Entrance Orientation: NE
Entrance Altitude: 380 m asl
Cave Formation: Horizontal
Main Research Years: 1895, 2004
Occupation Eras and Dates :Early Mesolithic; Early Neolithic; Middle Neolithic; Late Neolithic; Early Copper Age; Roman
Jerbic Percan, K. 2012. Prehistoric pottery from the Jacmica Cave. Histria archaeologica, Vol. 42 (42), 5-86.
Komso, D., Pellegatti, P., and Miracle, P.T. Hrvatski Arheoloski Godisnjak 1/2004, Zagreb, 150-152.
Cave Description: The cave is 4.75km northwest from town of Buzet. Located in the upper rock wall of Jacmica Hill that is 466m high and located to the northwest from the town of Buzet, in the vicinity of the villages of Perci and Crnica. THe cave consists of two almost parallel areas divded by a wall, which are connected with two openings. The entrance area is 10 m long, 5 m wide, and 6 m high, and the parallel one is 15 m long, 4.5 m wide, and 4 m high. The entrance is 2.5m wide by 5.5.m high
Research Chronicles and Data: Although the excavation in 2004 was conducted strictly in accordance with all rules of the archaeological profession, it became nonetheless apparent that the marked stratigraphic units were disturbed, which can be seen from the diversity of pottery finds in the same layers.
During July and August 2004, an archaeological test investigation into the cave Jacmica by Buzet was carried out. Two test pits were investigated, dimensions 3m2 and 2m2, located in the entrance area to and in the interior of the cave. The earliest layers date to the period of the later pleistocene, when the entrance was probably too small, and conditions were inappropriate for human habitation. During the early Holocene, conditions improved, and the entrance area of the cave was used for a short period of time by a small group of Mesolithic hunters, probably specialising in roe deer hunting.
Between the Mesolithic and the middle of the Neolithic, the passages between the rooms of the cave were opened up, and the focus of human habitation shifted to the interior area, while in the entrance area finds are sparser. The cave was sporadically used during the middle and later Neolithic periods, while the Copper Age, it was inhabited very vigorously and for a long time. A rich and varied collection of Copper Age finds indicates that a community of herders lived here, while part of the economy was based on hunting and contacts with the sea coast.
The cave consists of two virtually parallel rooms separated by a wall, which are connected with one large window situated at a height of 1m. Input premises out the greatest length of 10 m, width 5 m and a height of 6 m. The second, parallel rooms is the largest length of 15 m, width 4.5m height of 4 m. The cave offers a great view of the entire valley Buzet. Records of the cave appear in the archaeological literature in the late 19th century. The preliminary investigations committed Alberto Puschi 1895., Examined a small probe in both premises out of the cave. While the probes from Ulan rooms not recorded any archaeological traces, in the probe of the inner rooms has collected numerous findings is prehistory, among them a copper ax, fragments of pottery, bones and pierced marine shells. Collected are compared with findings from NUGLJANSKA furnace, a nearby cave localities.
A single probe was explored in each room of the cave. The L-shaped probe 1 (Fig. 1, Fig. 2), with an area measuring 3 square meters, was dug in the entrance room, and it was explored up to a depth of 120 cm. This probe was not excavated to bedrock level because the profile caved in, and also due to the small number of culture remnants in the deeper layers. Eight layers were defined, out of which layer 1 (T.1/1-3) and 2 were mixed with one another, and they contained pottery that can be typologically ascribed to different prehistoric periods (Komšo/Miracle 2006, 32).
Layers 3A, 3B and 3C were ascribed to Mesolithic on basis of typology of burned stone, animal bones, lithics. Layers 4-8 were sandy, probably geological, with animal fragments.
Probe 2 which was dug in the inner room, measured 2 x 1 meters, and it was explored up to a depth of 150 cm (Fig. 1, Fig. 3). Already during the cleaning of the surface area of the room several pottery fragments were discovered (T.1/10-14; 2/1-6). In probe 2 it was also possible to define 8 layers. Layer 1 (T.2/7-12; 3/1-5) and 1X (T.2/6, 7) as well as 1Y (T.3/8-11) were mixed, and they contained several fragments of prehistoric and a single fragment of Roman pottery (T.3/11). Located underneath layer 1 was layer 2 (T.4-6; 7/1) alongside which were two spots where fires were lit, named feature 1 (T.7/2) and 2 (T.7/3-5), in which besides pottery also animal bones, sea shells and blades made of chert were discovered. A sample was taken from feature 2, from which a radiocarbon date was obtained, OxA-18183: 5325 ± 29 years before present, calibrated range from 4252-4048 BC with a 95.4% probability. Feature 3, in the documentation referred to as a refuse pit for the disposal of waste from the spots where fires were lit, contained numerous pottery fragments (T.7/6- 15, 8-10; 11/1-12), animal bones, lithics and a single pintadera (T.11/13). Similar finds were also present in layers 3 (T.11/14-16, 12-16) and 4 (T.17-26; 27/1-4). In layer 3, besides pottery, a pendant was discovered, which was made of a pig’s tooth and equipped with a perforation for hanging (Komšo/Miracle 2004, photograph on page 152; Komšo/Miracle 2006, upper right photograph on page 36), as well as worked antlers, animal bones, coal, a flint arrow and a tool on the cutting edge, and in layer 4 there were bones and sea shells, coal as well as another flint arrow.
These excavations yielded a total of 2,143 pottery fragments with a total mass of almost 32 kg. The selected fragments represent rims, bases and handles as well as all fragments that either feature some sort of decoration or are specific in some other way. Out of all the fragments discovered in the course of exploration activities, almost 40% represent pottery with brushed outer or inner walls, and there are many examples that feature a brushed surface on both sides. The oldest examples of pottery that was unearthed in the cave are several small fragments of impresso culture pottery which represents a very rare find for the Early Neolithic period in Istrian cave sites (Komšo 2003, 45; Marijanović 2007, 17).
The pintadera from Jačmica (Figure 5; T.11/13), which is of the “flat” type (Buršić-Matijašić 1993, 9), was located in feature 3B of probe 2. This is a fragment of one end of a pintadera and according to it we can presume that its form was rectangular. It was made of unevenly baked yellow-reddish clay tempered with quartzite and sand. Its decoration consists of deeply incised parallel zigzag lines that run parallel to the longer sides, within them a reddish color can be discerned, typical for Neolithic sites in Italy, the eastern Adriatic coast and Greece (Buršić-Matijašić 1993, 9). Such a mode of decoration is most similar to decoration found on pintaderas from the site of Hacilar in Turkey, dated between 6090 and 5720 BC (Budja 2003, 121/Fig. 5; 122), and those from Kunszentmárton-Jaksorérparta in Hungary, whose typology is ascribed to the KörösStarčevo culture (Makkay 1984, 31; T. 1/7 (124); T.VII/8 (124)) and Dikili Tasha (Makkay 1984, 19; T.XII/4 (48)).
The forms unearthed at Jačmica are in harmony with the ones discovered on Brioni (Petrić 1979, 218, T: XIII-XV), and in Istria pottery of this kind was also discovered on the sites of Srbani, Laganiši, Kargadur, Oporovina, Pupićina cave, Cingarela, Limska Gradina, Dančeva cave, Nezakcij (Čuka 2009, 19; Težak-Gregl 2009, 180).
Cave Usage: Agropastoral (A.a) -