The Avars were a nomadic people from the Eurasian steppe. They

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The Avars were a nomadic people from the Eurasian steppe. They
From the Past to the Present: A Special
Bone Tool Kit from a 8-9th Century Avar
Village from Hungary
Márta Daróczi--Szabó
Eötvös Lóránd University, Department of Archaeology
1088 Budapest, Múzeum körút 4/B, Hungary
[email protected]
The site, Debrecen-Bordás-tanya, was situated west
of Debrecen city, in the North-East part of Hungary.
Between 2003 and 2004, a rescue excavation was
carried out by archaeologists at the Déri Museum,
preceding the construction of the M35 highway. The
archaeological site is 50,600 sq. m. The finds show
that this area was inhabited by the Avars (8th-9th
century AD). Archaeologists excavated part of a
village and their cemetery.
dog
3,6%
domestic
wild animal
fowl
0,6%
3,2%
NISP=1108
cattle
37,6%
pig
21,1%
sheep/goat
30,1%
horse
donkey 3,2%
0,4%
Avar warrior with his captive on a jar from the
Nagyszentmiklósi treasure from the Avar Period
The Avars were a nomadic people from the
Eurasian steppe. They lived in the Carpathian
Basin between the 6th-9th centuries AD.
Map showing the location of the site
The animal bone assemblage from the site (total
N=2163) contained 73 bone tools. The greater part
of it were awls made from sheep or goat tibia (42
pieces) and scraper tools made from cattle rib (20
pieces). The raw material is very standarized. This
suggests that these tools were used in a specialized
craft activity (presumably leather-working.)
The percentual distribution of main animal taxa
by the number of identifiable bone specimens
Some of the scrapers
70
60
50
%
40
species (847)
30
tool (72)
20
10
0
cattle
horse
sheep/goat
dog
goose
bird
Raw material selection by species for tool manufacture
Edge of a scraper
Conscious choice of raw material is characteristic of Avar period bone
manufacturing. The different tool types are usually made from the same
skeletal element or the same part of bone. Until now, the antler and bone
tools of this period were known mainly from grave goods although tools
from graves seem to differ markedly from those used in everyday life.
Experiments to replicate the mode of manufacture for these scrapers and awls. I have also
carried out some experiments with them on skins to compare their use wear traces.
Its surface under 200x magnification
A total of 45 houses were excavated, and bone
tools (52 from the total of 73) were found in 30
of them! This suggests that the crafts that were
carried out in individual households were very
standardized.
Some of the awls

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