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Name P. ID RAN Code Site Type Elevation Condition Approx. Surface MP Levels UP Levels Raw Materials Lithics Fauna Abs. Dates Coordinates km from search pt. Primary Ref.
Mamaia-Sat B.II.17.a 60525.01 open air 7 destroyed 22 2 0 fine 2008 no no 44.28,28.61 0 Păunescu 1999: 137
Boineşti F.XIV.3.a 137087.01 open air 215 sedimentsleft 269 1 2 fine 200 no no 47.9,23.33 0 Păunescu 2001: 478
Cheia B.II.6.b 63018.01 cave 41 destroyed 35 1 0 fine 124 yes yes 44.51,28.43 0 Păunescu 1999: 93
Castelu B.II.5.a N/A open air 0 unknown 0 1 0 fine 321 no no 44.24,28.33 0 Păunescu 1999: 80
Cuza Voda E B.II.11.e N/A open air 0 unknown 0 1 0 fine 1207 no no 44.29,28.31 0 Păunescu 1999: 112
Peştera B.II.24.a 62716.01 open air 0 unknown 0 1 0 fine 201 no no 44.19,28.13 0 Păunescu 1999: 178
Saligny B.II.29.a 62324.01 open air 30 unknown 0 1 0 fine 215 no no 44.28,28.1 0 Păunescu 1999: 186
Cioarei D.II.3.a N/A cave 366 0 6 2 coarse 732 yes yes 45.11,23.02 0 Cârciumaru 2000
Vӑdastra C.VIII.26.a N/A open air 83 unknown 2400 1 1 fine 1127 yes no 43.86,24.37 0 Păunescu 2000: 218
Muierii D.II.1.a N/A cave 639 unknown 34 1 1 coarse 4936 yes yes 45.19,23.76 0 Păunescu 2000: 310
Nandru - Curată F.II.11.a 90510.01 cave 349 unknown 0 7 0 mixed 298 yes yes 45.81,22.82 0 Păunescu 2001:241
Mitoc - Valea Izvorului A.V.35.a N/A open air 121 unknown 485 1 1 fine 1901 no no 48.1,27.02 0 Păunescu 1999a: 125
Bordul Mare F.II.12.a 90609.1 cave 660 sedimentsleft 110 9 1 coarse 5771 yes yes 45.51,23.15 0 Păunescu 2001: 264
Gura Cheii F.V.16.a 40376.04 cave 775 unknown 37 2 2 mixed 46 yes yes 45.55,25.52 0 Păunescu 2001: 336
Ripiceni-Izvor A.V.45.d N/A open air 100 destroyed 3950 6 8 fine 56595 yes yes 47.96,27.14 0 Păunescu 1999a: 167

Site information for: Ripiceni-Izvor (A.V.45.d)
General Details
Excavation History
Additional Files
Name: Ripiceni-Izvor
Paunescu ID: A.V.45.d
RAN Code: N/A
Site Type: open air
Coordinates: 47.96, 27.14   [Map!]
Coordinate status: approximate
Abs. Elevation (m): 100
Rel. Elevation (m): 15
Condition: destroyed
Approx. excavated surface: 3950
MP Levels: 6
UP Levels: 8
Predominant Raw Material type: fine
Total MP Lithics: 56595
MP Fauna present? yes
Absolute dates?: yes
Discovery Date: 1928
Orig. Excavator(s): N. N. Moroşan
Primary reference: Păunescu 1999a: 167
General Information

Ripiceni-Izvor is one of the most significant Palaeolithic sites in the country, having yielded an impressive number of lithics, faunal remains, and hearths; significantly, the site also provided evidence of shelters. Discovered at the beginning of the 20th century, the loessic deposits of the site were first probed in 1929 and 1930 by N.N. Moroşan, who excavated some test pits following the discovery of lithics and fossil fauna in 1928 (Păunescu 1999: 168). It was not until 1961, however, that large-scale, systematic excavations would be undertaken at the site. That year, a team led by Alexandru Păunescu began a project that would last until 1981, and would see vast amounts of sediments removed. Unfortunately, this project came to an end due to the construction of a dam which, after becoming operational in 1982, resulted in the flooding and total destruction of the site. The majority of our knowledge regarding Ripiceni-Izvor comes, therefore, from the results of these excavations and the relatively few papers and monographs that Alexandru Păunescu published about the site throughout the years, although some faunal and palynological analyses were published by other researchers.

