Personal Ornaments in Prehistory: An exploration of body augmentation from the Palaeolithic to the Early Bronze Age
Beads, bracelets, necklaces, pendants and many other ornaments are familiar objects that play a fundamental role in personal expression and communication. This book considers how and why the human relationship with ornaments developed and continued over tens of thousands of years, from hunter-gatherer life in the cave to urban elites, from expedient use of natural resources to complex technologies.
Using evidence from archaeological sites across Turkey, the Near East and the Balkans, it explores the history of personal ornaments from their appearance in the Palaeolithic until the rise of urban centers in the Early Bronze Age and encompassing technologies ranging from stone cutting to early glazing, metallurgy and the roots of glass manufacture. The development of theoretical and practical approaches to ornaments and the current state of research are illustrated with a wide variety of examples.
This book shows that far from being objects of display, of little value in archaeological interpretation and often overlooked, these artifacts are key to understanding trade, relationships, values, beliefs and the construction of personal identity in the past. Indeed, more than any other group of artifacts, their variety in material, form, use and distribution opens doors to both wide ranging scientific exploration and consideration of what it is to be human.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction
What is a personal ornament?
Personal ornaments as an academic subject
Ornaments in prehistory, a very long story
What is in this book?
Chapter 2: Personal ornaments, why are they important in prehistory?
Excavating and interpreting personal ornaments: a process
Personal issues – identity, memory and material entanglements
Practical issues – procurement, technology and use
Economic issues – value and specialization
Chapter 3: Geography, temporality and interpretation
Geographic variation – landscape, materials and ornaments
Continuity and change – the long view of ornament use
Personal ornaments and the archaeological narrative
Chapter 4: Starting at the beginning – the Palaeolithic and Epipalaeolithic
Shells, the sea and faraway places
Bead technologies at the beginning
More materials, and the beginning of a long story
Artefact biography: Shell beads from Direkli Cave, Turkey
Chapter 5: Changing times? The Early Neolithic
Memories of times past
New practices in settled life
An introduction to stone technology
The value of ornaments and recycling
Artefact biography: Recycled stone pendant from Boncuklu Höyük, central Turkey
Chapter 6: Settled life and identity – the Later Neolithic
Still looking back to times past
Changing technologies and new materials
The technology of changing colour
Production areas and the beginning of specialization
Identity in burial?
Artefact biography: A blue bead from the site of Barcın Höyük.
Chapter 7: New technologies and interactions – the Chalcolithic
Trade networks and adventures at sea
Complex technologies and making things
A bolder, aesthetic and the question of meaning
Looking back, the long story
Artefact biography: A shell pendant from Canhasan I
Chapter 8: Ornaments and the coming of civilization? - the Early Bronze Age
More new materials, value and trade
The seal and beads in ownership
How many, who and how? Established specialization
Looking forward, history built on strong foundations
Artefact biography: Lapis lazuli bead, Başur Höyük
Chapter 9: Summary - dependencies, interactions and long-term change
Economy - ornaments and specialization
Society – ornaments, connections and communications
Identity - ornaments in the long term
Is it change yet? Envisioning a narrative approach
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