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International Colloquium BEAUTY AND THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER: PERSONAL ADORNMENTS ACROSS THE MILLENNIA (Organizers: Monica Mărgărit and Adina Boroneanț), Târgoviste, 12-14 September 2019 - Personal adornment in the Prehistory of the Northern Danube territory: aesthetic or socio-cultural symbol?

History of personal adornments overlaps the history of Homo sapiens, with first adornments produced and wore by the most ancient modern humans in Africa and elsewhere. Such artefacts are an inexhaustible source of reflection as they carry the means of uncovering the symbolic and religious behaviors of prehistoric groups; they may reflect certain social aspects of human communities; they highlight cultural borders and network trades throughout the history of humankind. When moving from the general to the particular, the study of personal adornments may also yield information regarding the technical skills and economic development specific to a certain community. The economic aspects concern the means of obtaining raw materials, while the technical issues relate to identification of processing marks and their integration to the general operational sequence. The deciphering of all the elements of an operational sequence – blanks, preforms, finished objects and waste – offers the key to the analytical decryption of the manufacturing methods and techniques, and to the tracing of possible cultural options at technological level.
Particularly meaningful are the ornaments discovered in funerary contexts, which may provide insights both on the life and the afterlife of individuals. Other than the mere correlations between such finds, and the sex and age of the defunct, usewear studies contribute to a further understanding of the purpose of the ornaments, revealing whether they were objects created exclusively for the afterlife or if they were as items used during everyday activities as well. Much can be inferred from the grave goods assemblages: one can speculate on the functions of the buried adornments – gifts, symbols of the social status and perhaps power, items offering protection during the afterlife, etc.
Bearing in mind this multitude of meanings and research directions, we would like to invite you to contribute with a presentation in our colloquium, addressing any of the following topics: 1. characterization of past societies (e.g. cultural tradition, social and spiritual organization, exchange systems, etc.) through the study of personal ornaments found in both funerary and settlement contexts; 2. Sourcing, characterization and acquisition of raw materials; 3. Experimental approaches; 4. New methodologies regarding technology and usewear studies (microscopy, SEM+EDS , FTIR and RAMAN spectroscopy, etc.).


Thursday (12 September)
Session I – Regional and site-related approaches to adornments

Chair: Alexandra Anders

09:20 – 09:40 Emanuela Cristiani, Barbara Cvitkušić, Dario Vujević
Acquiring, producing and using material symbols in the Eastern Adriatic. Evidence from Vlakno Cave (Dugi otok, Croatia)

09:40 – 10:00 Adina Boroneanț, Monica Mărgărit, Clive Bonsall
A brief survey of Starčevo-Criș Early Neolithic adornments

10:00 – 10:20 Selena Vitezović, Dragana Antonović
Personal ornaments from osseous and lithic raw materials in the Vinča culture

10:20 – 10:40 Monica Mărgărit, Mădălina Dimache
Personal adornments discovered in Boian funerary contexts: the necropolis of Sultana-Valea Orbului (Călărași County)

10:40 – 10:50 Coffee Break

10:50 – 11:10 Raluca Kogălniceanu
Adornments during the Early Prehistory at the Lower Danube: fashionable shapes and colours

11:10 – 11:30 Catarina Guzzo
Bodily adornment in the indigenous Caribbean: new patterns in the production and circulation of ornaments

11:30 – 11:50 Lavinia Grumeza
Opulence beauty in Barbaricum: The ‘Sarmatian’ female fashion west of Roman Dacia

11:50 – 12:10 Roxana-Nicoleta Bugoi, Andrei Măgureanu
Chemical analyses on glass beads from the Migration Period

12:10 – 12:30 Discussions

Session II – Life in a shell: procurement, manufacture and distribution of shell adornments

Chair: Selena Vitezović

15:00 – 15:20 Catherine Perlès, Patrick Pion
The Cerastoderma bead production at Franchthi (Greece): a case of apprenticeship?

15:20 – 15:40 Florin Drașovean
Spondylus Gaederopus between commodities and prestigious objects. An analysis of the Spondylus finds from the Middle Danube.

15:40 – 16:00 Monica Mărgărit, Mihai Gligor, Valentin Radu, Alina Bințințan
On fragmentation, recycling and imitation in Prehistory: adornments made of marine valves at the Neolithic and Eneolithic settlement from Alba Iulia – Lumea Nouă (Romania)

16:00 – 16:10 Coffee break

16:10 – 16:30 Monica Mărgărit, Cristian Virag, Alexandra Diaconu
Are personal adornments just for women? The case of the Eneolithic necropolis from Urziceni (Vamă) (Satu Mare County)

16:30 – 16:50 Cătălin Lazăr, Monica Mărgărit, Valentin Radu
Between wealth, ritual, and daily life customs. The case of grave no. 92 in the cemetery of Sultana-Malu Roșu (Romania)

16:50 ¬– 17:10 Christian Schuster
Still, to whom had belonged the Spondylus adornments in the necropolis from Brăiliţa, Brăila County, Romania?

17:10 – 17:30 Discussions

Friday (13 September)

Session III – Bones of the beast: adornments from osseous materials

Chair: Patrick Pion

09:00 – 09:20 Alexandra Anders, Zsuzsanna Tóth
Red deer canine beads and their imitations as personal adornments from the 5th millennium BC at Polgár-Csőszhalom (NE Hungary)

09:20 – 09:40 Zsuzsanna Tóth
Personal ornaments made from hard animal materials from the Late Neolithic cemetery of Kisköre-Gát

09:40 – 10:00 Kinga Winnicka
Early Bronze Age personal adornments from SE Poland – project’s conclusions

10:00 – 10:20 Dragoș Măndescu
Beauty of the Beast. Animal skeletal parts as personal adornments at the Early Iron Age necropolis from Valea Stânii (Argeş County)

10:20-10:30 Coffee break

Session IV – All that glitters is not gold: prehistoric metal adornments

Chair: Adina Boroneanț

10:30 – 10:50 Gheorghe Lazarovici, Cornelia-Magda Lazarovici
A specialized Copper Age workshop for gold jewelry from the Copper Age

10:50 – 11:10 Stefan Alexandrov
Head and Body Gold/Silver Ornaments from the Bulgarian Bronze Age

11:10 – 11:30 Vlad-Ștefan Cărăbiși, Anca-Diana Popescu, Marta Petruneac, Marin Focşăneanu, Bogdan Constantinescu†, Daniela Stan, Florin Constantin
Early Iron Age fibulae from Balta Verde. Typology, chronology and manufacture

11:30 – 11:50 Ana Hamat
The afterlife of jewellery: re-use of jewellery from the Roman to the Modern period in the Banat region (southwestern Romania)

11:50 – 12:10 Irina Cîrstina, Mihai Năstase
Objets de parure trouvés dans des sites funéraires à Târgoviște

12:10 – 12:30 Discussions