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Prehistoric Adornments (Beads; Jewelry; Etc.)


Aug 19, 2003
Neanderthals may have made jewelry after all
http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-10-nea ... welry.html
October 19th, 2010 in Other Sciences / Archaeol
ogy & Fossils

Tools previously thought to have been fashioned by later Neanderthals

(PhysOrg.com) -- The theory that later Neanderthals might have been sufficiently advanced to fashion jewellery and tools similar to those of incoming modern humans has suffered a setback. A new radiocarbon dating study, led by Oxford University, has found that an archaeological site that uniquely links Neanderthal remains to sophisticated tools and jewellery may be partially mixed.

The study, published in the early online version of the journal PNAS, suggests that the position of key finds in the archaeological layers of the Grotte du Renne at Arcy-sur-Cure in France may not be trustworthy. The research team, from the UK and France, dated material from the site and discovered their radiocarbon ages were extremely variable and did not correspond with the expected sequence indicated by the excavated archaeological layers. The Grotte du Renne has 15 archaeological layers, covering a depth of about four metres spanning periods from the Mousterian to the Gravettian periods.

For decades scholars have debated the extent of cognitive and behavioral development in Neanderthals before they disappeared from Europe about 30,000 years ago. Neanderthals are the most recent, extinct modern human relative. We have a common ancestor from around 700,000-800,000 years ago and recent work in decoding the Neanderthal genome shows we share between one to four per cent of their DNA.

One pivotal period is around 35,000-40,000 years ago when the earliest modern humans dispersed into Western Europe. Finds made in the 1950s and 1960s at the Grotte du Renne site have provided persuasive evidence to suggest either that Neanderthals developed a more modern type of behaviour before modern human dispersal, developing their own complex ornaments and tools, or that they mimicked the behavior of the modern humans that they encountered after their arrival. Over the years the site has yielded 29 Neanderthal teeth and a piece of ear bone from a Neanderthal skull in the same archaeological levels as rings made of ivory, awls, bone points, pierced animal teeth, shell and ivory pendants. The finds were recovered from three archaeological levels (VII, IX, X) associated with the Châtelperronian industry, a tool culture thought to have evolved from the earlier Neanderthal, Mousterian industry.

For this study, researchers from the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit analysed 59 remains of cut-marked bones, horse teeth smashed by humans, awls, ornaments fashioned from animal teeth and mammoth ivory tusks from six key archaeological levels of the site. They included the three Châtelperronian levels (VIII, IX and X) and the Aurignacian level with material derived from modern humans in level VII. Thirty-one new radiocarbon dates were obtained: the oldest material in the Aurignacian level was dated at around 35,000 years ago, but when the researchers dated materials from the lower Châtelperronian levels they discovered many of the ages were hugely variable, with some much younger and several at about the same age as dates from the Aurignacian level. The most serious chronological problems were in the oldest part of the Châtelperronian layer (X) where more than a third of the radiocarbon ages were outside the ranges expected.

Lead author Dr Thomas Higham, Deputy Director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, said: ‘Our results confirm that material has moved up and down and is out of sequence in the Châtelperronian levels. We think that there has probably been some physical disturbance which has disrupted the proper sequence of the layers. This means that any chronological interpretation from this site should be viewed with extreme caution.

‘Our study raises questions about the link between Neanderthals and the tools and jewellery found in the Châtelperronian levels. This site is one of only two in the French Palaeolithic that seems to show a link between ornaments and Neanderthal remains. This has previously been interpreted as indicating that Neanderthals were not intellectually inferior to modern people but possessed advanced cognition and behaviour. Our work says there is a big question mark over whether this link exists.’

Provided by Oxford University
http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-10-nea ... welry.html
Evidence Neanderthals used feathers for decoration
http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-02-evi ... thers.html
February 23rd, 2011 in Other Sciences / Archaeology & Fossils

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers studying a large deposit of Neanderthal bones in Italy have discovered the remains of birds along with the bones, and evidence the feathers were probably used for ornamentation. The findings add evidence that the now extinct Neanderthals could have been as cultured as our own ancestors.

