Ostrovul Banului (end of IX millennium) and Alibeg, Icoana (mid-VI millennium). During the first stage at Veterani Terasa the flint toolkit still preserved Clisurean flint tools that later on will be quite rare or absent.

8. Chronological list of the excavated sites in subzone I: Danube Gorge (from Baziaș to Gura Văii)

Veterani Terasa (Cazanele Mari, Mehedinti county) Characteristics. Flint industry in decline (only 37.77% of the processed raw material). It is the beginning of the quartz industry (13.16%) and of the quartzitic rock usage (49.07%). The toolkit still comprised the abruptly retouched points, specific to the Clisurean, but also micro-gravettes, segments of circles, backed blades, Dufour blades, burins, circular and semicircular end-scrapers, 'ecaillee' end-scrapers. The tool processing was usually made on flakes. Bone and deer antler tools appeared. Also the debut of the ornamented pieces; sunken hut-type dwellings had simple fireplaces, the stone-border was not present yet.

Ostrovul Banului (downstream the cataracts, Gura Vaii, Mehedinti county).
Flint industry also in decline (13.69%), quartz industry in full development (43.56%). The same for the industry of quartzite and other rocks (42.75%). Debut of horn, bone, wild boar tusk industry. The dwellings were of the sunken hut type with simple hearths. The flint toolkit included retouched points, micro-gravettes, backed blades, micro-end-scrapers made on flakes. The number of pieces belonging to these categories of tools appeared to diminish. In exchange, there was an increasing number of pieces retouched 'a esquillee'. We also exposed deer antler and bone tools, river boulders painted with red ochre. The excavations took place in 1965.

Icoana (Cazanele Mici, Ogradena-Ieselnita village, Mehedinti county)
Flint industry reached very low percentages (1.58%), quartz had 66.01% and quartzitic rocks 32.51%. The toolkit was dominated by end-scrapers made on flakes but roughly processed. Still to be found were roundly retouched points, micro-gravettes, backed blades. In great number were found the finely retouched micro-flakes. Among the quartz tools remarkable were the side-scrapers and the 'a ecaillee' pieces. The processing of bone, deer antler and tusk reached most elaborated forms (ard tips with high foot and several holes for fastening into the handle). The ornamentation makes a start for the abstract geometric patterns which will become a main feature of this kind of complexes. The second layer of habitation contained the hut-type dwellings with simple hearths but co-existing with burials. The river boulders were painted with red ochre or partly polished on one side. It was excavated in 1967-1968.

Razvrata (Cazanele Mici, Ogradena-Ieselnita village, Mehedinti county)
The lowest percentage for the flint industry (0.57%) with the same types of tools as at Icoana. The processing of quartzitic tools was in regress (25.50%) but quartz registered very high percentages (70%). The excavations revealed dwellings of the sunken hut type in the second level of habitation, with circular fireplaces made of river stones. The bone, horn and tusk industries were similar to Icoana. The site was exposed in 1967-1968.

Cuina Turcului
We identified here proofs of habitation belonging to the Schela Cladovei culture that had not been stratigraphically noticeable during the excavations (see the section dedicated to the Clisurean).

Alibeg (Pescari-Alibeg straits, Pescari village, Caras-Severin county)
A come-back of the flint industry in what concerns the blade-technique (5.15%). The quartzitic rocks lost ground (10.74%), quartz reached the highest percentages ever (84.11%). There appeared to be a decline in the bone, tusk and horn industries. The ornamental objects and the flint tools announced the Neolithic. The dwellings were half-sunken, with a border well consolidated with well burnt limestone. The excavations took place in 1969, 1970.

9. Conclusions for subzone I

The location of the sites is an important feature, as the habitation places were situated on the very bank of the river, in a flooding area. Some of the layers were excavated only when the waters were at the lowest level. The fauna was more diversified. Quartz, horn and bone industries were richer in number of tools than in the second subzone.

10. Conclusions for subzone II: wide open valley landscape

It is situated upstream Turnu-Severin and Ostrovul Mare island. The highest terraces of the Danube get far off the river and most of the sites were situated on islands and lower terraces. Among the excavated sites we can list:

Schela Cladovei - the site that gave the name to the culture is situated on the Romanian bank of the Danube, being the south-eastern district of the Drobeta Turnu Severin municipium. The above mentioned site might have contained all the stages of evolution of the culture but most of the area had been covered by the Danube little before the excavations commenced. As a whole, the flint industry had small percentage (4.18%), the quartzitic rocks 25.72%. The quartz industry was on the highest evolution point (70.10%). The inventory of flint and quartzitic tools consisted of roundly retouched blades, abruptly retouched blades and flakes, circular and semicircular end-scrapers. The trapeze shaped end-scrapers made their debut. There was also a difference in what concerned the technique of chopping the stone. The number of random detached flakes is smaller. The processing of deer antler kept at the same level while tusk processing was poorly represented. The decoration of bone and horn was made by hardly perceptible incisions. During the earliest stages the fireplaces were simple, and then, made of river boulders, disposed in a circular shape. Later they were bordered with rectangular or triangular stoneslabs. The burials occurred around the dwellings. The presence of individuals killed by arrow tips or having healed wounds suggested the existence of a steady community. The river boulders had red ochre marks. They seem to have been used for grinding grains, seeds and even ochre. Some of them presented a deep hallow on one side, resembling to the Lepenski Vir ones. The excavations were undertaken in 1965,1967-1968, 1982-1995.

