Personal Ornaments in Prehistory: Beads, Bracelets and other Adornments from the Palaeolithic to the Early Bronze Age [Paperback]

Emma L. Baysal (Author)

Regular Price: £38.00

Special Price: £30.40

ISBN: 9781789252866 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Publication: September 2019 | Language: English 176p, H240 x W170 (mm) b/w and colour
Status: Not yet published - advance orders taken

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

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
 Body ornaments
 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
 What next?

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