Commune: Wolbrom (pow. olkuski, woj. małopolskie)

Framework element or context represented:
Fills of the relic (Neogene) cave within the Jurassic limestones of the Cracow-Silesian Monocline, Cracow-Wieluń Upland.

Primary geological/geomorphological interest:
Stratigraphic profile with fossils and archeological material.

Comparative assessment justification:
The sediments of the Biśnik cave represent stratigraphically the longest and the most complete sequence of the Late Pleistocene in the region, bearing the oldest archeological culture, which has ever been found in the Polish caves.

Protection status and accessibility:
Documentary site (since 2004), not accessible for public.

Character of site: Cave partly filled with sediments.

Area: 0.5 ha

Altitude: 390-400 m a.s.l.

Lithology: limestones, sands

Discipline: Palaeobiology, Palaeoenvironment, Stratigraphy of Quaternary

Process Age: Neogene, Paleogene, *all periods

Bedrock Age: Pleistocene, Jurassic, *all periods

Description of primary interest:
The Biśnik cave represents fragment of the Neogene karst system partly filled with sediments, which have been excavated for scientific purpose since 1992. In the sequence (7 m long) 3 main series have been distinguished. The lowest one is composed of clays and loams bearing limestone rubble and petrological, paleontological and archaeological material documenting deposition during Mid-Polish glaciations (Riss): Odranian (layers 17-16), Lubawa Interglacial (15), Warthanian (14), as well as Eemian Interglacial (13-12) and initial part of the Vistulian (Würm) (11-8). Petrological evidences of the different climates are based on composition of heavy minerals and type of limestone clasts weathering. Similar changes are proved by different assemblages of fossils, mainly bones of mammals (also extinct large animals: woolly rhinoceroses, primeval bison, cave bear, steppe horses, giant deer etc., hunted by people), suggested steppe-tundra or warmer environments during sedimentation. Archaeological artifacts found in the layers 17-12 represent flint and bone tools of the Middle Paleolithic Acheulian type culture. In the Vistulian sediments tools of the Middle Paleolithic Micogo-Prondnikian culture were identified. Middle section (layers 7-5) consists of fluvial sands, deposited due to damming of the valley during the Vistulian. The sediments contain fossils of mainly steppe-tundra fauna and artifacts of Micogo-Prondnikian culture. Upper series (layers 4-2, mainly loams of loess type) represents Grudziądz interstadial and climatic minimum of the Vistulian and contains fossils of steppe-tundra fauna. The youngest layer bears archaeological material of the New Stone Age, Bronze Age and Middle Age.


CYREK K. 2002 (ed.)–Biśnik cave. A reconstruction of the site occupation in the contex of environmental changes (English sum.). Univ. M. Kopernik, Toruń, 231 pp.     CYREK K. 2004–The beginnings of the Central Jura Polska settlement on the background of environmental changes (since the Odra Glaciations up to the Eemian interglacial period. In: Partyka J. (ed.), The diversification and transformation of natural and cultural environment of the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland, v. 2. Ojcowski P. N., Ojców: 11-18.     CYREK K., MADEYSKA T., MIROSŁAW-GRABOWSKA J., WISZNIOWSKA T. 1999–Jaskinia na Biśniku (in Polish only). In: Tyc A. (ed.), Mat. 33. Symp. Speleol., Jeziorowice, 22-24.10.1999: 13-17.     MADEYSKA T., CYREK K. 2002–Cave fillings – a chronicle of the past. An outline of the Younger Pleistocene cave sediments study in Poland. Acta Geol. Pol. 52, 1: 75-95.     MIROSŁAW-GRABOWSKA J. 2002–Geological value of Biśnik Cave sediments (Cracow-Częstochowa Upland). Acta Geol. Pol. 52, 1: 97-110.