This publication is protected and can be accessed only from certain IPs.
This publication is protected and can be accessed only from certain IPs.

Title: Geochemical evidence for postsedimentary re-deposition of animal bones at multilayered sites. The case of Biśnik Cave, southern Poland


Krajcarz, Maciej T.

Date issued/created:


Resource Type:



Archaeologia Polona Vol. 49 (2011-2013)


Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology Polish Academy of Sciences

Place of publishing:



ill. ; 24 cm


Naturally-occuring re-depositional processes are known from caves and other multi-layered sites. They are mainly bio- and cryoturbations that can involve huge masses of sediment. However, the processes are only recognizable at sites with laminated and lithologically diversified sediments. Where lithological differences are weak, the boundaries are blurred or rock rubble and numer¬ous stones occur – the sedimentological features are obscured and post-depositional features are unrecognizable. Such situations are especially frequent in caves. The impact of re-deposition on the mixing of archaeological assemblages may be underestimated. A helpful approach for the recogni¬tion of re-deposition is geochemical fossil provenance analysis. The method is based on the fact that the chemical composition of fossils (e.g. mammalian bones) is determined by nature of the surrounding sediment, shortly after the fossil’s original deposition. This phenomenon may be used to determine the original context of bones whose primary location is uncertain (e.g. poorly documented finds from old research). It also allows the determination of possible natural or artificial re-deposition. The results presented in this paper provide evidence for the extensive re-deposition of animal bone in Biśnik Cave. Such observations may well be relevant to the other Polish caves


