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(sat Cerişor, comuna Lelese, judeţul Hunedoara)

Autori: Sabin Adrian LUCA,Cristian ROMAN, Dragoş DIACONESCU, Horia CIUGUDEAN, Georgeta EL SUSI, Corneliu BELDIMAN ISBN 973-590-995-2,Cu contribuţii de: Diana STANCZ, Prelucrare Web: Cosmin Suciu; Powered by: Institutul pentru Cercetarea Patrimoniului Cultural Transilvanean în Context European (IPTCE)



Tabelul 1 – Frecvenţa speciilor pe număr de resturi la Cauce

Tabelul 2 – Frecvenţele speciilor pe NMI (număr minim indivizi) la Cauce

Tabelul 4 – Vârstele de sacrificare la ovicaprine în nivelele de la Cauce

Tabelul 5 – Vârstele de sacrificare la porcine în nivelele de la Cauce

Tabelul 6 – Vârstele de sacrificare la bovine în nivelele de la Cauce

Figures explanation


Cercetări arheozoologice




Cauce cave is located in western part of the Poiana Rusca Mountains, on the right side of the rivulet Runcu valley, at 1.5 km nord-nord-west distance from Cerişor village. The gentle local climate due to Mediterranean influences, aside a diversified flora and fauna favoured a long habitation of the cave during prehistory and history times. The archaeological researches performed between 1998-1999 emphasised reach Holocene sediments, not upturned by human activities. The faunal remains total 4,153 bones and belong to the next cultural layers: Starčevo-Criş, Turdaş, Tiszapolgár, Coţofeni and Wietenberg, cf. tab. 1, 2. Also we add that the faunal remains were collected by sieving method; consequently the small bones deriving from new born animals were entirely collected.

 The Ist level belong to Early Starčevo-Criş (IC-IIA) and furnished 727 bones. Among them caprovines dominate the sample with 473 fragments (75 %) originating in 45 individuals (63.4 %). Some complete bones brought information concerning their withers height. On talus and calcaneus a mean of 55 cm was appreciated (51-57.5 cm, n=13). Two scapula of 114 and 129 mm and a metacarpus of 111.5 mm gave value of 48.1; 54.4 and 54.5 cm (Teichert). All told, the sheep bred by the community was of small size and belonged to a delicate type, with horned females. The most part of the sample belong to young and sub-adult animals, for that reason, a detailed evaluation of killings during the seasons were made.  According to data summarized in table 3, the greatest quota of animals was killed during the first year, 48.6 %, mostly before reaching the sexual maturity. Among them are in the majority the animals killed at the beginning of spring (13 individuals), one during summer and three in autumn-winter. Just 28.6 % was killed in the second year, 5.7 % in the third year and 17.1 % afterwards. Overall, 57.1 % of animals were slaughtered from the ending of winter – for the period of the spring; few animals were killed in summer, 8.6 % and 34.3 % throughout the autumn and winter. So the cave was inhabited all year round (the archaeological observations are confirmed), but in a lesser measure, for the duration of the summer. Also, the decreasing of 3-4 old years’ animals' quota suggest their keeping for reproduction, milking, implying the exploitation for by-products. The pig ranks the second with 75 bones (11.9 %) of 10 animals (14.1 %). 60 % were killed up to 8 months and 40 % between 2-3.5 years (table 5). Perhaps these moments coincide with a seasonal occupation of the cave. 22 bones originate in seven cattle showing a lesser percent as fragments (3.5 %). The few measurements suggest robust exemplars typical for Early Neolithic Four animals were killed as juveniles/ sub-adults and one as young adult. The quota of the game is reduced, totalling just 9.6 % as fragments; among them the red deer had some importance, 5.6 %., the others ones reached below 3 %.

The IInd level belong to Late Neolithic, Turdaş Culture and provided 812 bone remains. Caprovines dominate the assemblage with 352 bones (63.5 %) from 61 animals (57 %). Two metacarpals of 111 and 113.5 mm estimated tall of 54.2 and 55.5 cm. Three calcaneii furnished closed values of 50.7 and 54.1 cm. The same small sheep type was farmed by Turdaş communities. As for the kill-off patterns, 73.2 % of animals were slaughtered in the first year, just 17.9 % in the second year and 8.9 % in the third year. Of 61 animals, the killings on seasons were detailed for 56 (table 8). As a result, 75 % of small ruminants were killed in spring, 12.5 % in autumn, fewest in winter (3.6 %) and in summer (8.9 %). For certain, the cave was inhabited mostly in spring and sporadically in other seasons. The specialists agree that the archaeological deposits have “a ritual character”; “here, maybe functioned a cult place at a time”; they don't exclude that the Turdaş communities used the caverns for habitation (temporary or for some rituals”). Pig have 110 fragments (19.9 %) of 18 animals (16.8 %). 50 %  were killed up to 6 months, 27.8 % between 6-12 months, 22.2 % between 1-2 years and 22.2 % between 2.5-3 years. Maybe killings were carrying out all year round but intensified from March/ April to August/ September. Cattle have a small contribution in diet; they reach 4.7 % on fragments and 5.6 % on individuals. Identical to previous epoch, the local conditions favoured an animal economy sustained by small size animal exploitation, as, sheep, goat and pig. Among hunted mammals, roe deer was most exploited (4.3 %), aside red deer (3.4 %), wild boar (2.5 %), aurochs, brown bear, hare and badger.