Paleoanthropologist Marco Peresani from the University of Ferrara in Italy and colleagues were studying Neanderthal remains in the Fumane Cave near Verona in northern Italy when they discovered the bones of birds in layers that were on the surface around 44,000 years ago.

The 660 bird bones included wing bones showing evidence of scraping, peeling and cutting by stone tools at the points at which the large flight feathers would have been attached. The feathers would have been of no culinary value and many of the bird species are poor food sources in any case. Feathered arrows had not yet been invented, and so the feathers would have had no practical value either, which suggests they were most likely removed for use as ornamentation or decoration.

The researchers found the first bird bones in September 2009 and this spurred them to re-examine all the bones found in that layer. Among the 22 species of birds they found were bearded lammergeiers, red-footed falcons, Eurasian black vultures, golden eagles, common wood pigeons, and Alpine choughs. The feather colors included black, blue-gray, gray and orange-slate gray.

Dr Peresani said bird feathers have been widely used by humans and have served a variety of purposes including making ornamental and ceremonial objects, and in games, but they have not previously been found associated with Neanderthals. Other researchers have found shells in association with Neanderthal bones and suggested they may have worn them as jewelry.

The paper is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

More information: Late Neandertals and the intentional removal of feathers as evidenced from bird bone taphonomy at Fumane Cave 44 ky B.P., Italy, by Marco Peresani, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Published online before print February 22, 2011, doi:10.1073/pnas.1016212108
http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-02-evi ... thers.html
Dating of Beads Sets New Timeline for Early Humans
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 093314.htm

Beads from the site of Ksar Akil (Lebanon) found closely associated with the skeleton of an early modern girl dating to between 39,000–41,000 years ago. The beads shown here are made of the shell of a small marine snail (Nassarius gibbosulus/circumcinctus). The large Glycymeris valve in the centre was not pierced, but its surface preserved bright red pigmentation. (Credit: Katerina Douka and Natural History Museum London)

Sep. 13, 2013 — An international team of researchers led by Oxford University have new dating evidence indicating when the earliest fully modern humans arrived in the Near East, the region known as the Middle East today. They have obtained the radiocarbon dates of marine shell beads found at Ksar Akil, a key archaeological site in Lebanon, which allowed them to calculate that the oldest human fossil from the same sequence of archaeological layers is 42,400-41,700 years old. This is significant because the age of the earliest fossils, directly and indirectly dated, of modern humans found in Europe is roughly similar. This latest discovery throws up intriguing new possibilities about the routes taken by the earliest modern humans out of Africa, says the study published online by the journal PLOS ONE.

The research team radiocarbon dated 20 marine shells from the top 15 metres of archaeological layers at Ksar Akil, north of Beirut. The shells were perforated, which indicates they were used as beads for body or clothes decoration by modern humans. Neanderthals, who were living in the same region before them, were not making such beads. The study confirms that the shell beads are only linked to the parts of the sequence assigned to modern humans and shows that through direct radiocarbon dating they are between 41,000-35,000 years old.

The Middle East has always been regarded as a key region in prehistory for scholars speculating on the routes taken by early humans out of Africa because it lies at the crossroads of three continents -- Africa, Asia and Europe. It was widely believed that at some point after 45,000 years ago early modern humans arrived in Europe, taking routes out of Africa through the Near East, and, from there, along the Mediterranean rim or along the River Danube. However, this dating evidence suggests populations of early modern humans arrived in Europe and the Near East at roughly the same time, sparking a new debate about where the first populations of early humans travelled from in their expansion towards Europe and which alternative routes they may have taken.

In Ksar Akil, the Lebanese rockshelter, several human remains were found in the original excavations made 75 years ago. Unfortunately since then, the most complete skeleton of a young girl, thought to be about 7-9 years of age buried at the back of the rock shelter, has been lost. Lost also are the fragments of a second individual, found next to the buried girl. However, the team was able to calculate the age of the lost fossil at 40,800-39,200 years ago, taking into account its location in the sequence of archaeological layers in relation to the marine shell beads.

