VITA ANTIQUA ISSN: 2522-9419 (Online), ISSN: 2519-4542 (Print)
VITA ANTIQUA 9, 2017, HUMAN & LANDSCAPE: Prehistoric Archaeology of Eastern Europe, 144-150
Final Upper Palaeolithic Assamblages from South Caucasus (Dzudzuana Cave)
¹ Department of Stone Age, Batumi Archaeological Museum; Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University, Batumi (Georgia)
In this paper we present Final upper Palaeolithic assemblages from South Caucasus (Dzudzuana Cave) . Dzudzuana cave site, in the Imereti region (Chiatura municipality), is situated on the right bank of the Nekrissi river, a tributary of the Kvirila river, which drains most of Wcstern Georgia. The cave is a large, elongated hall, emerging as a tunnel from which a small creek flows. The wide opening of the cave (22 meters) and high ceiling (ca. 15 m). Excavations in Dzdudzuana cave have been conducted in two campaigns. The first in 1966–1975, was directed by D. Tushabramishvili. There was discovered two layers: the Eneolithic and the Upper Palaeolithic deposits. A second campaign took place in 1996–2008 (head of expedition T. Meshveliani). The basic units of excavation were 50 mm thick quadrants of 0.5×0.5m, within a 1×1m grid. The excavated deposits were wet-sieved, dried and later handpicked in order to retrieve the smallest archaeological components (lithics, bones, etc.). Final upper Paleolithic period (B layer) in Dzudzuana cave dates back between 16.5-13.2 Ka cal BP. This layer comprises an assemblage characterised by the presence of microgravettes and backed and retouched bladelets. The local character of these assemblages is marked by the consistently high percentages of endscrapers, which always outnumber the burins, through all the archaeological occupations on site. There are elongated blades, c. 80 mm long, but most of the debitage comprises flakes, small blades, bladelets and debris. There are no obsidian cores and only c. 50 debitage artefacts. Dzudzuana cave rich in faunal remains too. As we can see, Bison (Bison priscus), aurochs (Bos primogenius) and Caucasian tur (Capra caucasica) are the most common taxa in all occupation levels. Other ungulate species are represented in small frequencies and include primarily red deer (Cervus elaphus). The palynological spectra (five samples) from Unit B demonstrate a major change from bottom to the top. The lower part is characterised by large amounts of rhododendron (Rhododendron caucasica) pollen and other highland elements that suggest the presence of an alpine belt in the vicinity of the cave. Although, during the course of pollen analysis (by palynologist E. Kvavadze) numerous non-pollen polymorphs were discovered. Among these were unique finds of wild flax fibres, including spun and dyed ones. Fibres were recovered from all archaeological layers, but in B layers which is interesting for us, it was 48.
Key words: Upper Palaeolithic, Final Palaeolithic, South Caucasus, Dzudzuana Cave, lithic assemblage