|◊ Excursions||Contact for all additional excursion entries and information: S. Petru|
|Betalov spodmol Cave||Wednesday, April 15th - 14:00 – 18:00|
Betalov spodmol is cave shelter near Postojna. First excavator was Anelli (1932 - 1939), who was succeeded by Srečko Brodar (1947 - 1953). Brodar identified many layers, which were later united in six complexes. First complex is sterile, while in others he found stone tools, hearths and animal remains. The oldest tools are Pre-Mousterian. Together with them were the remains of cave bear and denningeri bear. The most important complexes are those with typical Mousterian tools: Levallois flakes, blades and points, Mousterian points and side scrapers. In oldest parts of the Mousterian complex Levallois technique is common, while later it gradually decreases.
|Cave bear bones are common among animal remains, but there are also other animals present: marmot, mountain hare, cave hyena, wolf, fox, marten, wild boar, elk, red deer, Megaceros, Dicerorhinus kirchbergehsis, etc.|
Neanderthals mostly lit their fires with pine, but some deciduous charcoal and pollen is also present in Mousterian layers. In younger complexes there are Gravettian stone tools. Among the animal remains the bones of cave bear are still present, together with bones of marmot, elk, reindeer, arctic fox and other animals. In Holocene layers, mesolithic and younger artefacts were found.
|Divje babe and Križna jama||Friday, April 17th - ca 8:30 am – 6:00 pm|
|Divje Babe I is rather small, but important cave in western part of Slovenia, near village Cerkno. Excavations in this site started in 1980. First excavator was Mitja Brodar, who was succeeded by Ivan Turk and Janez Dirjec.
Divje babe I was the cave bear lair and most of animal skeletal remains belong to this animal. In one of the phosphate concretions even fossilized cave bear hair was found. Hair was conserved because of the phosphate environment, which is ideal for preserving organic materials.
|Other bones belonged to different beasts (brown bear, cave lion, leopard, wolf, fox) and other large mammals, micromamals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. Animals might be the reason for the presence of herbal pollen in the sediments, because they brought it in the cave with their excretions. Other plant remains are woods that were used to light the fire. They were found in 20 hearths from different horizons. Analysis revealed that Paleolithic visitors of the cave used pine, spruce, fir, arolla pine, yew, juniper and various deciduous woods to make their fire.|
|There are six horizons with cultural findings. The uppermost is Aurignacian, while others are Mousterian (horizons A, A/B, B, C and D). Around 600 artefacts were found in the site, most of them were stone tools, but there were also four bone points in Aurignacian layer.
Among the stone tools from Mousterian horizons there are side scrapers, denticulates, borers, retouched flakes and the bifacially retouched tool, which is very interesting find, since bifacial retouch is rare in Slovenian Mousterian. Some of the tools are made with Levallois technique. One of the characteristics of stone tool industry is steep retouch, which might be result of heavy use of tools for wood, bone or stone working. The raw material is mostly tuff, but low quality chert and other silica rich rocks are also present. In Mousterian horizon D the most interesting object from Divje babe I was found. That is about 55.000 year old Neanderthal flute, made from cave bear bone. It was in the breccia layer near one of the hearths.
|Križna cave is one of Slovenia's largest and most beautiful water caves. In the magnificent underground caverns, there are some twenty-two linked crystal-clear lakes among the still growing stalactites. Cave bears once took shelter in this fairy-tale world, and the bones of more than one hundred of these animals have been found here. A visit to Medvedji rov ("Bear Passage"), Prvo jezero ("First Lake"), Beneški pristan ("Venetian Harbour"), the Pirate Ship, and Calvary in the light of a carbide lantern is an unforgettable experience.|
|Krapina and Vindija (Croatia)||Saturday, April 18th - ca 8:30 am – 6:00 pm|
|Krapina: official website|
Vindija Cave is archaeological site in Croatia, which has several occupations associated with both Neanderthals and Anatomically Modern Humans (AMH).
In addition to extensive archaeological and faunal remains, remains from over 100 separate hominins have been found at Vindija Cave. Specimens in Level G3, the lowest hominin-bearing level, are Neanderthals (38,000-45,000 years bp) and are associated with exclusively Mousterian artifacts.
|Specimens in Level G1 represent the most recent Neanderthals at the site (32,000-34,000 years ago) and are associated with both Mousterian and Upper Paleolithic tools. Hominins in Level F are associated with Aurignacian and according to researchers look a little like both AMH and Neanderthal.
Hominins in Level D, the uppermost hominid-bearing strata in the cave, are associated with Gravettian culture artifacts, and represent only anatomically modern humans.