Another fossil of a recently rediscovered fragment of the upper jaw of a woman, now located in a museum in Beirut, had insufficient collagen to be dated by radiocarbon methods. A method using statistical modelling was used to date by association the jaw fragment at 42,400-41,700 years old.

Ksar Akil is one of the most important Palaeolithic sites in Eurasia. It consists of a 23 metre deep sequence of archaeological layers that lay undisturbed for thousands of years until a team of American Jesuit priests excavated the rockshelter in 1937-38, and again after the end of the WWII, in 1947-48. The cave layers were found to contain the human fossils and hundreds of shell beads, as well as thousands of stone tools and broken bones of hunted and consumed animals.

Study lead author Dr Katerina Douka, from the School of Archaeology at the University of Oxford, said: 'This is a region where scholars have been expecting to find early evidence of anatomically and behaviourally modern humans, like us, leaving Africa and directly replacing Eurasian Neanderthal populations that lived there for more than 150,000 years. The human fossils at Ksar Akil appear to be of a similar age to fossils in other European contexts. It is possible that instead of the Near East being the single point of origin for modern humans heading for Europe, they may also have used other routes too. A maritime route across Mediterranean has been proposed although evidence is scarce. A wealth of archaeological data now pinpoints the plains of Central Asia as a particularly important but relatively unknown region which requires further investigation.'

The earliest European modern fossil, from Romania, dates to between 42,000-38,000 years before the present time, and specialists have estimated the age of Kent's Cavern maxilla from southern England, between 44,000-41,000 years, and that of two milk teeth in southern Italy, at 45,000-43,000 years old. The new dating evidence from Ksar Akil is largely comparable to these ages, if not slightly younger.

The work was led by Dr Katerina Douka of Oxford University, along with Professor Robert Hedges and Professor Tom Higham (Oxford); American Palaeolithic archaeologist Dr Christopher Bergman from URS Corporation, Cincinnati; and Frank P Wesselingh from the Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oxford.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

Katerina Douka, Christopher A. Bergman, Robert E. M. Hedges, Frank P. Wesselingh, Thomas F. G. Higham. Chronology of Ksar Akil (Lebanon) and Implications for the Colonization of Europe by Anatomically Modern Humans. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (9): e72931 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0072931
Ostrich Eggshell Beads Found in Denisova Cave
Tuesday, November 01, 2016


(Maksim Kozlikin)
NOVOSIBIRSK, RUSSIA—The Siberian Timesreports that beads made of ostrich eggshells were discovered in Denisova Cave, which is located in the Altai Mountains. The beads measure less than one-half inch in diameter and are thought to be between 45,000 and 50,000 years old. “This is an amazing piece of work,” said researcher Maksim Kozlikin of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography. “The ostrich eggshell is quite robust material, but the holes in the beads must have been made with a fine stone drill.” He thinks the beads could have been part of a bracelet or a necklace, or may have been sewn into clothing. The presence of the beads in Denisova Cave suggests that the people who lived there had trade contacts to import either the eggshells or the finished beads. The jewelry items were found in the same archaeological layer where a bracelet made of dark green stone was found in 2008. For more, go to “Letter from Siberia: Fortress of Solitude.”


More on finds in the Denisova Cave.

40,000-year-old bracelet made by extinct human species found

In what is quite an amazing discovery, scientists have confirmed that a bracelet found in Siberia is 40,000 years old. This makes it the oldest piece of jewelry ever discovered, and archeologists have been taken aback by the level of its sophistication.

The bracelet was discovered in a site called the Denisova Cave in Siberia, close to Russia's border with China and Mongolia. It was found next to the bones of extinct animals, such as the wooly mammoth, and other artifacts dating back 125,000 years.

The cave is named after the Denisovan people — a mysterious species of hominins from the Homo genus, who are genetically different from both Homo sapiens and Neanderthals.

We know that the Denisovans migrated out of Africa sometime after the first wave of Homo erectus, and well before us, Homo sapiens.

The Denisovans were unique in many ways, having branched away from other humanoid ancestors some 1 million years ago. Indeed, the recent discovery of a female Denisovan finger bone and various teeth shows that they had no morphological similarities to either Neanderthals or modern humans.

