Prehistoric exploitation of limnosilicites in Northern Hungary: problems and perspectives

  • Zsolt Mester
  • Norbert Faragó
Keywords: siliceous rocks, post-volcanic hydrothermal origin, lithic raw material sources, procurement strategy, Carpathian basin


Limnosilicites constitute a specific group of siliceous rocks originating in freshwater limnic (lake) environments. They are very common in the north Hungarian Range, due to the complicated plate tectonic movements building up the Carpathians and the related Tertiary volcanism. Because the local conditions were quite dynamic during their formations, limnosilicites show great petrographic variability. The archaeological record of northern Hungary idocuments that these siliceous rocks have been used by prehistoric human groups as raw materials for tool production. The identification of the provenience of raw materials is a very important but difficult task in most of the cases. More petroarchaeological investigations are needed to complement the good results obtained in the Tokaj Mountains, and even more work is required in the Cserhát, Mátra and Bükk mountains where systematic field surveys are lacking. ; To better understand the procurement strategies and technical behaviour of prehistoric groups inhabiting the region, it is indispensable to have a comprehensive knowledge of potential raw materials and their sources. Geological maps and local geographical names could help to discover them during field surveys. Because intensive erosional processes have affected the foothill regions of the North Hungarian Range during the Pleistocene and the Early Holocene, geomorphologic studies are also crucial for estimating the accessibility of the limnosilicite sources.


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How to Cite
Mester, Z., & Faragó, N. (2016). Prehistoric exploitation of limnosilicites in Northern Hungary: problems and perspectives. Archaeologia Polona, 54, 33-50. Retrieved from