High pressure metaophiolite polished stone implements found in Hungary

  • Zsolt Bendő
  • György Szakmány
  • Zsolt Kasztovszky
  • Katalin T. Biró
  • István Oláh
  • Anett Osztás
  • Ildikó Harsányi
  • Veronika Szilágyi
Original Paper


Good quality high pressure (HP) metaophiolite rock types (e.g. Na-pyroxenite/jade, eclogite) suitable for making prehistoric polished stone implements were unknown among Hungarian findings for a long time. Nowadays they are still among the rarest types of polished stone implements found in Hungary in the respect of raw material. After the first discovery of Neolithic stone tools made of HP metaophiolites in the records of Hungarian archaeological assemblages, detailed petrological investigations of large stone implement collections revealed their presence in a relatively large number. According to our current knowledge, 25 HP metaophiolite stone implements are known as found in Hungary. Unfortunately, most of them are stray finds, but 11 pieces from four localities have a known archaeological context. They were mainly located in Transdanubia (except for one piece from Tiszántúl) and are mostly attributable to the Late Neolithic Lengyel Culture and secondarily to the Late Neolithic Tisza Culture. In this study, we used only non-destructive analytical methods (macroscopic observation, magnetic susceptibility measurements, non-destructive SEM-EDX, and Prompt Gamma Activation Analysis). As a result of this study, the prehistoric stone implements were classified into raw material types. Based on our data, the high pressure-low temperature (HP-LT) metaophiolite stone implements found in Hungary probably originated from the same raw material sources as the Italian HP-LT metaophiolite stone tools (sourcing from North-western Italy). According to the literature on the topic, both primary (Western Alps in the vicinity of the Monviso in Piedmont or the Voltri Massif in Liguria) and secondary occurrences (in Quaternary deposits of the rivers Po, Staffora and Curone) are potential sources. These analyses confirmed the existence of long-distance trade routes connecting the Po Valley and its vicinity with the Carpathian Basin during the Vth Millennium BC.


Neolithic polished stone tools Na-pyroxenite Jade Eclogite Provenance Non-destructive PGAA and SEM-EDX 



Szilvia Honti, Ferenc Horváth, Erzsébet Nagy, Marcella Nagy, Judit Regenye, István Zalai-Gaál† and Ernő Wolf are kindly acknowledged for providing samples. Elisabetta Starnini and Jesse Weil are thanked for their useful help in improving the quality of the manuscript.

Funding information

This research was supported by the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA) K 100385 and JADE2 program.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (XLSX 95 kb)
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ESM 2 (XLSX 18 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zsolt Bendő
    • 1
  • György Szakmány
    • 1
  • Zsolt Kasztovszky
    • 2
  • Katalin T. Biró
    • 3
  • István Oláh
    • 1
  • Anett Osztás
    • 4
  • Ildikó Harsányi
    • 2
  • Veronika Szilágyi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Petrology and GeochemistryEötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Centre for Energy ResearchHungarian Academy of SciencesBudapestHungary
  3. 3.Hungarian National MuseumBudapestHungary
  4. 4.Institute of Archaeology, Research Centre for the HumanitiesHungarian Academy of SciencesBudapestHungary

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