Middle Paleolithic sequences of the Ciemna Cave (Prądnik valley, Poland): The problem of synchronization


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Quaternary International

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Ciemna Cave is a key Micoquian site located in Ojców National Park, in the southern part of the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland. The site is known for a distinct group of asymmetrical knives, prądniks, as well as the associated cultural assemblage, the “Prądnik industry” or “Micoquo-Prondnikiens”—both named after the Prądnik stream flowing through the valley. Excavation of Ciemna Cave carried out in the early twentieth century provided a series of stratified archaeological materials. The published sections indicated explicitly diverse sequences and contexts in various parts of the site. In Ogrójec (sector CO), a collapsed part of the cave, two cultural layers were recognized within loess deposit: an upper layer with Prądnik industry implements and a lower layer with Prądnik industry artifacts and mixture of older cultural units, including those with handaxes. A different situation was encountered at the entrance to the cave (sector C), where a much longer stratigraphic section with a few artifactually poor cultural levels was discovered. Current excavations began in 2007 targeted a new area of the cave chamber, with a primary goal of correlating geologic and cultural sequences from the previous excavations. At this stage a complete section has been exposed, which comprises 19 major geological layers and 9 archeological levels. The area has provided new lithics finds and chronological data that have allowed us to make preliminary cultural linkages.

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