The provenance of serpentinite tools in the Corded Ware culture of Moravia (Czech Republic)

Pavlína Frýbová, Petr Gadas, Antonín Přichystal, Dalibor Všianský, Roman Hadacz, Petr Hlavsa


This paper constrains the provenance of polished tools used in the Corded Ware culture (CWC) in Moravia. Based on optical microscopy, Přichystal and Šebela (1992) suggested the source for the CWC battle-axes would be the Gogołów-Jordanów Massif in Lower Silesia (Poland). The present study examines 14 serpentinite tools from archaeological sites of Central Moravia. We have located the origin of the tools’ raw material by applying detailed petrographic, geochemical and petrophysical methods, as well as comparisons with data from probable serpentinite sources. Possible sources are adjacent to the Sowie Góry Block (mainly the Gogołów-Jordanów Massif) and within other areas in Central Europe (Penninic Bernstein Window, Western Lugicum and the eastern part of the Moldanubicum). Its most probable source is the Gogołów-Jordanów Massif, which is a part of the Ślęża ophiolite. The tools resemble the raw material source in several ways: firstly in magnetic susceptibility, with an average value of ~40 × 10–3 SI; secondly, in the light yellowish-green patched patinated surface and very strong serpentinisation with almost no primary mineral relics; and lastly, in the occurrence of pseudomorphs filled with opaque minerals, and also parts with magnesite aggregates, which are quite rare. The main common feature is the presence of large primary zoned spinels, with Cr- and Al-rich cores and Fe-rich rims. The conclusions are supported by the results of bulk-rock chemical analysis, both the raw material from Lower Silesia and the tools being Mg-rich. In addition, the shape of some Moravian battle-axes (from Prusinovice) corresponds to the Ślęża type that is believed to be characteristic of Lower Silesia. The estimated distance of transport from the source area in Gogołów-Jordanów Massif to the archaeological sites in Central Moravia is >260 km.


battle-axes, Corded Ware culture, Moravia, serpentinite, Gogołów-Jordanów Massif, SW Poland

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