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Tevel Flint

Material name: Tevel flint
Synonyms: N/A
Material (geologic): Upper Cretaceous ("Senonian") flint

Detail of cretaceous flint
Foto: Matthias Rummer, 2001

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General characteristics

(In part adapted from Biró 2003a

Geographical setting: The only known source of flint in the strict sense of the word in Hungary, and possibly in the whole of the Carpathian Basin, is located near the village of Nagytevel, around 10 kilometres Southeast of Pápa, in Northwestern Hungary. Here the Mesozoic foothills of the Transdanubian Upland/Bakony Mountains and the Cenozoically filled basin of the Kisalföld or Little Hungarian Plain meet. It is unspectacular, not to say slightly boring, country, with lowish hills that give way in the Northwest to the still less exciting plains that stretch to the Austrian and Slovak border.
Material and colour: Flint in banked limestone
Foto: Rengert Elburg, 2001.
  Like already indicated above, Tevel Flint is the only known flint in the strict sense of the word in a very large region indeed, being a siliceous replacement (chert) of Upper Cretaceous age formed in marine limestones or chalks. Not only is it flint in the technical sense of the word, it really looks a bit like some varieties from the Northwest-European chalks, too, and makes a very pleasant change from the endless splintering radiolarites normally found in the limestones of the Carpathian Arch and Basin.
According to the literature, of which there is deplorable little, there is only the one small quarry on Tevel hegy, exploiting the limestones of the Ugod Formation, where this type of flint is exposed. The age of these limestones, formed in relatively shallow water, is given as 'Senonian', but can be probably narrowed to Campanian to Lower Maastrichtian (Trunkó 2000: 30-31). In the quarry, two types of sediment are visible, a banked limestone 'sandwiched' between layers of more nodular material. The flint seems to be concentrated mostly in the banked layers, but is in most cases badly fractured, like its parent rock, as can be seen if you take a very good look at the picture above.

The material occurs in nodules, which seem to reach dimensions of up to 40 centimetres, but are mostly significantly smaller, in the range of 10 to 20 centimetres, with a mostly chalky cortex of very variable thickness. The flint is medium grained, and on the whole quite opaque; only the thinnest edges of the darker parts are somewhat translucent. The fracture is conchoidal and the surface of the flakes matte. As can be seen in the pictures of the samples below it has a typical concentric structure with a dark core and lighter bands under the cortex. The colour varies between 2.5Y 5/1 and 5-6/1-2 (grey to greyish brown) in the darker parts to 2.5Y 7/1-2 (light grey), 2.5Y 8/2 (pale yellow) and N7 (white) for the lighter bands. Some stronger coloured pieces, like the specimen at the bottom of the page show higher chromas, between 2.5Y 6/3-4 (light yellowish brown) and 2.5Y 7/3 (pale yellow)

Other information: No data on mining or extraction are available yet, but archaeological research into the site has just restarted as the area was used as an exercise area for tanks by the Russians and therefore unaccessible. It is certainly not unthinkable that some kind of active extraction has taken place, but as most of the hill is covered in sand, it will be very difficult to find any archaeological traces. On the other hand, we found a broken quartzite pebble with clear traces of percussion on top of the hill, which certainly wasn't lying there naturally, which could be a good indicator too.
Knapping notes: If you can get hold of an unfractured nodule, this really is a nice material. Nothing special, if you compare it with normal Cretaceous flint from the classical areas like Dutch Limburg or Belgium, but if you have been working with brittle, tectonically crushed, miniature pieces of radiolarite in the Carpathian region, it's sheer heaven.
As the flint comes in quite regular packages, it is easy to decortify them and prepare cores. The banding doesn't influence the run of the fracture and because of the medium grain of the material, it isn't too brittle. Not ideal for pressure-flaking, but good for the production of elongated flakes and blades.
Archaeological description: As with most materials, the main use is local to regional, but as it is one of the very few materials in a very large region that can be used for the production of longer blades, it occurs in small numbers on archaeological sites in the Western and Northern parts of Hungary, with some pieces being recognized in Southern Slovakia. At the moment, the maximum distance between artefacts and the source seem to be around 200 kilometres. We expect the material to be present in Eastern Austria too, but no data on this region is available yet.
Locally, Tevel flint is used from the Palaeolithic onwards, but most intensive use seem to have taken place during the Middle and Late Neolithic after the local chronology, being the Linear Pottery Culture ("Linearbandkeramik" or LBK) and the Lengyel Culture. As to be expected, most pieces that were transported over longer distances are either blades or tools made on blades, with a predominance of truncated blades, often with sickle polish.

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Tevel hegy
Locality: Tevel hegy, Nagytevel, Veszprém district, Hungary
Synonyms: On pre-war maps, the old German name of Deutschtewel is used; FlintSource samples 13, 14, 15 & 224.
Geographical description: Tevel hegy, which means simply Tevel mountain, is situated directly to the Southwest of the village of Nagytevel near Pápa in Western Hungary. Tevel mountain is quite large, and mostly covered is sand, so it can take quite some time to locate any flint if you don't know where the small quarry is. This exposure is located towards the Northwest end of the hill, a few hundred meters to the South of a small water-reservoir.
Geographical co-ordinates: Lat. 47° 16' 24.2" N
Long. 017° 34' 54.0" E
(Mapdatum WGS 84)

In cooperation with our technical partner I/O-graph, we offer a transformation-service for the coordinates of the sampled sites. Just click here to send a mail.

