Shortly after his arrival in Central Europe, the homo sapiens showed advanced manual dexterity in creating a cymbal. ivory 3.7mm thick and decorate with perforations. This is attested by an investigation conducted by the University of Bologna (Italy), which analyzed the 20 remains of animal bones discovered in the cave stajnia (Poland) in 2010.
Among them are a pendant, made of a mammoth tusk, and a punch. The samples were dated by radiocarbon estimate your age at about 41,500 years.
“This study is important because, for the first time, a 41,500-year-old decorated piece is found in Poland, a region that, in recent decades, has been neglected in large-scale scattering scenarios. homo sapiens in Europe”, he declares to the SINC Sahra Talamo, lead author of the study published in the journal Scientific Reports.
The identification of the raw material of the Stajnia pendant was carried out by evaluating the broken edges and the exfoliated surface of the object.
The application of a series of state-of-the-art methods to determine the exact age of these gems made it possible to determine the broad behavioral adaptability of the primitive groups that visited the cave, in highly seasonal environments north of the Carpathians. The cave was a hunting place used for short term occupancy.
According to scientists, these objects are the first known evidence that humans adorned jewelry in Eurasia and the emergence of this symbolic behavior in human evolution.
“The result of our study questions the monocentric model of diffusion of artistic innovations in Aurignaciano. Most likely, these artistic manifestations were common in these early groups. Upcoming investigations in Central-Western Europe will reveal new ways of developing the personal ornaments”, defends the researcher.
The identification of the raw material of the stajnia pendant was carried out by evaluating the broken edges and the exfoliated surface of the object around one of the perforations where the internal structure of the organic matter was exposed. Collagen was extracted in the Human Evolution department at Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig (Germany).
Aerial view of Stajnia cave. / © Marcin Żarski
Its symbology is an unresolved question.
Mammoth tusk consists of a series of cones made up of stacked dentin plates that, on macroscopic examination, appear as milky white, homogeneous fibrous bands.
O pendant decoration, made from this material, it included patterns of over 50 punch marks in an irregular loop curve and two full holes. The authors suggest that the indentation pattern, similar to that of later jewelry found in Europe, could represent hunting accounts (a mathematical counting system) or lunar notations that correspond to the monthly cycle of the Moon or Sun.
It is decorated with a perforation pattern that creates a jagged, looped curve. This curvature of the Stajnia pendant may indicate a lunar analemma.
“It’s decorated with a perforation pattern that creates a jagged, looped curve. This curvature of Stajnia’s pendant may indicate a lunar analemma -Curved figure in the shape of an eight-, but it’s symbology remains an open question. It is fascinating that similar decorations have emerged independently across Europe. So far, what we can interpret is that the two holes were made to hang around the neck,” says Talamo.
Most of the iconic ornaments found to date have been extracted from older excavations, but with less information on site formation and post-depositional changes. Therefore, its chronological attribution is based only on the stratigraphic context and not on direct dating.
“For example, objects discovered in Swabian Alb (Germany) and others in France may be older or younger, we cannot determine that. Only with precise radiocarbon dates could we reveal the territorial diffusion of these artistic manifestations”, he concludes.
Sahra Talamo et al. “A 41,500-year-old decorated ivory pendant from the Cave of Stajnia (Poland)”. Scientific Reports
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