Păunescu’s team excavated three areas, the first of which (SI) covered 500 square meters and was excavated down to the alluvial deposits (8.5-11m). The second area (SII), adjacent to SI, measured circa 3350 square meters and was excavated to a depth of 9-10.5m, although in a few places a depth of 12.5m was reached. The third area (SIII), located some 30 meters north of SI, was the smallest, covering “only” 100 square meters; it was excavated to a depth of only 2.3m (see Păunescu 1999: 168 for more details). The stratigraphic sequence that emerged from these massive excavations was fairly complex and, unfortunately, a series of problems with the excavation methodologies made stratigraphic interpretations notoriously difficult. For instance, Cârciumaru points out that Păunescu’s goal was to adhere to strict horizontality rather than to follow geological layers while excavating, which, combined with the large area covered and the fact that no single datum was used made of following the natural stratigraphy of the site a difficult, if not impossible task (see Cârciumaru 1995).

In any case, Păunescu identified a pre-Mousterian level followed by six Mousterian levels, separated from the Upper Palaeolithic deposits (divided by Păunescu into Aurignacian and Gravettian) by sterile sediments. The first Mousterian (I) was relatively poor, yielding a total of 1119 lithics; it contained, however, a type A* structure within which a small lithic workshop could be identified, containing a total of 236 lithics (Păunescu 1999: 177).

The second Mousterian level was also relatively poor, containing 1282 lithics, some found in what appeared to be workshops, and a small hearth (at ~8.8m depth) which was dated to ca. 37000 BP (Păunescu 1999: 182).

The third Mousterian level, although also relatively poor in lithics (1916 total), contained 12 hearths, some of which were dated to ~46000 BP (Păunescu 1999: 189), and several workshops.

The Mousterian IV level was by far the richest, yielding a total of 35890 lithics, the most faunal remains in the sequence, 5 shelters, several hearths and 47 workshops, the latter usually containing between 200 and 950 lithics. The largest of the shelters was found in SI at a depth of 5.35-5.95m, and was classified by Păunescu as type B. It measured almost 10m in length and circa 2m in width, was formed by circa 30 mammoth tusks (the largest being 2m), limestone blocks, and various types of large bones, and was most likely a wind-breaker structure erected to protect its makers from the easterly winds (Păunescu 1999: 198). In SII three type A shelters were found, formed by limestone blocks and containing inside traces of fire, some lithics, and bones. A type C oval structure measuring some 8 by 5m and located at a depth between 6.36 and 7.29m was also found in SII, and has been dated, based on a sample taken from its lowest level, at circa 40000BP. It contained a total of over 5000 lithics, and Păunescu notes that three empty spaces were found along the contour of this structure, possibly indicating entrances (Păunescu 199: 208). Unlike the three preceding levels, which were assigned by Păunescu to the Typical Mousterian, this level, as well as the following, are assigned by Păunescu to the Mousterian of Acheulean tradition.

Mousterian level V contained a total of 16064 lithics, relatively few faunal remains (possibly due to soil acidity), and one type A structure at 5.77-6.05m depth, measuring 3.25m in length and 2.15m in width, delimited by 11 limestone slabs and a mammoth molar, and containing within a hearth and some 200 lithics. Although Păunescu mentions several workshops, it is unclear just how many were identified, since he simply states that workshops were discovered in 18 squares, as if squares were somehow real, discrete units (Păunescu 1999: 221).

The last Mousterian level, VI, was very poor in comparison with the preceding levels, yielding only 324 lithics, which were assigned by Păunescu to the Denticulate Mousterian (Păunescu 1999: 228), small fragments of corroded bone fragments, and no traces of hearths or workshops.

* Păunescu identified three types of structures, namely small arching (Type A) and large straight (Type B) windbreaker structures, as well as oval or ovoid structures which might have been, according to him, huts (Type C).

Geological/Paleoenvironmental Information

According to Păunescu (1999a: 171-2), the depths at which the different Middle Palaeolithic levels could be found are as follows:

  1. "Mousterian I": 10.2-9.3m. Generally, this level was between 0.3 and 0.9m thick.
  2. "Mousterian II": 9.3-8.45m. Thickness varied between 0.55-0.9m.
  3. "Mousterian III": 8.45-7.9m. Thickness varied between 0.25-0.95m.
  4. "Mousterian IV": 6.6-5.6m. Thickness varied between 0.25-1m.
  5. "Mousterian V": 5.6-4.7m. Thickness varied between 0.2-0.9m.
  6. "Mousterian VI": 4.45-4.05m. Thickness varied between 0.1-0.4m.

