Szederkény-Kukorica-dűlő

Burial under excavation

Burial under excavation

The site of Szederkény-Kukorica-dűlő (M6 B095) was discovered in 2005 in advance of construction of the M6 motorway in south-east Transdanubia (in Baranya County, in southern Hungary). It lies on the southern slope of a low ridge, above a stream which flows into the Danube . As a result of a four-year investigation led by the archaeologists of the Janus Pannonius Museum (Pécs) between 2005 and 2008, more than 4000 archaeological features have been explored, dating from the Neolithic to the medieval period. The site covered nearly 125,000 m2, with Neolithic features across almost the whole of the excavated area. The Neolithic part of the site is now the focus of PhD research by János Jakucs.

View of the Szederkény site under excavation

View of the Szederkény site under excavation

The Neolithic pottery assemblage from Szederkény shows strong resemblances to the early Vinča culture assemblages of central Serbia and the Romanian Banat region, as well as those of the Maros valley. Typical Vinča elements such as biconical forms, sharply carinated bowls, red painting on the pedestals, black-topped firing, black burnished surfaces and incised dotted bands, occur in large quantities. According to normal typological markers, it can be suggested  that the material can most probably be dated to the A2-3 and B1-2 periods of the Vinča culture. Several fragments of figurines and altars also occur. The altars, usually of triangular form with incised and dotted decoration, figurines with triangular faces, and others of a square-headed type, also have their close analogies in the early Vinča culture. Only a negligible proportion of the coarse pottery shows the characteristics of the early (Bicske/Bina) period of the central European LBK.

János and Peter working in Waterhouse Square

János and Peter working in Waterhouse Square

Although the material culture clearly has strong affinities with the northern Balkans, the architecture of the Szderkény settlement shows a completely different picture. The Vinča material is associated with a typical central European LBK settlement layout and structures. Although some elements of the layout of postholes within these structures were poorly preserved, houses could be confidently identified from the elongated pits flanking them. At Szederkény, more than 50 settlement burials can be dated to the Neolithic period. The dead were buried in crouched position, laid mainly on their left side. Their graves were found among the houses, some of them in the upper layer of house pits and refuse pits. Some of the burials were provided with grave goods (a biconical black-topped vessel, Spondylus objects, stone chisels and shoe-last adzes). A joint project on the Neolithic human remains by the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz, and the Archaeological Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, applying strontium isotopic and aDNA analysis (funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), is showing, according to results so far, that the population differs in many respects from the LBK gene pool.

A modest number of samples (restricted by a lack of articulated, short-life animal bone and diagnostic associations with the human burials) have now been submitted for dating by the Times of Their Lives project, following previous discussions in Budapest with Alasdair Whittle, Alex Bayliss and Peter Marshall, and a visit to English Heritage in London in August 2013 by János Jakucs, and results are eagerly awaited. These will be valuable both in their own right, and by comparison with other TOTL dating and modelling at Vinča-Belo Brdo and Uivar.


References

Horváth, F. 2006. Comments on the Connections between the Vinča Complex and the Carpathian Basin. In N. Tasić and C. Grozdanov (eds), Homage to Milutin Garašanin, 309– 24. Belgrade.

Kalicz, N. 1993. The early phases of the Neolithic in Western Hungary (Transdanubia). Poročilo 21, 85–135.

Marton, T. and Oross, K. 2012. Siedlungsforschung in linienbandkeramischen Fundorten in Zentral- und Südtransdanubien – Wiege, Peripherie oder beides. In S. Wolfram and H. Stäuble (eds), Siedlungstruktur und Kulturwandel in der Bandkeramik, 220–40. Dresden:  Landesamt für Archäologie