Obłazowa Cave

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Obłazowa Cave
Jaskinia Obłazowa
Entrance to the cave
Entrance to the cave
Location in Poland
Location in Poland
Location in Poland
Coordinates 49°25′43.27″N 20°7′32.71″E / 49.4286861°N 20.1257528°E / 49.4286861; 20.1257528Coordinates: 49°25′43.27″N 20°7′32.71″E / 49.4286861°N 20.1257528°E / 49.4286861; 20.1257528

Obłazowa Cave – it is a cave situated in the nature reserve of “Przełom Białki pod Krempachami”at Nowa Biała, the Nowy Targ commune. The cave has a 9 m long chamber to which a short corridor leads. This is one of the most famous Paleolithic sites in Poland.

Archaeological research[edit]

Excavation at the Obłazowa Cave started in 1985 by a team of archaeologists led by professor Paweł Valde-Nowak of the Institute of Archaeology at Jagiellonian University in Cracow. Research has shown that Obłazowa Cave was inhabited by humans several times. Scientists distinguished ten layers of occupation , 6 associated with the presence of Neanderthals and the remaining 4 with the activity of Homo sapiens. in the upper layers, an iron arrowhead crossbow and pieces of ceramics from the late Middle Ages were found.

Layer VIII[edit]

The most famous artifacts were discovered in layer VIII associated with Homo sapiens and dated to about 30 000 BP. From this layer scientists excavated the oldest boomerang in the world, made from a mammoth tusk and the oldest bones of Homo sapiens in Poland (exactly two finger bones). Also this layer contained: two antler wedges, pendants made of perforated canine teeth of fox or arctic fox, bone bead, a whistle or pendant, whose purpose is unknown, made of a perforated the fossil Conus snail shell on which ocher traces were found. Inventory of the layer VIII contained a wide range of raw material: Jurassic Cracow flint, chocolate flint, both imported from northern regions, local radiolarite, mountain crystal probably from northern Slovakia. The most impressive findings like, a boomerang and bones of humans were located in the circle made of granite and quartzite pebbles. This layer is interpreted as very special place probably a place of some cult or ritual. This is indicated by the arrangement of the artifacts and their great value. Some of stone tools were made of raw material imported from a great distance. The presence of human bones may suggest a partial/symbolic burial or some kind of sacrifice.

This site contains a number of other important archaeological findings as well as rich and diversified fauna of mollusks, amphibians, reptiles, birds and small and large mammals of the Late Pleistocene Age.

Before discoveries in Obłazowa Cave all Carpathian Paleolithic sites were dated to the Late Paleolithic. No traces of earlier settlements were apparent. This situation has changed with the discovery of the Upper and Middle Paleolithic sequence in the Obłazowa Cave.

Sightseeing[edit]

The cave is open to visitors, but in the near future it will be secured with a bars to protect archaeological layers. In 2017 the Nowy Targ commune office started working on the project whose goal is to create “Obłazowa Cave - Archaeological Park” to present the results of years of research to the public.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Valde-Nowak, Paweł, Nadachowski Adam, Madeyska Teresa (2003):Obłazowa Cave: Human Activity, Stratigraphy and Palaeoenvironment. Institute of archeology and Ethnology Polish Academy of Sciences. ISBN 83-908823-7-X.
  • Valde- Nowak, Paweł (2009): Obłazowa and Hłomcza: Two Paleolithic sites in the North Carparthians province of Southern Poland. In Adams, Brian; S. Blades, Brooke (Eds.), Lithic Materials and Palolithic Societies (pp. 196– 207). Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-405-16837-3.