Friendship Ornaments From the Stone Age Were Crafted and Worn as a ‘Symbol of connection’

Roughly 6,000 years ago, hunter-gatherer communities in northeast Europe produced skillfully manufactured slate ring ornaments in great numbers. While these ornaments are commonly referred to as ‘slate rings’, they had been not often used as intact rings. Instead, the ornaments had been fragmented on goal, utilizing items of rings as tokens. These fragments had been additional processed into pendants.

The fragments have almost definitely served as symbols of the social relations of Stone Age hunter-gatherers.

Purposeful fragmentation of ornaments

As most archaeological materials is present in a fragmented state, the phenomenon has been thought of a pure consequence of objects’ having been lengthy buried underground. However, in response to Postdoctoral Researcher Marja Ahola from the University of Helsinki, not all objects have essentially been damaged accidentally.

Instead, it’s attainable some had been fragmented on goal as a part of sustaining social relations, bartering, or ritual actions. The analysis now accomplished has demonstrated {that a} substantial variety of ornaments have been present in intensive and central places. As among the ornaments originate in Lake Onega area and have been transported to Finland by means of a widespread change community, it’s attainable that they symbolize the connections established inside the community.

By matching items of slate ring ornaments, analyzing their geochemical composition and investigating traces of use and manufacture within the objects, a analysis group on the University of Helsinki and the University of Turku demonstrated that the ornaments had not solely been worn, but additionally deliberately damaged.

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Because fragments from the identical decoration had been present in two completely different places, it’s attainable that they had been worn by two completely different people. Another indication of that is the truth that one of many fragments had been labored on extra finely than the opposite.

Handprints that inform a narrative

“These fragments of the same object may show the handprint and preferences of two individuals. Perhaps they wore the ornaments as a symbol of a connection established,” Ahola muses.

The same hyperlink was present in slate ring ornaments created throughout the identical manufacturing course of, certainly one of which was present in a settlement-site context and the opposite in a burial website investigated close to the settlement.

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“What we see here may be one way of maintaining connection between the living and the dead. This is also the first clear material connection between a certain place of residence and a burial site. In other words, the people who lived there most likely buried their dead in a site close to them,” Ahola explains.

An X-ray fluorescence evaluation (XRF) of somewhat over 50 slate ring ornaments demonstrated that among the ornaments or fragments thereof had been imported from Lake Onega area, Russia, lots of of kilometers from the positioning the place they had been discovered. XRF analyses can be utilized to find out the component concentrations and uncooked supplies of inorganic archaeological supplies with a really excessive precision.

The method will be utilized as a completely non-invasive floor evaluation, which makes it completely suited to the examine of archaeological objects.

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“By evaluating the basic concentrations of the objects below investigation with findings printed on the idea of worldwide datasets, we had been capable of exhibit that among the ornaments or the stone materials utilized in them was transported to Finland by means of an intensive change community, primarily from the Lake Onega area.

There was additionally variation within the chemical composition of the objects, which correlates with their design. These components point out that the ornaments had been produced at Lake Onega area in a number of batches, almost definitely in several places and by quite a few makers,” says Docent Elisabeth Holmqvist-Sipilä from the University of Helsinki, whose analysis on these historical friendship ornaments has been printed within the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory.

Source: University of Helsinki

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