Co-ordinate precision: The coordinates given above were taken with a GPS receiver at the small exposure where the material can be found in situ, and will be off by not more than a dozen or so meters. If you're not visiting by night or extremely visually challenged, you should be able to spot the quarry following your GPS to these coordinates.
Other topographical information: Actually getting to the exposure is a bit tricky, as the access-road is just off the regular 1:40 000 map from Cartographia, No. 2 "A Bakony, északi rész" (Bakony, Northern part), which is still a good idea to bring, and can be found in bookshops in all larger cities, like Pápa.
To get to the site, you first have to find your way to Nagytevel, for which you take road 83 from Pápa in the direction of Vesprém. Just before you leave the town, take a left turn in the direction of Adásztevel and Ugod. Follow this road through Adásztevel, until you come to Nagytevel. Drive through the village, and instead of keeping to the main road which makes a sharp turn to the left in the direction of Homokbödöge/Ugod, go straight to the Southeast.
After this, things get a bit more complicated. As we didn't know we where taking the right road, we didn't take much notice of the way we were following. The most important part is to try and get to the small water reservoir that is located directly to the Southeast of the village. Leave your car here, and take the path which goes uphill to the South, and follow your GPS to the coordinates given above. On the 1:40 000 map the quarry is indicated as a small depression near the toponym Csuszkati dülö, at local coordinates 5.720 East, 13.800 North
Additional information: The only known exposure of Tevel-flint
Foto: Rengert Elburg, 2001
  In the photo above you see the small quarry, reputedly the only place where Tevel flint is accessible in a primary position. It really is quite a small affair, the highest face is not much more than 5 meters. As we were visiting, it was very clear we weren't the first to gather flint here, judging by the number of negatives of nodules that had been pried out of the rock. During the same month (April 2001) the quarry was surveyed by a team from the Hungarian National Museum, something we only learned later from the only worthwhile publication on the site (Biró 2003a: 13)
Visitors information: During our first survey of the whole region around the Bakony Mountains, we stayed at some place outside Veszprém, of which we spontaneously forgot the name, so you can imagine that it's not really a place we want to recommend.
On our second visit, we didn't fare much better. As we stayed too long at the site, happy to find something like flint after two weeks predominated by low-grade radiolarites and some not too spectacular "limnic quartzites", the only place that still had accommodation on a Saturday night at Pápa was the somewhat over-budget Griff Hotel in the centre of the city.
Basically nothing wrong with the place, apart from the, on the local scale, quite steep prices, but there was an enormous wedding-party going on, with sound levels that made sleeping not really an option. Apart from that, the restaurant was infested with Austrians on a weekend-outing, again extremely loudly enjoying themselves on the relatively cheap alcohol, and the food was not what we had hoped for. So if you have any information about worthwhile places to stay and/or eat, in or near Pápa, we, and other flint-travellers in the region, will be glad to hear from you.
Sampling information: As you can see from the sample-numbers, we visited the place twice. The first time, in the autumn of 1999, we missed the quarry by approx. 250 meters, after walking the length and breadth of the hill, and finding only some reworked flint on the top of the ridge. As the uphill area has been a military training area for Russian tanks, we think it might be a bad idea to go digging here, as you never know what kind of unexploded ammunition might still be lying around. The fact that we did find a few nodules on some bulldozered patches makes clear that there are probably other spots around where the flint comes at or near the surface. During this trip we checked every patch of bare rock, slope, and gully, but didn't find any material in situ.

During our second visit, we tried to get as near to the hill as possible with the car, and found ourselves at the reservoir mentioned under the route description. As we ascended the hill from the North, we passed the quarry, but first didn't look, as we were convinced that the material was lying higher up. This was of course a clear violation of the First Law of Elburg on Flinting, which states that you should ALWAYS look low first, and that if you don't find any flint there, it is probably pointless to run to the top.
This law is firmly contradicted by the Rule of Kinne, which tells you to run up each hill that can be seen in a radius of at least five miles at top speed. If there is any flint around, you will probably notice it when you pass it. During excursions, about half the participants follow either rule, so you can imagine how hard it is to get the team back together to drive to the next point.

You can of course have a look around on Tevel Hegy, but make sure you do visit the quarry, as this is the only certain point where you can get the flint fresh out of the rock. When sampling this site, the usual rules apply: do not take more than you need and don't do any unnecessary damage to the exposure. As this is the only source of real flint in the wide area, we can imagine that quite a lot of experimental archaeologists from the region use this exposure as their main supply of raw material, so the place might be quickly exhausted.

  Typical nodule
Foto: Matthias Rummer, 2002
Split nodule of typical material
size: 71 mm
Flake of banded flint
Foto: Matthias Rummer, 2002
Flake showing the concentric structure of Tevel flint
length: 53 mm
Sample description: The two flakes above gave a good impression of the typical material from Tevel with its concentric structure and some lighter spots in the dark core. In the left large flake/split nodule you can recognize the great variation in thickness of the cortex: chalky and several millimetres thick in places, lacking completely in others.
The two specimens below come from the secondary material at the top of the hill. At the left side again a very typical nodule with some fresh negatives and a somewhat irregular cortex. In the piece next to it, the typical banding is less pronounced and the core has a slight bluish tone.
The piece at the bottom of the page is clearly the odd one out. We found it at the foot of the hill, but as it's clearly flint, it has to come from the area. The difference in colour could be caused by impregnation with iron-oxide, and there is a minor difference in structure too, but this could be the result of a slight shift in facies.
  Freshly tested nodule
Foto: Matthias Rummer, 2001
Freshly tested nodule with typical cortex
size: 107 mm
Coarser material
Foto: Matthias Rummer, 2001
Somewhat coarser and more homogeneous material
length: 47 mm
  Yellowish variety
Foto: Matthias Rummer, 2002
Flake of slightly yellowish, 'blotchy' flint
size: 52 mm


Last modified on:
November 1, 2004
Contents primarily by:
Rengert Elburg
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