Ostrovul Corbului - Cliuci (island on the Danube, Ostrovul Corbului, Hinova, Mehedinti county) The same features as in the middle stages of Schela Cladovei culture were present in what concerned flint, quartz, quartzitic rocks, bone and tusk. There was no quantitative analysis. Fl. Mogoseanu, the archaeology no stratigraphical recordings. They comprise of deer antler tools which may typologically belong to stages II-III of the culture.

Ostrovul Mare - river km 873 (island on the Danube, Gogosu village, Mehedinti county)
On the island was built the hidro-electric station of Iron Gates II. The inventory of flint tools differed slightly from what we found on the other sites in subzone I. Still there were resemblance to the tools at Schela Cladovei. We found end-scrapers made on flakes. The roundly retouched points and the micro-gravettes were absent. Level III contained trapeze points and a crescent one. Except from Alibeg (which was situated to the western end of the Gorge), the quality of flint was different compared to the one of the flint tools in the sites upstream. Dominated the quartzitic industry, represented by the same types of tools as at Schela Cladovei site. Along with the old types made of deer antler, we found a new kind of hoe with a direct way of fastening into the handle. The arrow tips appeared more seldom, making place to narrow blade daggers. The ornaments were of the same abstract geometric kind, being also noticed on the polished stone. Levels II and III sheltered half-sunken dwellings; the first layer had 'surface' ones. The fireplaces of the first level were circular, made on river stones. In the upper levels they were rectangular or trapeze shaped. A human mandible was found under one of the hearths.

Ostrovul Mare - Km 875, upstream
The toolkit of flint and quartzitic rocks was almost identical to the one at km 873. They were dominated by the 'a ecaillee' pieces, made of cores, the great majority bipolar ones. The dwellings were similar to the ones at km 873, with a step forward in what concerns the 'dynamics of invention': the burnt clay platform, like in the dwellings at Lepenski Vir. The fireplace presented a rectangular border made also of burnt clay. Level III, together with Alibeg and Schela Cladovei, are the latest cultural complexes of Schela Cladovei type (see the synoptic table).
Except for Schela Cladovei archaeological site, all the others that presented Schela Cladovei-Lepenski Vir features are presently covered by the waters of the two artificially created lakes, Iron Gates I and II. They are contemporary, totally or in stages, as the case may be, with the sites on the Serbian bank from Padina, Vlasac, Lepenski Vir, Hajducka Vodenica (for the first zone) and Mala Vrbica-Ajmena, Velesnica, Kula-Mihalovac (also covered by the waters) for the second zone. One thing was clear to the communities on both banks: they were aware of their common ethnic and linguistic origin. Otherwise, communication between them would have been impossible. A historical behaviour was developed, so there was a need for a religious, spiritual and administrative centre. We are talking about Lepenski Vir, the first centre of this kind in Europe. Future research might give the proof to link these sites to other ones in the Balkans, and we particularly have in mind Crvena Stijena in Montenegro, which in our opinion presented the same creative features, specific to the area of the central basin of the Danube. This area is different from all that the Mesolithic of the Near East and Europe has known till now. The beginning of the sedentation created the premises of the Neolithic society. It is the area where the pig was domesticated.

The eastern part of the Danube Valley
It was specific to the communities of hunters-fishermen-gatherers. The rate of the dynamics of invention is lower, owing to the traditions formed within the geographic area of the Pontic central Carpathian basin. Inside it are to be remarked contradictory evolutions, springing from a late Epi-Gravettian (as proved by M. Brudiu through his excavations in the Subcarpathians and in the Moldavian field, and by Al. Paunescu in the Carpathians). This late Epi-Gravettian developed towards what we call Tardenoisian complexes in the area but are in fact just a local evolution specific to the age. Another evolution, started due to a southern impulse, materialised into the discoveries at Soroca-Trifauti on the Prut river. It might have been influenced by the new changes taking place in the southern parts and in the Iron Gates area. The deer antler and bone industries must be correlated to the Epi-Gravettian tradition at Cotu lui Niculint. They fit into the local lithic industry. In the eastern range of the Carpathians, to the north, around the Ceahlau mountains, we noticed the existence of a late Swiderian characterised by peduncular points, that might have penetrated from the northern regions. We do not insist upon these kind of complexes, being a special subject for some other time.