Ornaments are polysemic objects due to different meanings they convey in human societies—self-embellishment, means of exchange, markers of age and gender, indicators of social status, signs of power, non-verbal means of expression and communication. Beads have a privileged place in shedding light on the origins of modern cognition in human societies. While archaeological approaches to ancient symbolism have often been concerned with behavioral modernity of our species, anthropological studies have underlined the role of ornaments in the construction of personhood, identity, and social networks in traditional societies. Exploring an approach informed by anthropological and ethnographic theory, we discuss Paleolithic and Mesolithic bodily adornments found across southeastern Europe. We present a review of the evidence for long-term regional and diachronic differences and similarities in types of body adornment among prehistoric foragers of the region. Here we look at aspects of cultural transmission and transferability over time. This enables us to reconstruct a series of gestures involved in ornament manufacture and use, and to examine transmissions of technological know-hows, shifting aesthetic values, and demands for specific local and non-local materials, including marine shells transferred across this region over long distances (>400km). This evidence is further discussed by, on the one hand, taking a perspective that draws on emic understandings of ornaments in certain ethnographic contexts and, on the other hand, through a rethinking of the relevance of the structural anthropological mode of analysis championed by Lévi-Strauss.

Taking beads seriously: prehistoric forager ornamental traditions in Southeastern Europe / Dušan, Borić; Cristiani, Emanuela. - In: PALEOANTHROPOLOGY. - ISSN 1545-0031. - (2018). [10.4207/PA.2019.ART132]

Taking beads seriously: prehistoric forager ornamental traditions in Southeastern Europe

DUŠAN BORIĆ
Primo
;
EMANUELA CRISTIANI
Ultimo
2018

Abstract

Ornaments are polysemic objects due to different meanings they convey in human societies—self-embellishment, means of exchange, markers of age and gender, indicators of social status, signs of power, non-verbal means of expression and communication. Beads have a privileged place in shedding light on the origins of modern cognition in human societies. While archaeological approaches to ancient symbolism have often been concerned with behavioral modernity of our species, anthropological studies have underlined the role of ornaments in the construction of personhood, identity, and social networks in traditional societies. Exploring an approach informed by anthropological and ethnographic theory, we discuss Paleolithic and Mesolithic bodily adornments found across southeastern Europe. We present a review of the evidence for long-term regional and diachronic differences and similarities in types of body adornment among prehistoric foragers of the region. Here we look at aspects of cultural transmission and transferability over time. This enables us to reconstruct a series of gestures involved in ornament manufacture and use, and to examine transmissions of technological know-hows, shifting aesthetic values, and demands for specific local and non-local materials, including marine shells transferred across this region over long distances (>400km). This evidence is further discussed by, on the one hand, taking a perspective that draws on emic understandings of ornaments in certain ethnographic contexts and, on the other hand, through a rethinking of the relevance of the structural anthropological mode of analysis championed by Lévi-Strauss.
Prehistoric ornaments, Balkans, anthropological and ethnographic theory, Paleolithic and Mesolithic bodily adornments
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Taking beads seriously: prehistoric forager ornamental traditions in Southeastern Europe / Dušan, Borić; Cristiani, Emanuela. - In: PALEOANTHROPOLOGY. - ISSN 1545-0031. - (2018). [10.4207/PA.2019.ART132]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1412578
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