Early Aurignacian Symbolic Technologies: Assessing the Relationship between Personal Ornaments and Coloring Materials in SW France
Author(s): Joelle Nivens
This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
The Castel-Merle Valley (Dordogne, France) bears three of the most important Aurignacian (40-28 ka) sites: the Abris Blanchard, Castanet, and de la Souquette. Together, these sites offer strong evidence for the shifting social dynamics reflected in the period’s characteristic innovations. The best explored of this evidence are their atypically large and diverse personal ornament collections that suggest they were shell ‘markets’ (Taborin, 1992) and specialized bead production centers (White, 1989; Heckel 2015). An overlooked feature of these sites, however, are their equally outsized coloring material assemblages. The few references engaging this record relegate them to bead production byproducts, stockpiles of polishing abrasives. Yet, despite extensive experimentation on iron oxides’ other utilitarian properties, the polishing hypothesis has not been rigorously investigated obscuring the relationship between the coloring materials and personal ornaments. This paper addresses these gaps by first reviewing experiments testing the local ferruginous materials polishing abilities. Combined with previous studies, this study models the properties that promote or preclude coloring materials’ utilitarian roles. These properties are then compared to the results of spatial, colorimetric, and geochemical analyses of Castel-Merle’s materials. The findings disrupt the apriori connection between polishing and coloring materials and instead implicate a wide range of activities.
Cite this Record
Early Aurignacian Symbolic Technologies: Assessing the Relationship between Personal Ornaments and Coloring Materials in SW France. Joelle Nivens. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450014)
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;
Abstract Id(s): 26199