Preliminary archaeometric investigation on Middle Neolithic siliceous tools from Limba-Oarda de Jos (Transylvania, Romania)

  • Mar Rey-Solé Babeş-Bolyai University
  • Corina Ionescu Babeş-Bolyai University
  • Marius Ciuta Lucian Blaga University
  • Marieta Muresan-Pop Babeş-Bolyai University
  • Viorica Simon Babeş-Bolyai University
Keywords: siliceous tools; Early Neolithic; optical microscopy; FTIR; Vinča culture; Limba-Oarda de Jos; Romania


The present archaeometric study focuses on a set of archaeological siliceous lithic tools that are assigned to the early Vinča culture period (Vinča A and Vinča B1). They were found in several pit-houses at Limba-Oarda de Jos (SW Transylvania, Romania), an open settlement that has been dated to 5,405-5,310 cal. BCE, a period in the Middle Neolithic. A total of 322 retouched tools and débitage pieces were typologically and macroscopically investigated. From these, 20 pieces were analyzed by polarized light optical microscopy (OM) and 10 pieces were analyzed by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) in order to identify compositional characteristics, define the petrographic type, and establish the spectral fingerprint of each material.

Four petrographic types were discriminated: radiolarite, chert, fossiliferous chert, and siliceous limestone. Mineralogically, the tools primarily consist of a mass of microquartz and fibrous microquartz (called also ‘chalcedony’) associated with radiolarians remnants (in radiolarites); fossil shell fragments (in the fossiliferous chert); and limestone components, such as ooliths and pellets (in the siliceous limestone). All samples show distinct FTIR bands, most of which are assigned to microquartz, quartz, and fibrous microquartz. The deconvolution of the FTIR spectra in the 950-1300 cm-1 domain reveals the contribution of several other phases, such as calcite and clay minerals.

The results support the assumption that the tools made of chert, fossiliferous chert, and siliceous limestone were produced at the site from nodules that probably originated from the Upper Jurassic chert-bearing limestone that crops out nearby in the Trascău Mts. The tools made of radiolarite were most likely brought to the site as finished products from the Trascău Mts.

Author Biographies

Mar Rey-Solé, Babeş-Bolyai University

Babeş-Bolyai University
Department of Geology
Mihail Kogălniceanu 1
400084, Cluj-Napoca

Seminari d'Estudis i Recerques Prehistòriques (SERP)
University of Barcelona
Faculty of Geography and History
Department of History and Archaeology
Section of Prehistory and Archaeology
C/ Montalegre 6. 08001

Corina Ionescu, Babeş-Bolyai University

Babeş-Bolyai University
Department of Geology
Mihail Kogălniceanu 1
400084, Cluj-Napoca

Marius Ciuta, Lucian Blaga University

Lucian Blaga University
Departamentul de Istorie, Patrimoniul şi Teologie Protestantă
Bulevardul Victoriei 10
550024, Sibiu

Marieta Muresan-Pop, Babeş-Bolyai University

Babeş-Bolyai University
Nanostructured Materials and Bio-Nano-Interface Center
Interdisciplinary Research Institute on Bio-Nano-Sciences
Treboniu Laurian 42
400271, Cluj-Napoca

Viorica Simon, Babeş-Bolyai University

Babeş-Bolyai University
Nanostructured Materials and Bio-Nano-Interface Center
Interdisciplinary Research Institute on Bio-Nano-Sciences
Treboniu Laurian 42
400271, Cluj-Napoca


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How to Cite
Rey-Solé, M., Ionescu, C., Ciuta, M., Muresan-Pop, M., & Simon, V. (2019). Preliminary archaeometric investigation on Middle Neolithic siliceous tools from Limba-Oarda de Jos (Transylvania, Romania). Journal of Lithic Studies, 6(1).
Research Articles