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Home Science Mammoth ivory pendant is oldest decorated jewellery found in Eurasia

Mammoth ivory pendant is oldest decorated jewellery found in Eurasia

A pendant carved with mysterious dots and unearthed in a Polish cave is regarded as over 40,000 years outdated


25 November 2021

Dorsal and ventral views of the pendant. Scale bar is 1 cm. ? Antonino Vazzana - BONES Lab

The pendant is decorated with dots in an asymmetrical loop sample

Antonino Vazzana – BONES Lab

A pendant carved from mammoth ivory is the oldest identified ornate jewellery made by people in Eurasia. The discovery is shaking up our understanding of the emergence of so-called symbolic behaviours in the area.

The oval-shaped pendant, 4.5 centimetres lengthy and 1.5 cm large, was unearthed in Stajnia cave in Poland. It has two holes drilled into it, presumably for use for thread, and is decorated with a sequence of greater than 50 small indents in a looping curve.

“It’s a beautiful piece of past work from Homo sapiens, an amazing piece of jewellery,” says Sahra Talamo on the University of Bologna, Italy, who led the staff that analysed the pendant.

Using a brand new radiocarbon courting approach, the researchers found that the pendant was created 41,500 years in the past, making it the oldest of its type found in Eurasia. “We were quite shocked,” Talamo says.

This predates different objects and private ornaments with punctured dot motifs found in France and Germany by 2000 years. It additionally highlights Poland as an necessary area for creative innovation for the primary wave of contemporary people in Europe who developed new kinds of ornament for his or her our bodies as a marker of private or cultural identification.

The sample of dots on the ivory varieties an asymmetrical loop, however precisely what they imply is nonetheless an open query, says Talamo. “The most beautiful interpretation is that it is a lunar calendar,” she says.

The motif is just like the one found on the Blanchard plaque from France, an engraved bone dated to round 30,000 years in the past, which has been postulated to be a looking tally to rely the variety of animals killed, or a marker of the place of the moon over time.

The excavations on the Stajnia cave additionally reveal how trendy people had been in Poland round 10,000 years sooner than beforehand thought. “Poland was not supposed to have Homo sapiens there at this time,” says Talamo.

Journal reference: Scientific Reports, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-01221-6

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