Phenomenon of Grain pits as Underground granaries in Prehistory of Slovakia

Authors

GAŠPAR Adam

Year of publication 2018
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Citation
Description Grain pits with specific shape features, such as the characteristic narrow mouth, were used for storage of grain in various periods and regions. A pit fulfilling such a criterion was after a thorough sealing suitable for a long-term storage of grain because the grains natural usage of oxygen created hermetically closed atmosphere with carbon dioxide. For mapping and recognition of different morphological shapes of the grain pits in time and space, a database was collected from the south west Slovakia. Closely watched are positions of grain pits in settlement areas, the problem of longevity of grain pits, their secondary functions as well as their decay and importance in community. Apart from grain pits, other possibilities of grain storage in Prehistory are outlined. Collected dataset is criticised and confronted with ethnographic findings and other studies on the topic of grain pits and storage. Based on the collected data, a continuous presence of grain pits can be predicted from the end of Linear Pottery culture till the end of Chalcolithic Age. They have also been documented from the second half of Early Bronze Age till the end of Hallstatt Age. Distributions and number of grain pits in settlement areas varied. From the analysis of formative processes, it can be deduced that the archaeologically documented shape (type) of grain pit is in many cases altered by destruction of object after the end of its use as a grain pit. Despite possible mistakes in exact type classification we can safely state that during Prehistory the most prevalent type of grain pit in observed area were objects with straight bottom and walls converging to stenotic opening.