However, tens of thousands of years later, and prior to becoming extinct, they did coexist with us and the Neanderthals for a period, and skeletal remains of hybrids, and genetic studies confirm that they also mated with our forebears and the Neanderthals.

Strangely, however, DNA evidence also suggests that, at some point, the Denisovans must have interbred with an as yet unknown and undiscovered species of humans beings.

Skeletal remains show that the Denisovans were probably far more robust and powerful than modern humans, and were, until now, assumed to be a more primitive, archaic type of humans than us.

But, the discovery of the bracelet suggests this was far from true. Amazingly, the skill involved in making this adornment shows a level of technique at least 30,000 years ahead of its time. ...

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/scien...ecies-discovered/article/432798#ixzz4h99Ow99y
Doesn't DNA link extant Australian aborigines to Denisovans?

That's one helluva walkabout from Siberia though!
It goes back quiet a bit further.

The human penchant for bling is ancient—and a new study suggests it may go back as far as 142,000 years.

That’s when hunter-gatherers in what is now Morocco collected tiny seashells, bored them with holes, and strung them up to adorn their hair, bodies, or clothing. The look must have been bedazzling, because the same type of perforated shells spread quickly throughout northern Africa and into the Middle East. The beads—the world’s oldest if new dates hold up—suggest modern humans were engaged in fully symbolic behavior 10,000 to 20,000 years earlier than previously known.

“Shells are special wherever you find them, because when you wear a shell on a string around some part of your body, you’re using your body to send messages to strangers about your identity,” says paleoanthropologist Alison Brooks of George Washington University, who was not part of the new study. “Everyone’s arguing that when you have symbolic behavior, you have fully capable modern humans.”

Previously, the earliest known shell beads came from the Contrebandiers and El Mnasra caves in Morocco, dating to between 103,000 and 122,000 years ago, and from Israel’s Skhul Cave. But the “iffy” dates at Skhul come from only two shell beads from a layer dated roughly to between 100,000 and 135,000 years ago, Brooks says.

The new beads were found in Bizmoune Cave, a stunning gallery in the flank of an 800-meter limestone mountain in western Morocco, just 12 kilometers east of the Atlantic Ocean. Between 2014 and 2018, researchers excavated 33 oval-shaped, perforated shells of the mollusk Tritia gibbosula. All but one of the thumbnail-size oval shells were found in a single layer of ashy silt as stone blades and scrapers, charcoal from ancient campfires, and fragments of wildebeest, gazelle, and zebra bone. ...

Meanwhile, discoveries are beginning to fill in the history of prehistoric adornments in east Asia ...
Prehistoric humans made jewellery out of exotic island animals

Stone Age style was all about strange animal necklaces and bracelets. The first humans to cross the ocean from Asia to Australia fashioned jewellery from the bones, teeth and shells of the unfamiliar creatures they discovered on islands along the way.

The finding adds to evidence that early inhabitants of Australasia had symbolic practices that were just as rich as those of their European counterparts.

Modern humans first ventured out of Africa at least 60,000 years ago, with some travelling west towards Europe. Others spilled east, spreading to the southern edge of mainland Asia, before building boats and island-hopping to Australia about 50,000 years ago.

During this migration, they stumbled across a dizzying array of new and exotic plants and animals that differed from island to island. Emerging evidence suggests that they rapidly integrated these species into their symbolic lives.

Last year, for example, archaeologists reported that 42,000-year-old jewellery beads made from the shells of Nautilus pompilius – a South Pacific mollusc – had been found in a cave on the island of Timor.

Now, a team led by Adam Brumm and Michelle Langley at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, has dug up ancient ornaments fashioned out of the bones and teeth of native animals on the island of Sulawesi, about 900 kilometres north-west of Timor. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.newscientist.com/articl...-made-jewellery-out-of-exotic-island-animals/
Early pendants / necklaces at Çatalhöyük were made with human teeth, perhaps as mementos ...
Neolithic People in The Near East Made Jewellery Out of Human Teeth

The Neolithic settlement of Çatalhöyük in what is now Turkey has an enigmatic history, being one of the world's earliest urban centres.

