Sunday, July 1, 2012

Ancient accessorizing

Dog teeth were all the rage in the Stone Age, for use in hair ornaments and necklaces for both men and women. So when German archaeologists found a pattern of them in the dirt (1st image), they surmised that they decorated the outer flap of a handbag. "Over the years the leather or fabric disappeared, and all that's left is the teeth. They're all pointing in the same direction, so it looks a lot like a modern handbag flap," said Susanne Friederich, of the Sachsen-Anhalt State Archaeology and Preservation Office. Thus the headline that the world's oldest purse has been discovered. It was located in a grave at the 250-acre Profen Site in Leipzig that is being excavated in advance of a planned open-pit coal mine. The find dates from 2,500-2,200 B.C. and is just one of hundreds of stone tools, spear points, ceramic vessels, bone buttons, and an amber necklace found in more than 300 Stone and Bronze Age graves.

This follows the announcement 2 years ago that the world's oldest known leather shoe had been found. The well-preserved moccasin-style shoe (2nd image) would fit the right fit of a woman's size 7 (although it is not known whether it was worn by a man or woman). The 5,500-year-old item was discovered in an Armenian cave called Areni-1 (photo here) and was made from a single piece of cowhide. Shoes were worn by the Copper Age inhabitants to protect their feet from the extreme weather and rugged terrain. "These people were walking long distances. We have found obsidian in the cave, which came from at least 75 miles away," reason the co-directors of the dig, Ron Pinhasi of University College Cork and Gregory Areshian of the University of California. Similar shoes have been found at other sites and from other times, including on the Iceman, but they believe the prototype shoe may have originated in Armenia and later spread to Europe. It was in Europe that woven clothing is thought to have developed at least 27,000 years ago, based on research by Olga Soffer of the University of Illinois, who showed that the hats on Venus figurines were impressions of a variety of fine weaving techniques that would have required a loom to produce.
Related posts:
Stone Age studio

1 comment:

  1. Great post! The fact that Neolithic peoples had a sense of fashion and design really must contribute to changes in how we understand prehistory. I just did a blog piece on July 2, 2012 on Gobekli Tepe - another example of earlier Stone Age civilization. I hope you'll have a look:


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