The IVth level belongs to Eneolithic - Tiszapolgár Culture and furnished 1,058 fragments. The small ruminants dominate the faunal assemblage with 37 % as fragments and 28.1 % as individuals. Two withers heights of 52.9 cm (Teichert) and 57 cm, aside other measurements suggest that the Eneolithic sheep was not robust and taller. According to statistics, 69.6 % of animals were killed in their first year and 30.4 % in the second. Few animals were slaughtered at an adult stage (table 4). The great part of the flock was slaughtered in spring and in summer, 82.6 %; 13.1 % in autumn and 4.3 % in winter. The animals died in autumn and winter were old than one year and would be killed in other part, maybe in the “mother” settlement and brought to temporary habitat in the next year, conserved. In that way we want to bring to mind that the shelter wasn't inhabited in winter, no ways. At the end of autumn the community retired some were.  Pig is quoted with 22.3 % as fragments and 24 % as individuals. The fewer measurements suggest small sized-animals. Great part of them were killed in juvenile and sub-adult stages (87 %) and 13 % in adult stage. A rising of cattle frequency is observed as compare to previous epochs; they total 11 % as fragments and 12.5 % as individuals. Of 12 exemplars, 58.4 % were culled in adult and mature stages (used for diary products, killed after the economic output diminished) and 41.6 % as juveniles and sub-adults. It’s a more rational exploitation versus Neolithic, obviously emphasizing the augmented importance of milk cattle in diet. Several measurements attest animals of medium size. Whenever, a slight decreasing of values was observed. Pig is quoted with 22.3 % as fragments and 24 % as individuals. Animals of small size were presumed. Most part of them was killed as juveniles and sub-adults (87 %), just 13 % as adults.

The VIth level contains remains of the Coţofeni Culture; about 817 bones were collected, of which 239 (44.2 %) belong to caprovines. A tall of 51.8 cm was estimated for a sheep. Robust exemplars were not found even if in other sites belonging to same epoch exist. In broad lines, some changes   in the exploitation strategy were observed. In that way, the percent of animals killed in the first months slightly decreases: just three animals were killed between 0-5 months and two between 6-10 months. Five exemplars were slaughtered between 1-1.5 years and the same number between 21-24 months. No animal killed between 2-3 years were found. Over 3.5 years 6 exemplars were found. Downright, the small ruminants were the main source of meat supplying of the inhabitants (see their increased frequency), but a better employment of the flock was established. 151 remains originate in pig (27.9 %) of 17 exemplars (28.3 %). The kill-off patterns suggest that their killing intensified in some period of the years. Hence, four animals were culled between 0-3 months, anyone between 3-7 months. Four animals were found between 7-16 months, six between 2-2.5 years and two 3 years hence.  Cattle rank the third with 9.1 % as fragments and 13.3 % as individuals. In this level heighten the quota of matures at 37.5 %, but the young and sub-adult exemplars prevail (62.5 %). A foregone conclusion, diary products were not neglected, though the meat supplying prevailed. A lot of dog remains were found (16 bones), among them, two complete ulna and tibia, appreciating statures of 49.1 and 37.2 cm. The bones of hunted mammals are quoted with 15.9 %, an increased value as MNI is obtained (20 %). In evidence, by the side of farming, the hunting supplemented the food resources and procured the raw materials for tools (see the article with worked bones), fur. Red deer was the most hunted animal (11.6 % as fragments, 8.2 % as individuals), especially in autumn. Wild boar, roe deer, brown bear, hare and fox complete the list of the game. It seems that the Coţofeni community inhabited the cave most part of the year, inclusively during winter. The summer occupation is not clearly emphasised by the archaeological materials (also bones).

739 faunal remains of The Bronze Age, Wietenberg Culture were found in the VIIth level. Also, caprovines dominate the statistics with 192 bones (40.7 %). As individuals they record just 29.2 %, ranking the second after pig.  A withers height of 68.9 cm was estimated considering one complete calcaneus. Of 19 animals, 36.8 % were killed up to 6-7 months, just 10.5 % between 12-18 months and 15.8 % between 18-24 months. Animals of 2-3 old years were not found. 21 % were slaughtered between 3-3.5 years and 15.8 % later. The missing of individuals culled between 7-12 months and 2-3 years match up with reproduction, yeaning, milking time, suggesting a rational exploitation of the flock. A foregoing conclusion, the dairying products were used, beside mutton.  A detailed description of the material (table 13) point up that the cave was not inhabited in summer and in winter (table 13) by the community. Also, the archaeological evidences underline this fact. 151 fragments (27.9 %) come from pig, originating in 21 exemplars (32.3 %). The kill-off patterns indicate 33.3 % animals sacrificed up to ten months, 19 % between 16-20 months, 23.8 % between 2-3 years and 9.4 % as recently as 4 years. Possibly, the missing of some age classes would be tied with the seasonal occupation of the site. According to measurements, a taller pig of 69.3, 78.4 and 78.7 cm was presumed. Excepting the first value, the other ones characterise transitional forms. The climatic changes during the Bronze Age were inadequate for small ruminants farming and propitiously for pig. In this context would explain the higher quota of pig in the Bronze Age level. Cattle have a lesser participation in the meat supplying; they record 8.7 % as fragments and 10.8 % as individuals. Merely two cattle were slaughtered earlier than 12 months, three between 2-2.5 years, one around 3-4 years, two between 7-9 years and one later. Accordingly, adults and matures represent 57.1 %, and 42.9 % the juveniles and sub-adults. For certain, their killing for beef was made, either as juveniles/sub-adults, or as matures, after their economic productivity reduced. The dog material is numerous totalling 4.2 % as fragments and 4.6 % as individuals. Big and medium sized-exemplars were found. The quota of hunted species is substantial, 17.2 % as fragments and 23.1 % as presumed individuals. The wild mammal list includes red deer, wild boar, hare, roe deer and badger. Among them hare and red deer have identical frequencies, 7.7 % as MNI.