Kiosak D., Kovalsky L.

A new flint-working site of Trypillia Culture in Volhynia


Trypillian sites are well-known in the southern Volhynia (Шмаглій 1966). This zone constitutes the extreme northern part of the Trypillian area. The earliest Trypillian materials appeared here on the B2 period according to T.S. Passek’s chronological scheme (Попова, Черныш 1967). Meanwhile, the region was completely settled by Trypillians only by the latest stage C2. Trypillian sites tend to be situated on the outcrops of high-quality Volhynian flint here and appear to be at least partially specialized in the flint-extraction and processing (Черныш 1967; Конопля 1982; Энговатова 1993; Скакун 2004; Скакун и др. 2012). The tools done from Volhynian flint are known in the whole area of Trypillia during its later stages (Пічкур, Шидловський 2003; Петрунь 2004; Пічкур 2008; Skakun 2012; Skakun и др. 2014).

In 2016 a new site was detected in the river Horyn basin. It is situated to the south-west of Polis’ke village, in Iziaslav district of Khmelnytsky region and was called Bezdna by local toponym. It houses the high hill, which is in fact the part of drainage divide plateau. It is separated from the later by fresh-formed gullies in the west and is encircled by no-name river 1 (a left, western tributary of Horyn) from north and east. On the southern side the hill slopes steeply to smaller no-name river 2, a tributary of the no-name river 1. The site is situated on an almost horizontal surface on the very top of the hill (some 15 ha). There are some finds on the slopes, but they could be in a secondary position.

Fig.1. Bezdna 2016: flint artifacts, surface

Bezdna is divided by a field road into two parts: the southern, under arable field and the northern, under private, striped cultivation. The former part yielded numerous chipped flint artefacts and somewhat smaller amount of red and yellow potsherds done from finely-structured ceramic paste. There were at least three scatters of finds here. The largest scatter was 25x10 m and contained 235 chipped flint items and over 100 potsherds.

On the northern part there was a row of four scatters lined up from south-west to north-east. They were extremely rich in the shards of Trypillian fine-ware. The lithic assemblage was also quite characteristic but not so numerous as in the south of the site. The scatters should correspond to archaeological objects destroyed by ploughing. They would traditionally be interpreted as rests of “ploschadkas”, but there were few pieces of burnt clay on surface to support this interpretation.

Ceramics is represented by numerous, yet heavily damaged, shards. They were done from clay with fine structure and had red-yellow colour of surfaces and a break. Sometimes they are grey with rests of red engobe over the surfaces. These shards are from Trypillian fine-ware and mostly were painted, but painting had not survived in the surface collection. Fine-ware overwhelmingly surpasses the shards from unornamented coarse-ware. The latter are more than five times less numerous than Trypillian fine-ware.

Lithis industry is characterised by extensive mode of raw material exploitation. Most items are so large that there are little doubts on the local presence of flint outcrops nearby the site. The flint is fine-grained, transparent in thin flakes, dark-grey and grey, often “striped”. Cores are up to 15 cm long. Mostly they are prismatic and subprismatic with regular negatives of blades’ detachments (Fig. 1, - 1-2), sometimes they have two striking platforms and a common working surface (a kind of naviform variety). There are numerous blades and their fragments with parallel and sub-parallel edges and dorsal arrises (Fig.1, - 3-5, 7-9). They could be up to 3 cm large. They usually have facetted or ridged butt. There is a variety of technical flakes: crested and subcrested blades (Fig.1, -  6, 10), flakes for correction of cintrage and rejuvenation of platform, massive detachments removing complete working surfaces, re-orientation flakes etc.

The tool-set looks simplified. There are not so many tools of formal types. Retouched items usually are just blades and flakes with partial marginal retouch. The formal types are represented by straight dorsal and ventral side-scrapers (Fig.1, -  12), end-scrapers of flakes and blade fragments, some retouched burins on blades, perforators (Fig.1, - 1- 11) etc.

Thus, Bezdna is a new site of Trypillia Culture in Volhynia. The lithic industry gives us a possibility to hypothesise the local production of blade blanks for tools. The knapping by-products resemble largely the well-known Trypillian flint-processing settlement Bodaki (Скакун и др. 2012; Skakun 2012), situated in 60 km to the south-west along the river Horyn. The chronology of Bezdna is far from being clear at the moment. It seems reasonable to suppose that it existed during the developed stage of Trypillia (BII-CI), but the later period (CII) could not be excluded completely too.

Acknowledgement. The field excursion was supported by SNF SCOPES project.




Конопля В. 1982. Обробка кременю населенням Західної Волині за доби міді-ранньої бронзи. // Археологія 37, C. 17-31.

Петрунь В. Ф. 2004. Використання мінеральної сировини населенням трипільської культури. В: М. Ю. Відейко and Н. Б. Бурдо (отв. ред.). // Енциклопедія трипільської цивілізації. Т.1. К.: ЗАТ Петроімпекс, C. 199-216.

Пічкур Є. В. 2008. Виготовлення довгих крем'яних пластин в трипільській культурі (до питання про технологію розщеплення). // Кам’яна доба України 11, C. 197-204.

Пічкур Є. В., Шидловський П. С. 2003. Комплекс кременеобробки поселення Пекарі ІІ. В: О. Г. Корвін-Піотровський, В. О. Круц and С. М. Рижов (отв. ред.). // Трипільські поселення-гіганти. Матеріали міжнародної конференції. Київ: Корвін-Пресс, C. 121-128.

Попова Т. А., Черныш Е. К. 1967. Трипольское поселение у с.Бодаки. // Записки Одесского археологического общества 2, C. 173-179.

Скакун Н. М., Цвек О. В., Гусєв С. О., Матєва Б. І., Терьохіна В. В. 2012. Нові дослідження на трипільському поселенні Бодаки. // Археологія 4, C. 74-79.

Скакун Н. Н. 2004. Предварительные результаты изучения материалов поселения Бодаки (кремнеобработывающие комплексы). В: Г. Ф. Коробкова (отв. ред.). // Орудия труда и системы жизнеобеспечения населения Евразии (по материалам эпох палеолита - бронзы). СПб.: Европейский дом, C. 57-79.

Черныш Е. К. 1967. Трипольские мастерские по обработке кремня. // Краткие сообщения Института археологии АН СССР 111, C. 60-66.

Шмаглій М. М. 1966. Городсько-волинський варіант пізньотрипільської культури. // Археологія XX, C. 15-37.

Энговатова А. В. 1993. Кремневая индустрия трипольской культуры (по материалам памятников Днестро-Днепровского междуречья). Москва: автореф. дис. к.и.н.

Skakun N. N. 2012. Excavations at Bodaki, Ukraine, and the importance of flint working activities in the eneolithic. В: J.-C. Marquet and C. Verjux (отв. ред.). // L'Europe, deja, a la fin des temps prehistoriques. Actes de la table-rinde internationale, Tours (Indre-et-Loire, France) 7 Septembre 2007Archea, C. 91-108.

Skakun N. N., Samzun A., Mateva B., Terekhina V. 2014. Features of flint mining and processing during the Chalcolithic period in the Southeast of Europe (based on the materials of the Tripolian Bodaki settlement, Ukraine). В: F. Bostyn and F. Giligny (отв. ред.). // Lithic Raw Material Resources and Procurement in Pre- and Protohistoric Times. BAR International Series 2656. Oxford: Archaeopress, C. 93-105.


Kiosak D., Kovalsky L.

“I.I. Mechnikov” Odessa National University