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Zemplén Opalite

Material name: Zemplén Opalite
Synonyms: Opal, limnic opalite
Material (geologic): Tertiary (Neogene, Miocene) opal

Detail of opal from Sas patak
Foto: Elburg/Meinel/Rummer, 2000

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General characteristics

(In part adapted from Biró 1986c and Bácskay 1995a

Geographical setting: N/A
Material and colour: N/A
Other information: N/A
Knapping notes: N/A
Archaeological description: N/A

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Sás patak
Locality: Erdöbénye-Sás patak, Zemplén Mountains, Hungary
Synonyms: Mining-site H 5, according to the catalogue of the museum in Bochum (Weisgerber et al. (eds.) 1999), but see Bácskay 1995a for more precise information; FlintSource sample 27 and 28.
Geographical description: The toponym Sás patak refers to a small brook approx. 5 kilometres West of Erdöbénye in the southern part of the Zemplén Mountains in the northeastern part of Hungary.
Geographical co-ordinates: Lat. 48° 16' N
Long. 021° 22' E
(Mapdatum unknown)
Co-ordinate precision: The co-ordinates above are the ones given by Bácksay 1995a. We do have a much more precise localisation, but as we were quite shocked to see the devastation caused by illegal collectors, we are not going to publish these in this way.
The publication mentioned above gives you all the information you will need to find the site, and if you are a serious lithic archaeologist you will either have it in your personal library or will be able to track it easily.
There seems to be only one primary outcrop accessible at the time, and therefore no extra site-information is going to be available on these pages.
Additional information: Blocks of opalite in situ
Foto: Rengert Elburg, 1999
  After cleaning up the very small area where the banks of opalite are exposed, we made this picture. You can see the two types of material, in situ embedded in loose, tuff-like material. To the left is a block of banded material, to the right a lump of much denser and homogeneous material. The flakes we collected presumably come from these two primary blocks.
Visitors information: The Zemplén Mountains are undeniable one of the most attractive regions where we came on our excursion. An impression that was reinforced by the beautiful early autumn weather with the grape harvest in full swing. This is the region where the 'king of wines and wine of kings', the Tokay, comes from.
Even if you are not interested in lithic raw materials (of which there are a lot around, ee the list in the navigation frame to the left), a visit is very worthwhile. During our first trip we stayed in Szerencs, at the southern fringes of the uplands, where the former castle serves now as a (three star) hotel with reasonable prices, but there seem to be plenty of other places around to stay. The second time around we operated out of the impossibly named border town of Sátoraljaújhely. Not a very inspiring place by Hungarian standards, but very pleasant if you just came over from Slovakia. Here we stayed in a hotel just off the main road in a very large three-bedded room which costed us less than 40 € for the night (spring 2001).
A warning is in order for Tokaj itself. As we were there, there were a lot of fat-bellied German and Austrian tourists who couldn't manage the local vintage and crowded the pavement cafés like they just bought the place.
Sampling information: The stones we bring to you are ILLEGAL, as the whole place is part of a Nature Conservation Area, and collecting is strictly forbidden. The flakes we collected had already been hacked out of their bedding by illegal collectors, and as we planned to publish them here, we still took them. So if you go there, just look, don't touch. There is enough other material (beautifully coloured limnic quartzites, Carpathian 2 obsidian, just look at the links in the frame) around to keep you sampling for days.
  Waxy opal
Foto: Elburg/Meinel/Rummer, 2000
Piece of waxy opalite with glassy band
Banded opal
Foto: Elburg/Meinel/Rummer, 2000
Large flake of banded opal
Sample description: N/A

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Alsó liget
Locality: Erdöbénye-Alsó liget, Zemplén Mountains, Hungary
Synonyms: Liget major; FlintSource sample 211.
Geographical description: WhereItIs
Geographical co-ordinates: Lat. 48° 17' 10" N
Long. 021° 18' 50" E
(Mapdatum WGS 84)
Co-ordinate precision: The coordinates given are those of a large heap of stones in the active quarry. The sample comes from a wider area around this spot.
Other topographical information: HowToGetThere
Additional information: Block of weathered opal
Foto: Rengert Elburg, 2001
Visitors information: PlacesToEatAndDrink
Sampling information: N/A
  Flake of brownish opal
Foto: Matthias Rummer, 2001
Flake of brownish opal with numerous impureties
length: 30 mm
Flake of very fine opal
Foto: Matthias Rummer, 2001
Very fine and slightly banded opal
length: 35 mm
  Small flake of banded opal
Foto: Matthias Rummer, 2001
Small flake of banded opal
size: 19 mm
Piece of banded opal
Foto: Matthias Rummer, 2001
Piece of fine banded opal with cortex
size: 28 mm
Sample description: N/A


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Sometime, 2002
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