The people who lived there had some interesting taste in adornment, and their excavated homes are renowned for the decorative use of animal teeth, horns and bones, along with the skulls of their dead, plastered over to resemble living faces. Now, it seems they also used human teeth to decorate their bodies.

Three teeth, found at the site dating back to between 6300 and 6700 BCE, show signs of deliberate modification for ornamental purposes, two of them very strongly. They are, according to the archaeologists, the first such ornamental teeth found in the Near East. ...

[Two teeth] ... had clear drilling marks around the hole, which were both hourglass-shaped - consistent with biconical drilling, where the craftsperson drills from each side to meet in the middle. Both also showed signs of polish, and wear consistent with being threaded and maybe worn.

"The post-mortem smoothing, rounding and greasy appearance observed on the crowns and roots of both items is consistent with their use (suspension), and their contact with a relative soft contact material such as human skin or clothing," the researchers wrote.

"Overall, both drilled teeth present consistent wear patterns suggesting extended use as ornaments." ...

"Taken together, these observations militate against a solely aesthetic purpose for the practice of tooth modification observed at Çatalhöyük" ...

"Rather, these material choices - and their rarity overall - suggest a deeper symbolic value, the full meaning of which cannot be fully appreciated at present." ...
FULL STORY: https://www.sciencealert.com/neolithic-people-were-apparently-making-jewellery-out-of-human-teeth
Here are the detail on the published Çatalhöyük research ...

Scott D. Haddow, Christina Tsoraki, Milena Vasić, Irene Dori, Christopher J. Knüsel, Marco Milella,
An analysis of modified human teeth at Neolithic Çatalhöyük, Turkey,
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports,
Volume 28, 2019, 102058,ISSN 2352-409X,

The use of human teeth for ornamental purposes is archaeologically documented from the European Upper Palaeolithic, and, sporadically, during the subsequent Mesolithic, Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods. To date, no examples of this practice are available for the Near East during this timeframe. This contribution presents three human teeth from Neolithic Çatalhöyük (Central Anatolia, Turkey; 7100–6000 cal BC) that appear to have been modified for use as pendants. Macroscopic, microscopic and radiographic analyses confirm the modification and use of two out of three of these finds. The two confirmed pendants were likely extracted from the skeletonised remains of mature and old adults, carefully drilled, and worn for a variable period of time. The rarity of such artefacts in the prehistoric Near East suggests a profound symbolic meaning for this practice and these objects, and provides new insights into the funerary customs and symbolic importance of the use of human body parts during the Neolithic of the Near East.

SOURCE: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2352409X19304894
Neanderthals apparently devised ornamental 'jewelry' as well ...
Neanderthal Jewelry Is Just as Fiercely Cool as You’d Imagine

A re-examination of a cave find indicates that the early human species sported eagle talons like some kind of prehistoric punk rockers ...

Neanderthals have long been characterized as bumbling early cousins of modern humans—incapable of the sophistication that would characterize the more beautiful-browed homo sapiens. But the more we learn about Neanderthals, the clearer it is that these assumptions aren’t all that correct. ... Artifacts pulled from a cave over a century ago demonstrate not only Neanderthal’s bold fashion choicces, but also their likely ability revere symbols and plan ahead.

A team of scientists released a study of eight prehistoric eagle talons that were found to have deliberate cut markings, indicating that they were once strung together as a necklace or bracelets. The specimens were found last century in cave in Croatia believed to have housed Neanderthals over 130,000 years ago. Though the talons had been previously examined, scientists only recently noticed the carvings and say that they date back to 80,000 years before homo sapiens even made it to Europe.

Altogether, the fierce-looking talons have a total of 21 cut markings between them, reports the Independent, and “have polished surfaces caused by one talon rubbing against another,” which suggests to scientists that they were indeed worn. ...

The discovery, published this week in PLOS One, offers a new window into the lives and cognitive abilities of Neanderthals. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smar...lry-just-fiercely-cool-you-imagine-180954553/

Here are the details on the published report ...

