History of Adornment – Part 2

Based on archeological findings and speculation it’s believed that the first signs of jewelry adornment were over 100,000 years old – the beads of the mud snail. I don’t think there is any way to really know how these ‘beads” may have been used. No Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook then 🙂

And yet, dating back 75,000 years, those mud snail beads were found in Africa. In Kenya, beads made from ostrich egg shells have been dated to approximately 40,000 years ago.

Early modern humans, aka Cro-Magnons had necklaces and bracelets of bone, teeth, and stone hung on pieces of perhaps animal sinew. In some cases, these pieces had shell or mother-of-pearl on them. In southern Russia, bracelets made of carved mammoth tusk have been found. The Venus of Hohle Fels, shows that it was perhaps intended to be worn as a pendant. The artifact is dated to be between 35,000 and 40,000 years old.

“The figurine was sculpted from a woolly mammoth tusk and had broken into fragments, of which six have been recovered, with the left arm and shoulder still missing. In place of the head, the figurine — which probably took “tens if not hundreds of hours” to carve [5] — has a perforated protrusion, which may have allowed its owner to wear it as an amulet.” (1)

I feel certain that if one studies a great deal of history, these speculations of what these things were, make a lot of sense. Keep in mind that any idea that an artifact is a “bracelet” is based on what a person understands a bracelet to be in his/her present time. It’s certain interesting to consider that ancient peoples wore jewelry. For me, the real question is why? I go back to my theory that it said something about the hierarchy of the group. But that’s just me.

SUPER FASCINATING!  In October of 2012 researchers with the Museum of Ancient History in Lower Austria found a grave of a female jewelry worker – WHAT? The artifacts recovered include tools and have been dated to 2800 years before the birth of Christ. For a very long time, historians have believed the craft of jewelry making was a male-only craft. (2)

I’ve gotten very excited about Egyptian adornment. There is A LOT to share about color and metals and gemstones :). I understand I promised a word about Chinese Finger Guards . . . it’s coming, I promise.

As we progress in this journey of adornment and it’s meanings, things will become more clear – we will have some concrete evidence. AND why do you think early man/woman wore any adornment? What was it about Ostrich egg shells and mud snails, that was so attractive?


Ostrich Beads




Chinese Finger Guards

Til next week . . .  go make something now – even if it’s trouble 🙂

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_of_Hohle_Fels

(2) http://austrianindependent.com/news/General_News/2012-10-03/12320/Cavewoman_jeweller_rewrites_gender_history


About Phoenix

I am a mom, artist and teacher!
This entry was posted in I'm just sayin' and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.