Personal Ornaments in Prehistory: An Exploration of Body Augmentation from the Palaeolithic to the Early Bronze Age [Paperback]

Emma L. Baysal (Author)

Regular Price: £38.00

Special Price: £16.95

ISBN: 9781789252866 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2019 | Language: English 272p, H240 x W170 (mm) b/w and colour

Also available as an ebook from:
Buy From Amazon Amazon
Buy From Apple Apple
Buy From Barnes and Noble Barnes & Noble
Buy From Kobo Kobo
Buy From Google Google

Oxbow Books will earn a small commission if you buy an ebook after clicking a link here.

Personal Ornaments in Prehistory


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 centres 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 artefacts are key to understanding trade, relationships, values, beliefs and the construction of personal identity in the past. Indeed, more than any other group of artefacts, 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

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?
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 specialisation
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
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
Box 1 – Artefact biography: shell beads from Direkli Cave, Turkey
5. Changing times? The Early Neolithic
Memories of times past
New practices in settled life
Stone technology: knowledge, choices and raw materials
Stone technology: production areas and skill
The value of ornaments and recycling
Box 2 – Artefact biography: recycled stone pendant from Boncuklu Höyük, Turkey
6. Settled life and identity: the established Neolithic
Still looking back to times past
Changing technologies and new materials
The technology of changing colour
Production areas and the beginning of specialisation
Ornaments on the body and identity in burial
Box 3 – Artefact biography: a blue bead from the site of Barcın Höyük, Turkey
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
Box 4 – Artefact biography: a shell pendant from Canhasan I, Turkey
8. Ornaments and the coming of civilisation? The Early Bronze Age
More new materials, value and trade
The seal and beads in ownership
How many, who and how? Established specialisation
Looking forward: history built on strong foundations
Box 5 – Artefact biography: lapis lazuli bead, Başur Höyük, Turkey
9. Personal ornaments: dependencies, interactions and long-term change
Economy: ornaments and specialisation
Society: ornaments, connections and communications
Identity: ornaments in the long term
Is it change yet? Envisioning a narrative approach
What next?

Reviews & Quotes

"...well-structured and supported by numerous maps, diagrams, black and white photographs and colour plates that depict examples of the ornaments discussed throughout, which is essential for the non-subject specialist reader to gain an understanding of the visual impact that the ornaments had. "
Elizabeth Foulds
Archaeological Journal (12/10/2021)

"As a whole, the book gives context to an area that is probably largely misunderstood by many historians (and the public in general), and provides a very satisfying journey... An immense achievement by an expert in her field, this book shines a light onto a complex, neglected, and misunderstood era."
Katie Godman
Journal of Dress History (06/10/2020)

"[The book's] somewhat restricted geographical focus does not detract frm the main thrust and quality of the themes."
George Nash
Current World Archaeology (02/04/2020)

Product Tags

Use spaces to separate tags. Use single quotes (') for phrases.

Memory usage: real: 24117248, emalloc: 23694168
Code ProfilerTimeCntEmallocRealMem