Evidence for Neandertal Jewelry: Modified White-Tailed Eagle Claws at Krapina
Davorka Radovčić , Ankica Oros Sršen, Jakov Radovčić, David W. Frayer
Published: March 11, 2015

We describe eight, mostly complete white-tailed eagle (Haliaëtus [Haliaeetus] albicilla) talons from the Krapina Neandertal site in present-day Croatia, dating to approximately 130 kyrs ago. Four talons bear multiple, edge-smoothed cut marks; eight show polishing facets and/or abrasion. Three of the largest talons have small notches at roughly the same place along the plantar surface, interrupting the proximal margin of the talon blade. These features suggest they were part of a jewelry assemblage, --- the manipulations a consequence of mounting the talons in a necklace or bracelet. An associated phalanx articulates with one of the talons and has numerous cut marks, some of which are smoothed. These white-tailed eagle bones, discovered more than 100 years ago, all derive from a single level at Krapina and represent more talons than found in the entire European Mousterian period. Presence of eight talons indicates that the Krapina Neandertals acquired and curated eagle talons for some kind of symbolic purpose. Some have argued that Neandertals lacked symbolic ability or copied this behavior from modern humans. These remains clearly show that the Krapina Neandertals made jewelry well before the appearance of modern humans in Europe, extending ornament production and symbolic activity early into the European Mousterian.

FULL REPORT: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0119802
Here's an example of why such adornments are thought to have had utility in coding affiliations, standing, and / or status ...
Adornments told about the culture of prehistoric people

Vladislav Zhitenev, a Russian archaeologist from MSU, studied bone jewelry found at Sungir Upper Paleolithic site. A group led by Vladislav Zhitenev found out that many items were crafted specifically for burial purposes, while others were worn on a daily basis. The style of the jewelry was influenced by many cultures of Europe and the Russian Plain. The article was published in EPAUL 147. ...

The encampment of prehistoric hunters includes a burial site of a 40-50 year old man and a grave of two children who died 10-14 years of age. Archaeological excavation revealed over 80 thousand different objects.

"This children's grave contains more adornments and other burial items than any other Upper Paleolithic burial site in Eurasia," - says Vladislav Zhitenev, the author of the study ...

Having studied pendants made from the teeth of Arctic fox, bone beads, and other personal ornaments, scientists found out that these items were worn for a long time as they exhibited rubbing marks and other signs of tear. Other ornaments found at the burials were made in a hurry and don't look so smooth and convenient. Evidently, they were crafted specifically for the burial ceremony. ...

Adornments are elements of a non-verbal language used by prehistoric people to tell friends from enemies and to learn about one's social status and standing. By studying personal ornaments scientists learn more about different aspects of intercultural communication in the Upper Paleolithic period. ...
SOURCE: https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/814514
A pendant(?) made from mammoth bone discovered in Poland is claimed to be the oldest mobiliary art decorated with punctures and the oldest specimen of mobiliary art produced in all of Eurasia. However, these claims about the piece are controversial.
New Study Claims This Mammoth Bone Piece Is Oldest Known Ornate Jewelry in Eurasia

It doesn't look like much. A little shorter than your thumb, perhaps, yellowed and scarred with age, and cracked clean through.

But this small piece of mammoth ivory recovered from a cave in what is now Poland may turn out to be an important piece of human history. According to a new archaeological analysis of the object, it's the oldest known piece of decorated jewelry made by Homo sapiens in all of Eurasia.

It's a pendant, made of mammoth bone patterned with small holes, discovered in the archaeological site in Stajnia Cave, Poland in 2010. The new work dates it to around 41,500 years ago, during the Upper Paleolithic – around the same time that H. sapiens were starting to disperse throughout Europe.

That would make the find spectacular, but it's not yet a done deal. Although the paper has appeared in the journal Scientific Reports, there appears to be some controversy, with a review underway to address as-yet-unspecified concerns.

But the researchers are confident in their findings. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.sciencealert.com/this-c...ld-be-the-oldest-decorated-jewelry-in-eurasia
Here are the bibliographic details and abstract from the published research report. The full report is accessible at the link below.

