Project Part 05: Report Excavation Grubalacke 2009



A.o. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Walter Leitner


Thomas Bachnetzer Bakk. phil. 
Mag. phil. Beatrix Nutz
Julia Hammerschmied Bakk. phil. 

University of Innsbruck
Institute of Archaeologies
Center for Ancient Cultures
Langer Weg 11
A-6020 Innsbruck

Grubalacke & Krahnsattel 


The field season at Grubalacke took place concurrent to the excavation at the rock shelter on Krahnsattel (see figure). The area excavated in 2008 was extended in a westward direction in order to find possible artificial recesses in the
in-situ radiolarian layers. These would suggest mining activities in a primary deposit.

An area of 16 square meters was dug over a period of two weeks. The stratigraphy showed the same layers as last year (humus – grey coloured level with artifacts –  weathered rock layer – radiolarian bedrock). Directly below the top soil some retouched flint tools, blades, numerous flakes and cores could be found in the archaeological level 3, in this zone an up to 5 cm thick gray loamy to sandy layer. The Stone Age products stem almost solely from this horizon. The quantity of finds increases considerable in eastern direction to the waterside of Grubalacke. To the west the gray level 3 tapers off.

The quality of the in-situ radiolarian rock varies. In order to find sufficient useful raw material many nodules must be broken up. In most cases there are hairline cracks in the stone, from which follows that the cores break apart when battered and only small cores of good quality remain.

No evidence of primary mining could be found so far. But this must not apply to the whole area of Grubalacke. It may be concluded however that the nodules were at least collected from the weathered radiolarian rock layer. The spectrum of finds also suggest the use of the area as a quarry rather than as a, even if only seasonally used, settlement site. Aside some few exceptions that may be disregarded end products of tool fabrication are missing. Abundant flakes and cores as well as debris with percussion traces remind of the stockpile material at the mining site “Am Feuerstein”, Kleinwalsertal, Vorarlberg. There finds of mining equipment provide evidence for exploitation activities.

Due to the lack of dateable, typical tools the find spot can only be dated roughly to Stone Age. Typological dateable finds made out of the same raw material from other sites in Tyrol, that date to the Mesolithic, may lead to the conclusion that the mining activities at the Grubalacke took place during the same period. So far only few examples of Neolithic flint tools fabricated from this specific material are found at the settlement site of Kiechlberg near Thaur (North Tyrol)[1]. Among them there is a bifacial, all-over flaked, stemmed arrowhead.

Based on the find of a triangular shaped, bifacial, all-over flaked arrowhead made out of Bavarian platy chert on the path to Grubalacke, approximately 160 m linear distance from the small lake, it is accounted for  that the vicinity of Grubalacke was also visited during the Neolithic. Here too an analogy exits to the Neolithic settlement on Kiechlberg, where also some arrowheads made out of Bavarian platy chert were found.

[1] Excavation by the SFB HiMAT: Project Part 06 


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