02.09.2022 change 02.09.2022

Traces of Alpine ibex hunters found in Tatra cave

Photo from press release Photo from press release

Traces of Alpine ibex hunters from several thousand years ago have been discovered in the Belianske Tatras in Slovakia.

Based on isotope analyses, the joint Slovak-Polish research expedition in Hučivá Cave (Hučivá diera), say the traces were found in what was a Palaeolithic settlement left by the Magdalenian people, best known from France and Spain in the 13th millennium BC. 

Professor Paweł Valde-Nowak from the Institute of Archeology of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków said: “It was a group of hunters specialising in hunting ibex, a species no longer found in the Tatras today. 

“We found several hundred blades of thrown weapons, bone needles, a fragment of a stone lamp and many bones of hunted animals. 

“They were resting in the remains of a large fire.”

Źródło: Paweł Valde-Nowak
Credit: Paweł Valde-Nowak 

During previous research seasons in Hučivá Cave, above the artefacts from the end of the Ice Age, the Slovak-Polish team also found fragments of 15th and 16th century clay pots as well as coins from World War II.

Źródło: materiały prasowe
Photo from press release

Professor Valde-Nowak previously told PAP that scientists had been looking for traces of the prehistoric man's presence in the Tatra caves since the 19th century; unsuccessfully until now. Magura Cave in the Polish Tatras was one of the selected sites, but excavations carried out in that cave before World War II did not bring the expected results.

Źródło: materiały prasowe
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Palaeozoologists, geologists, sedimentologists, archaeobotanists and palaeogeneticists as well as members of the Science Club of Students of Archeology of the Jagiellonian University participated in the field work in Hučivá Cave.

Źródło: materiały prasowe
Photo from press release

Later this season, the research will move to the Polish side of the Tatra Mountains, the researchers announced.

Źródło: materiały prasowe
Photo from press release

The project is carried out by the Institute of Archeology of the Jagiellonian University in collaboration with the Institute of Archaeology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences. The work is financed by the Polish National Science Centre.

The initial article was published in Antiquity - Project Gallery.

PAP - Science in Poland, Szymon Zdziebłowski

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