Talamo, S., Urbanowski, M., Picin, A. et al.
A 41,500 year-old decorated ivory pendant from Stajnia Cave (Poland).
Sci Rep 11, 22078 (2021).

Evidence of mobiliary art and body augmentation are associated with the cultural innovations introduced by Homo sapiens at the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic. Here, we report the discovery of the oldest known human-modified punctate ornament, a decorated ivory pendant from the Paleolithic layers at Stajnia Cave in Poland. We describe the features of this unique piece, as well as the stratigraphic context and the details of its chronometric dating. The Stajnia Cave plate is a personal 'jewellery' object that was created 41,500 calendar years ago (directly radiocarbon dated). It is the oldest known of its kind in Eurasia and it establishes a new starting date for a tradition directly connected to the spread of modern Homo sapiens in Europe.

SOURCE / FULL REPORT: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-01221-6
Here are the bibliographic details and abstract from the published research report. The full report is accessible at the link below.

Talamo, S., Urbanowski, M., Picin, A. et al.
A 41,500 year-old decorated ivory pendant from Stajnia Cave (Poland).
Sci Rep 11, 22078 (2021).

Evidence of mobiliary art and body augmentation are associated with the cultural innovations introduced by Homo sapiens at the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic. Here, we report the discovery of the oldest known human-modified punctate ornament, a decorated ivory pendant from the Paleolithic layers at Stajnia Cave in Poland. We describe the features of this unique piece, as well as the stratigraphic context and the details of its chronometric dating. The Stajnia Cave plate is a personal 'jewellery' object that was created 41,500 calendar years ago (directly radiocarbon dated). It is the oldest known of its kind in Eurasia and it establishes a new starting date for a tradition directly connected to the spread of modern Homo sapiens in Europe.

SOURCE / FULL REPORT: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-01221-6
Apparently created from a Mammoths 'tusk' - presumably.
Neolithic Turkish Teens?

Earliest Direct Evidence of Body Piercings Uncovered in Neolithic Graves​

ancient lip plugs

An assortment of ancient artifacts thought to be lip piercings. (Kodas et al., Antiquity, 2024)

Archeologists have discovered a collection of stud-shaped objects that wouldn't look all that out of place decorating the lips of people today. Found in the graves of a Neolithic settlement in south-east Türkiye, they could represent the earliest convincing examples of body piercing.

The site, Boncuklu Tarla, is renowned for its exceptional collection of diverse personal ornaments – more than 100,000 decorative artifacts have been found there since the settlement was first excavated in 2012.

Now it lays claim to the earliest evidence of humans piercing and adorning their skin, with small plug-shaped objects found resting on or very close to the ears and jaws of grave occupants.

"These artifacts offer a unique window into the use of body perforation ornaments by the inhabitants of early sedentary communities," archaeologist Ergül Kodaş of Mardin Artuklu University in Türkiye and colleagues write in their published paper, about the discovery.

The archeological record is awash with beautiful pendants, necklaces and charms that people wore in life and death, through the Ice and Stone Ages.

Fleshy tissues such as the skin are rarely preserved, so it's less obvious if an object sat on top of the skin, or sat beneath it in some way. ...


Archaeologists Uncover Ancient Tube of Lipstick From 4,000 Years Ago

A small, tube-shaped stone container discovered in Iran seems to have once encased a bright red pigment similar to lipstick.


Analysis of traces left inside the container show ingredients that are remarkably close to the ingredients in lip pigments used today. It is, scientists say, probably the earliest known example of the use of lip paint by humans.

It's a small vial beautifully carved from a green-tinged stone called chlorite, recovered from southeastern Iran in 2001 after the Halil river broke its banks and flooded several Chalcolithic graveyards.

Inside, [researchers] found a small amount of fine, loose, dark purple-hued powder. The sample was found to date to the early 2nd millennium BCE, around 4,000 years ago. And the contents of the sample were extremely interesting.

The dominant ingredient was hematite. Hematite is often black in its stone form; however, grind it up and it can become a brilliant rich, red powder. Other ingredients include quartz, clinochlore, braunite, manganite, and galena, which was a common ingredient in ancient kohl.


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