image/svg+xml41XIV/1/2023INTERDISCIPLINARIA ARCHAEOLOGICANATURAL SCIENCES IN ARCHAEOLOGYhomepage: http://www.iansa.euAnalysis of Pigments from Decorated Antler or Bone Artifacts from the Early Iron Age Princely Burial Mounds in Jalžabet (NW Croatia)Saša Kovačević1*, Marina Van Bos2, Marko Kralj3, Marin Petrović3, Ozren Gamulin4, Marko Škrabić4, Siniša Radović5, Ina Vanden Berghe21Institute of Archaeology, Jurjevska 15, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia2The Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, (KIK-IRPA), Parc du Cinquantenaire 1, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium3Institute of Physics, Bijenička Cesta 46, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia4Department of Physics and Biophysics, School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Šalata 3b, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia5Institute for Quaternary Palaeontology and Geology, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ante Kovačića 5, 10000 Zagreb, CroatiaVolume XIV ● Issue 1/2023 ● Pages 41–61*Corresponding author. E-mail: skovacevic@iarh.hrARTICLE INFO Article history:Received: 22ndOctober 2021Accepted: 18thJuly 2022DOI: Iron Age (Ha D1 phase)Eastern Hallstatt cultureJalžabet-BistričakNW Croatiaprincely burial moundsdecorated bone or antler artifactszooarchaeologycolourants analysis (SEM-EDX, MRS, FT-IR)ABSTRACTDuring the Early Iron Age in Europe (EIA), the phenomenon of the Hallstatt culture enveloped a large portion of the European continent. Between the Atlantic Ocean and the River Danube, cultural groups can be roughly divided into two major regions: the Western and the Eastern Hallstatt circle. EIA fnds made from organic material decorated with pigments are usually well-preserved only in specifc conditions. A good example is the coloured textile found in the salt mines of the eponymous site Hallstatt (AT). Other examples are Scythian fnds north and east of the Black Sea, far outside the Hallstatt culture area. This paper presents the results of the analysis of decorated artifacts made from bone or antlers from Jalžabet (NW Croatia). The artifacts were found in two princely burial mounds with incinerated remains: burial mound 1 (Gomila) and burial mound 2. The funerary monuments belong to the Eastern Hallstatt culture and date back to the middle of the 6thcentury BC, i.e., the end of the Ha D1 period. A group of scientists from Croatia and abroad performed several series of analyses on the selected bone or antler artifacts. The motifs on the artifacts were made by incisions and were flled with black pigment, and there are faint traces of red pigment on the surface. With the help of colourant analysis performed in Brussels and Zagreb (SEM-EDX, MRS, FT-IR), zooarchaeological taxonomic identifcation, and archaeological determination of a selected group of fndings from Jalžabet, we have tried to answer several major questions. The most important question being: are the traces of pigments on artefacts deliberate decoration? If so, can we determine the composition of the paint? What kind of raw materials were used for the production of the artifacts? These questions are important because these kinds of EIA fnds are rare and even more rarely analysed. New data would considerably expand our knowledge about the funeral rites of the most prominent members of the Hallstatt nobility in the Drava River valley and Central Europe. Taxonomically, the raw material from which the fnds were made was identifed to be antlers, probably from red deer (Cervus elaphus). Using methods for colourant analysis, we have successfully proven deliberate application of black paint based on carbon black as a pigment, probably in combination with terpenoid resin. Until now, this composition was only known from much later, Roman-period fnds. Also, it was confrmed that the black paint on the artifacts from both burial mounds in Jalžabet is of the same composition. The red pigment on the fnds has been identifed as hematite. It is highly probable that the red surfaces were deliberate, painted decoration. The probability of extracting the raw material needed for the production of the red paint in the Jalžabet micro-region was also established and requires further research (bog iron ore). The archaeological analysis of the fnds supports the idea of the use of various types of decorated plates as inlays, probably on furniture or other luxury everyday items. Smaller fnds could have been used as utilitarian objects, parts of attire, and jewellery.
image/svg+xmlIANSA 2023 ● XIV/1 ● 41–61Saša Kovačević, Marina Van Bos, Marko Kralj, Marin Petrović, Ozren Gamulin, Marko Škrabić, Siniša Radović, Ina Vanden Berghe: Analysis of Pigments from Decorated Antler or Bone Artifacts from the Early Iron Age Princely Burial Mounds in Jalžabet (NW Croatia)421. IntroductionMany high-status burial contexts from the Iron Age are published and generally well known. However, the focus of the researchers has for a long time primarily been the cultural positioning of sites and chronologically-sensitive fnds. In recent decades, large data sets about textile production, including the use of pigments, have been gathered thanks to specifc, favourable conditions for the preservation of degradable organic fnds. A great example of such fnds is the organic material from Scythian kurgans (Eurasian steppes, Altai Mountains), far outside the Hallstatt culture area (Gleba et al., 2020). Closer to the SW part of the Pannonian Plain, there are also fnds from the salt mines in Hallstatt (Austria). Hallstatt has become synonymous with the Early Iron Age in Central Europe and beyond (Grömer, 2016; Grömer, 2013; Rauch et al., 2009). Extraordinary textiles from the salt mines in the Austrian Salzkammergut, but also textile and pigment analyses in diferent parts of Europe have shown how spectacularly colourful everyday life was during the EIA. Analyses of blue, yellow, olive-green, red, brown, and black pigments on textiles from Hallstatt have identifed various plant species as primary dying material, with the possible use of insects and metal salt mordants (Hofmann-DeKejizer et al., 2013). The permanently frozen state of Scythian fnds enabled the detection of a mixture of dyes of plant and animal origin (Stepanova and Pankova, 2017, pp.119–129). In contrast to these rare examples, traces of pigments on organic materials from a majority of the EIA sites in Central Europe and beyond are exceptionally rare (Gleba et al., 2019). Numerous antler and bone fndings decorated with incisions and what seems to be black, but also, quite surprisingly, red paint, were unearthed in the burial mounds in Jalžabet, east of Varaždin (NW Croatia). These fnds motivated researchers to try to defne the material used for their production and the chemical composition of pigments used for decoration. Several publications in the past decades from EIA sites like Százhalombatta (Hungary), Krölkogel in Kleinklein (Austria), or, more recently, from Regöly (Hungary) and Rovná (Czech Republic) have presented fnds made from bone or antlers decorated with incisions and residues of black pigments. The fnds have shown signifcant potential for a better understanding of the burial customs and everyday life during the EIA (Chytráček et al., 2018; Grill and Wiltschke-Schrotta, 2013; Szabó and Fekete, 2015; Egg, 2013; Egg and Kramer, 2005; Holport, 1986). However, analyses of pigments found on EIA fnds still remain a rarity. The most important tested hypothesis in this paper was that the remains of the black and red substance found on the bone or antler artifacts from Jalžabet are pigments, and as such elements of deliberately-applied decoration, and not a contamination or residue of any other kind1. The additional unanswered questions in this research project were many, certainly too numerous for one study. Which raw material was used for the production of this group of fndings from Jalžabet? Can we single out the animal species? Are traces of black paint on artifacts found in burial mound 2 (excavated 1989) and on fnds from Gomila (2017–2021) of similar composition? How challenging was 1Contamination of decorated bone and antler artifacts with charcoal from the funeral pyre or with iron oxide from metal fnds during or after the funeral itself seemed possible. The complex burial rite in Jalžabet included manipulation with burned bones after the fre was extinguished and depositing scattered remains from the pyre inside the burial chamber, without containers or urns.