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Transdanubian radiolarite from Bakonycsernye

Material name: Transdanubian radiolarite
Synonyms: Radiolarite from the Bakony Mountains
Material (geologic): Jurassic radiolarite
Detail of radiolarite from Bakonycsernye
Foto: Matthias Rummer, 2001

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General characteristics

(In part adapted from Bácskay 1995d)

Geographical setting: Bakonycsernye lies at the most Northern edge of the Bakony Mountains, just to the West of the valley of Székesfehérvár, which separates Bakony from Vértes, the next range in the Transdanubian Central Mountains. Tüzkövesárok is a well know geological profile and the type-locality for the Lower Jurassic (Pliensbachian) limestones of the Tüzkövesárok-formation.
Material and colour: In the very scanty archaeological literature on the site, nothing is said about the types of radiolarite that have been extracted here. Our sample is a typical mixed bag, with all colours present. Most of the material is red or reddish, but brown and black hues are present here too. One of the pieces depicted in the sample description below, is quite yellowish and could belong to the Urkut-Eplény-type. The reddish material is less vivid in colour and shows less desilifications than the typical red radiolarite from Szentgál-Tüzköveshegy. The darker material is not inconsistent with the material we found at Hárskút, and could be counted to that type.
Other information: Although no large-scale excavations have been carried out, Tüzkövesárok can be securely classified as a mining site. During geological surveys and subsequent archaeological trial trenching several smallish extraction pits were identified, containing antler picks and other mining tools.
Knapping notes: Personally, I'm not very enthusiastic about any type of radiolarite, and the material from Bakonycsernye is certainly no exception to that rule. Like most types I handled, the material from this site tends to end as a heap of angular shatter, no matter what you try. The only way to detach something blade-like is knapping the material with cortex or parent rock still attached, using the (silicified) limestone to give the whole thing a bit of stability. Trying to prepare a decent core is quite impossible due to snap fractures and the like. The colours might be very attractive, but I prefer a decent piece of flint anytime.
Archaeological description: Like said above, the archaeology of the site and its material is still very much unclear. No dating has been carried out on the mining implements so nothing more can be said than that the site is (very probably) prehistoric. As no well defined types of radiolarite seem to have been mined here, the distribution of the material in prehistory is unclear too. Like already said in the introduction to the region, a lot of work still has to be done on the identification of all types of radiolarite from the Bakony Mountains.

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Locality: Bakonycsernye-Tüzkövesárok, Fejer county, Bakony Mountains, Hungary.
Synonyms: Mining site H7, according to the catalogue of the museum in Bochum (Weisgerber et al. (eds.) 1980)
Geographical description: Tüzkövesárok, literally "flint ditch" is a narrow gorge (if you're used to something bigger, you could call it a gully) to the South of the village of Bakonycsernye. It lies in slightly mountainous, mostly wooded, country at an elevation of 350 m asl.
Geographical co-ordinates: Lat. 47 17' 16" N
Long. 018 06' 15" E
(Mapdatum WGS 84)
Co-ordinate precision: The co-ordinates given are somewhere halfway the gorge, but material can be found in quite a large area around this position as the ravine itself extends for more than a kilometre.
Other topographical information: Giving a description how to get to the site is nearly impossible, and even with a GPS-receiver you will need a good map to find your way from Bakonycsernye to Tüzkövesárok itself. We used the readily available tourist map No. 2 "A Bakony, északi rész" (Bakony, Northern part) in the good and detailed 1:40 000 series from Cartographia. This very reasonable priced maps as we were around less then 2 €) cover most touristically interesting regions of Hungary, which happen to coincide quite nicely with the areas you will be visiting on a sampling-tour, and can be found in nearly every local bookstore.
On this map the Tüzkövesárok can be found toward the right margin at (local) co-ordinates 44 East, 15 North.
Additional information: As we were visiting it was on a bit gloomy autumn afternoon which, combined with the dense forest cover and the fact we did forget to bring a tripod, made it quite impossible to shoot a worthwhile site picture. We might return to the area on another occasion, but this can take some time.

If any of our users has a good foto of the site, we will be happy to include it here.

Visitors information: As we visited the site while on our way from the Bakony Mountains towards Budapest, we didn't have much time to check out the local eating and drinking places, but driving through the village of Bakonycsernye we didn't see anything that appealed to us immediately. The site is within easy reach of Veszprém and Székesfehérvár, the nearest larger towns, if you are travelling by car.
Sampling information: We visited the site on our first major excursion in Hungary in the autumn of 1999, following the description in Bácskay 1995d. There is not too much material visible at the surface due to the forest cover, but enough can be found in the loose material on the bottom of the gully. As this is a known extraction site, do not hammer into the exposed sides of the gorge. You never know if you are just obliterating precious traces of prehistoric mining in doing so.
  Orange radiolarite with cortex
Foto: Matthias Rummer, 2001

For a full-blown picture of this sample, click on the thumbnail. (69 KBytes).

Reddish radiolarite
Foto: Matthias Rummer, 2001

For a full-blown picture of this sample, click on the thumbnail. (63 KBytes).

  Radiolarite embedded in parent rock
Foto: Matthias Rummer, 2001

For a full-blown picture of this sample, click on the thumbnail. (76 KBytes).

Sample description: Like said above, there is a bewildering variety of colours to be found at Bakonycsernye, but the predominant colours are shades of red. The piece at the left of the top row varies from 5-7.5YR 5/5 to 7.5YR 6/7 (yellowish red to reddish yellow). The one next to it is difficult to catch at the Munsell scale but lies somewhere between 2.5YR-5YR 5/3 (weak red to reddish brow) and 10YR-7.5YR 6/4 (light brown to light yellowish brown). The piece with cortex underneath is plain 5YR 5/4 (reddish brown), but we found also pieces (we might put them up sometime) that where very reminiscent of the material at Hárskút.


Last modified on:
January 12, 2002
Contents primarily by:
Rengert Elburg
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