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Personal adornments in the Romanian Eneolithic: Local versus exotic raw materials (Author: Monica Mărgărit), Quaternary International (ISI journal), on-line first: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2018.09.046 - Personal adornment in the Prehistory of the Northern Danube territory: aesthetic or socio-cultural symbol?

Prehistoric personal adornments have benefited from detailed studies because they are an inexhaustible source of reflection. From these objects can be identified the symbolic and religious behaviour of prehistoric groups; they may also reflect the socio-economic aspects of these communities and may even serve as markers of cultural boundaries and exchange networks in prehistory. Appreciating the considerable potential of personal adornments, the central purpose of this study is to analyse and compare the types of ornaments used by Eneolithic communities (c. 5000-3500 BC) in the area to the north of the Danube, to provide an integrated image on the ways in which the use of certain types of ornaments had socio-economic effects. Among local species, the shells of Lithoglyphus sp. gastropod were used to make bracelets and necklaces and the valves of Unio sp. were processed into small circular beads. Alsoidentified were beads made of Cyprinus carpio opercular bones, a unique find for this stage of European prehistory. Exotic raw materials are represented by various forms of Spondylus adornments, bracelets of Glycymeris valve or tubular beads of scaphopod shells. While in the first case, we have identified pieces in various processing stages, from entire valves, shells or bones, simply perforated, and irregular fragments, to finished beads, used as decorative objects – certainly processed in situ; the artefacts of exotic raw materials arrived at the communities north of the Danube in a finished form, as a result of inter-community exchanges. Very interesting is the fact that the ornaments of exotic raw materials (e. g., Spondylus sp., Glycymeris sp., Antalis sp.) were identified mainly in funerary contexts and less in settlements, proving they were prestige goods and accompanying the deceased to “the other world”. Therefore, it seems, apparently depending on the local or exotic origin of the raw material, that these personal adorments had differing socio-economic meanings.