Chmielewski, W. 1958. Stanowisko paleolityczne w Dziadowej Skale koło Skarżyc w pow. zawierciańskim. Prace i Materiały Muzeum Archeologicznego i Etnograficznego w Łodzi, Ser. Archeologia 1: 29–40
Chmielewski, W., Kowalski, K., Madeyska-Niklewska, T. and Sych, L. 1967. Badania osadów jaskini Koziarni w Sąspowie pow. Olkusz. Folia Quaternaria 26: 1–69
Cyrek, K. 2002. Rekonstrukcja zasiedlenia Jaskini Biśnik. In K. Cyrek (ed.), Jaskinia Biśnik. Rekonstrukcja zasiedlenia jaskini na tle zmian środowiska przyrodniczego, 9–142. Toruń
Cyrek, K. 2013. Jaskinia Biśnik – wczesny środkowy paleolit. Toruń
Cyrek, K. and Cyrek, M. 2009. Composite tools in the oldest levels of the Biśnik Cave. In J.M. Burdukiewicz, K. Cyrek, P. Dyczek and K. Szymczak (eds), Understanding the Past. Offered to Stefan Karol Kozłowski, 91–96. Warsaw
Cyrek, K., Socha, P., Stefaniak, K., Madeyska, T., Mirosław-Grabowska, J., Sudoł, M. and Czyżewski, Ł. 2010. The Palaeolithic of the Biśnik Cave (Southern Poland) against the environmental background. Quaternary International 220: 5–30
Cyrek, K. and Sudoł, M. 2010. Zmiany w zasiedleniu Jaskini Biśnik w plejstocenie. Annales Universitatis Mariae Curie-Skłodowska, Sec. B 65 (2): 57–68
Dylik, J., Chmielewska, M. and Chmielewski, W. 1954. Badania osadów jaskiniowych w Dziadowej Skale. Biuletyn Peryglacjalny 1: 52–62
Krajcarz, M. T. 2009. Redepozycja szczątków kostnych na stanowiskach jaskiniowych. Znaczenie dla badań biostratygraficznych. In M. Żarski and S. Lisicki (eds), XVI Konferencja Stratygrafia Plejstocenu Polski, 114–116. Warszawa
Krajcarz, M. T. and Cyrek, K. 2011. The age of the oldest Paleolithic assemblages from Biśnik Cave (southern Poland) in the light of geological data. Przegląd Archeologiczny 59: 55–74
Krajcarz, M. T., Gola, M. and Cyrek, K. 2010. Preliminary suggestions on the Pleistocene palaeovegetation around the Biśnik Cave (Częstochowa Upland, Poland) based on studies of molecular fossils from cave sediments. Studia Quaternaria 27: 55–61
Krajcarz, M. and Krajcarz, M. T. 2008. The use of geochemical methods in identifying the ways of bone working by softening. In D. Makowiecki, R. Abłamowicz, D. Abłamowicz, K. Smiarowski and M. Makohonienko (eds), Archaeozoological research in Poland and Middle-East Europe. Data – methods – interpretation, 53–55. Poznań
Krajcarz, M. T. and Madeyska, T. 2010. Application of the weathering parameters of bones to stratigraphical interpretation of the sediments from two caves (Deszczowa Cave and Nietoperzowa Cave, Kraków-Częstochowa Upland, Poland). Studia Quaternaria 27: 43–54
Krajcarz, M. T. and Madeyska, T. 2012. Geology and chronostratigraphy of sediments from Biśnik Cave. In K. Cyrek, Ł.A. Czyżewski and M.T. Krajcarz (eds), International Conference European Middle Palaeolithic during MIS 8 – MIS 3: cultures – environment – chronology. Wolbrom, Poland. Guidebook and Book of Abstracts, 56–58, Toruń
Krajcarz, M. T., Bosák, P., Šlechta, S., Pruner, P., Komar, M., Dresler, J. and Madeyska, T. 2013. Sediments of Biśnik Cave (Poland): Lithology and stratigraphy of the Middle Palaeolithic site. Quaternary International in print, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2013.10.017
Lorenc, M. 2013. Radiocarbon ages of bones from Vistulian (Weichselian) cave deposits in Poland and their stratigraphy. Acta Geologica Polonica 63 (3): 399–424
Madeyska, T. 1981. Środowisko człowieka w środkowym i górnym paleolicie na ziemiach polskich w świetle badań geologicznych. Studia Geologica Polonica 69: 1–124
Madeyska, T. and Cyrek, K. 2002. Cave fillings – a chronicle of the past. An outline of the Younger Pleistocene cave sediments study in Poland. Acta Geologica Polonica 52 (1): 75–95
Madeyska, T. and Mirosław-Grabowska, J. 2001. Stratygrafia osadów jaskini Biśnik. In J. Partyka (ed.), Badania naukowe w południowej części Wyżyny Krakowsko-Częstochowskiej, 410–412. Ojców
Marciszak, A., Krajcarz, M.T., Krajcarz, M. and Stefaniak, K. 2011a. The first record of leopard Panthera pardus LINNAEUS, 1758 from the Pleistocene of Poland. Acta Zoologica Cracoviensia 54A (1–2): 39–46
Marciszak, A., Socha, P., Nadachowski, A. and Stefaniak, K. 2011b. Carnivores from Biśnik Cave. Quaternaire – Horssérie 4: 101–106
Mirosław-Grabowska, J. 2002. Geological value of Biśnik Cave sediments (Cracow-Częstochowa Upland). Acta Geologica Polonica 52 (1): 97–110
Mirosław-Grabowska, J. 2002. Litologia i stratygrafia osadów Jaskini Biśnik. In K. Cyrek (ed.), Jaskinia Biśnik. Rekonstrukcja zasiedlenia jaskini na tle zmian środowiska przyrodniczego, 143–180. Toruń
Nadachowski, A., Żarski, M., Urbanowski, M., Wojtal, P., Miękinia, B., Lipecki, G., Ochman, K., Krawczyk, M., Jakubowski, G. and Tomek, T. 2009. Late Pleistocene Environment of the Częstochowa Upland (Poland) Reconstructed on the Basis of Faunistic Evidence from Archaeological Cave Sites. Kraków
Patrick, D., Martin, J.E., Parris, D.C. and Grandstaff, D.E. 2004. Paleoenvironmental interpretations of rare earth element signatures in mosasaurs (reptilia) from the upper Cretaceous Pierre Shale, central South Dakota, USA. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 212: 277–294
Plummer, T. W., Kinyua, A.M. and Potts, R. 1994. Provenancing of hominid and mammalian fossils from Kanjera, Kenya, using ED-XRF. Journal of Archaeological Science 21: 553–563
Sillen, A. and Morris, A. 1996. Diagenesis of bone from Border Cave: implications for the age of the Border Cave hominids. Journal of Human Evolution 31: 499–506
Stefaniak, K., Tyc, A. and Socha, P. (eds) 2009. Karst of the Częstochowa Upland and of the Eastern Sudetes: palaeoenvironments and protection. Sosnowiec
Trueman, C. N. G., Behrensmeyer, A. K., Tuross, N. and Weiner, S. 2004. Mineralogical and compositional changes in bones exposed on soil surfaces in Amboseli National Park, Kenya: diagenetic mechanisms and the role of sediment pore fluids. Journal of Archaeological Science 31: 721–739
Trueman, C. N., Behrensmeyer, A. K., Potts, R. and Tuross, N. 2006. High-resolution records of location and stratigraphic provenance from the rare earth element composition of fossil bones. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 70: 4343–4355
Valde-Nowak, P., Nadachowski, A. and Madeyska, T. (eds) 2003. Obłazowa Cave. Human activity, stratigraphy and palaeoenvironment. Kraków
Van Asperen, E. N. and Stefaniak, K. 2011. Biśnik Cave and its biostratigraphical position based on equid remains. Acta Zoologica Cracoviensia 54A (1–2): 55–76
Wiszniowska, T., Socha, P. and Stefaniak, K. 2002. Czwartorzędowa fauna z osadów Jaskini Biśnik. In K. Cyrek (ed.), Jaskinia Biśnik. Rekonstrukcja zasiedlenia jaskini na tle zmian środowiska przyrodniczego, 193–220. Toruń


Archaeologia Polona



Start page:


End page:




Resource Identifier:

oai:rcin.org.pl:61753 ; 0066-5924


IAiE PAN, call no. P 357 ; IAiE PAN, call no. P 358 ; IAiE PAN, call no. P 356 ; click here to follow the link




Rights Reserved - Restricted Access

Terms of use:

Copyright-protected material. Access only on terminals at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, may be used within the limits of statutory user freedoms.

Digitizing institution:

Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Original in:

Library of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences



This page uses 'cookies'. More information