Technological and Regional Perspectives

Randall WHITE, Christian NORMAND

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Recent excavations at Isturitz Cave by Christian Normand have yielded a rich assemblage of Aurignacian personal ornaments in chronostratigraphic context. Here, we present the first study of this corpus, focusing on the techniques used for perforating teeth; the chronological variation in the selection of animal teeth (and one human tooth); the raw materials used for the beads and pendants (amber, ivory, talc, bone); data concerning local personal ornament production (or not); the exploitation of amber and its provenance; and the existence of abundant personal ornaments (pendant-anthropomorphic sculpture and shells) in the Archaic Aurignacian levels.

The stratigraphic sequence from Isturitz allows us to demonstrate the chronological evolution of personal ornaments during the course of the Aurignacian in Aquitaine, as well their intra-regional variability. We conclude that this chronological and intra-regional variation considerably complicates the recent hypothesis of regionalized personal ornaments, representing ethnic entities that last for more than ten thousand years.

To cite this article

White R., Normand C., 2015 – Early and Archaic Aurignacian Personal Ornaments from Isturitz Cave: Technological and Regional Perspectives, in White R., Bourrillon R. (eds.) with the collaboration of Bon F., Aurignacian Genius: Art, Technology and Society of the First Modern Humans in Europe, Proceedings of the International Symposium, April 08-10 2013, New York University, P@lethnology, 7, 138-164.