According to an interdisciplinary study of the deposits (Păunescu et al. 1976), the following observations can be made:

  • At a depth of between 10 and 8.7m sandy deposits could be observed, which were likely deposited during a warm period, specific to an interstadial. The climate was warm and humid, determining a forested, or at least a silvosteppic, landscape dominated by deciduous trees.
  • At a depth of between 8.7 and 7.7m, the first paleosoil could be observed. Some climatic changes are observable, but generally the conditions remained the same as before.
  • Starting at 7.7m (the upper part of the paleosoil), the forest retracts and there is a considerable loss of deciduous trees. At 7.6m some formerly dominant species totally disappear. A steppe environment becomes evident through the dispersal of graminidaes.
  • At 7.26m, a short and slight recovery of forests is noticeable.
  • From 7m upward, the steppe landscape returns, but only for a short period since at 6.6m there is ample evidence once again of a forested environment, composed mostly of pine.  Overall, however, between 7 and 5.6m there is evidence for a relatively mild and moderately arid glacial period.
  • Warming starts being noticeable at 5.6m, as fir and deciduous trees begin appearing, although pine remains well represented. From 5.6 to 4.4m the pollen spectra indicates, according to the authors, a warm and wet climate specific to an interstadial.
  • At 4.1m the steppe landscape is prevalent once more.
  • Between 3.3 and 3m, a reforestation episode is apparent, mostly through the increase in the amount of pollen from coniferous trees. The sediments suggest a short period of wetter climate.
  • Evidence for a cold and arid period with a steppe landscape is noticeable until a depth of 1.9m.

It should be noted that the malacological fauna studied by Grossev (same publication as above - Păunescu et al. 1976) revealed several "horizons," which are listed below.

  • At a depth of between 12.2 to 11.2m some fragments of Unio sp. could be observed, which indicate that sediments where these were found deposited in water.
  • Between 10.82 and 9m, numerous remains of freshwater mollusks were identified. Remains of terrestrial mollusks are also present, but the author argues that these were likely brought in by the river or by torrents.
  • Between 7.9 and 9m, the sediments are devoid of mollusk remains, likely due to soil acidity.
  • Between 7.8 and 6.5m, the sediments are very rich in xerophytic mollusks, indicating a dry, steppic climate.
  • Between 6.5 and 0m, the sediments are almost devoid of mollusk remains. However, at 5.4 and 3.85m, a few remains were found, and these indicate periods of a wetter climate, for at least part of the year.

One particularly interesting observation made by Grossev is that between depths of 8 and 10.5m there is evidence for alluvial deposition. The region was, apparently, covered by the waters of the adjacent rivers on a regular basis.

Lithic Component

A CSV file with a summary of results from Păunescu's analysis can be found under Additional Files.

Faunal Component

As with the majority of Romanian Middle Palaeolithic sites, the only reliable faunal data that is available is a list of identified species. These are listed below, per level.

"Mousterian I" (Păunescu 1999a: 177):

  • Equus transilvanicus
  • Bison priscus
  • Canis lupus
  • Megaceros giganteus
  • Ursus spelaeus
  • Asinus hydruntinus
  • Mammuthus primigenius

"Mousterian II" (Păunescu 1999a: 182):

  • Mammuthus primigenius
  • Megaceros giganteus
  • Bison priscus
  • Equus transilvanicus
  • Coelodonta antiquitatis
  • Cervus elaphus
  • Crocuta spelaea

"Mousterian III" (Păunescu 1999a: 191):

  • Coelodonta antiquitatis
  • Rangifer tarandus
  • Megaceros giganteus
  • Equus transilvanicus
  • Bison priscus
  • Mammuthus primigenius

"Mousterian IV" (Păunescu 1999a: 198):

  • Mammuthus primigenius
  • Rangifer tarandus
  • Coelodonta antiquitatis
  • Equus transilvanicus
  • Cervus elaphus
  • Bison priscus

"Mousterian V" (Păunescu 1999a: 220):

  • Mammuthus primigenius
  • Equus transilvanicus
  • Bison priscus
  • Coelodonta antiquitatis

"Mousterian VI" (Păunescu 1999a: 226): Only a few highly deteriorated bone fragments were recovered from this level.