Pendants From Stone Age Graves Revealed to Be Made of a Gruesome Material

maximus otter

Recovering policeman
Aug 9, 2001
Several small, slender pendants uncovered from Stone Age graves on an island in a Russian lake more than 80 years ago have been reimagined after archaeologists reanalyzed the finds using chemical fingerprinting techniques.

“To our surprise, the raw material of some of the specimens turned out to be human bone," archaeologist Kristiina Mannermaa of the University of Helsinki in Finland and colleagues write in their published paper.


Two pendants made from the same human femur split in two

It suggests people who lived thousands of years ago saw their lives as relatively equally important with the animals around them.

The bone pendants were found on Yuzhniy Oleniy Ostrov, an island on Lake Onega in northwest Russia, home to the largest cemetery in northern Europe from the latter part of the Stone Age, with 177 recorded burial sites.

Archaeologists first excavated the graveyard in the 1930s, but only with this latest analysis did researchers identify the origins of bone fragments fashioned into pendants found in six graves amongst ornamental teeth from elk, beavers, and even brown bears.

Spiral fractures in the bone suggest they were crafted from fresh bone rather than old burials.

No evidence of ritual cannibalism was found on the Yuzhniy Oleniy Ostrov bone pendants, but it also can't be totally ruled out.

maximus otter
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