The Story of a Little Rodent in a Changing World

The summer of 9,750 BC (or 11,700 years before present) was warmer and rainier than usual in the area of the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland. At sunset, a solitary narrow-headed vole was walking across the hills, down to the Sąspow River and up to the highlands, in search of its favourite food to store for the winter, mainly shoots of grasses and sedges, every year more and more scarce and harder to find due to the advance of the forest. These were times of changes: only a few decades before, his great-grandparents were living in a suitable tundra environment with all the necessities: enough food in the summer, enough snow and ice in the winter to store their favourite grass seeds; in all the valleys were plenty of voles of his kind. Now all had changed. The solitary rodent was starving; he was the last of his kind in southern Poland. All his “family” moved northwards a long time ago because of global warming and the advance of the great forest.

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Mysteries of Koziarnia Cave. Part two – puzzle solved

The excavations in Koziarnia Cave were a bit of an earthquake. Seriously. The seismograph working continuously deeper in the cave recorded each hit of the rock pick. Geophysicists paid the price so that we, archaeologists, could eventually reveal the mysteries of Koziarnia Cave.

The inside of Koziarnia Cave during excavations in 2017. Note the mist appearing in the in the cave on hot summer days
© M. Kot, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence

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Mysteries of Koziarnia Cave. Part one – turbulent history of the cave

This cave used to be a dwelling for the Neanderthals, a dance floor and a bowling club. In the past it was inhabited by humans and cave bears in turns. At some other time there was a pen for livestock. Hence the name – Koziarnia (goat barn)…

View of the entrance to Koziarnia Cave
© M. Bogacki, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence

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Caves in the Sąspowska Valley – the secrets of the storerooms of the University of Warsaw

I open a long lost box of artefacts. Do you know this feeling? The feeling when you discover notes for a book, written with your own hand, which you think you read for the first time? We call it the archaeology of archaeology.

Wszystkie jaskinie badane wykopaliskowo przez Profesora W. Chmielewskiego w Dolinie Sąspowskiej © M. Jakubczak, na licencji CC BY-SA 4.0
All caves excavated by professor Waldemar Chmielewski in the Sąspowska Valley
© M. Jakubczak, CC BY-SA 4.0 licence

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