After a short introduction dedicated to the possible significations of the prehistoric personal adornments, the following sections were structured chronologically: the first part refers to the hunter-gatherer communities (the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic) north of the Danube, followed by the second chapter focused on the farmer-breeder communities inhabiting the same territory during the Neolithic and Eneolithic. North of the Danube, the first personal adornments appeared during the Upper Palaeolithic: various pendants of bone and stone, perforated teeth or perforated shells of gastropods. In the Early Holocene, the Mesolithic communities use both local aquatic resources (Lithoglyphus sp., Theodoxus sp., Zebrina sp.) and also marine gastropods (Tritia sp.) and scaphopod shells. Teeth, especially the Cervus elaphus canines were also perforated. Another element that is characteristic for this area of Europe is the use of the pharyngeal teeth of cyprinidae, sewn onto clothes. During the Neolithic, the most detailed data come from the Starčevo-Criș culture (c. 6000‒5700 BC). Shells used were those of Lithoglyphus sp., Ansius sp., Theodoxus sp. or Esperiana sp. gastropods, and of the Unio bivalves and the Antalis schaphopod. For the first time in the area was observed personal adornments made of Spondylus, Glycymeris and Cardium valves. Different rings or belt elements were processed from mammalian bones. During the Eneolithic period (c. 5000-3500 BC), Lithoglyphus naticoides shells and Unio sp. valves continued to be used. Also, beads made of Cyprinus carpio opercular bones were identified. Malachite, marble or other stones were used for cylindrical beads, along with various shapes of Spondylus adornments, bracelets of the Glycymeris valve or tubular beads of scaphopod shells. Sus scrofa canines were transformed into perforated plates. Still, the number of perforated teeth pendants is limited especially in the Gumelniţa tell-settlements. From mammalian bones were manufactured hairpins, cylindrical and tubular beads – imitating those of Spondylus valve – and perforated plates or triangular pendants.
These changes, with the abandonment of certain types of adornments and their re-emergence at other chronological stages under the impulse of a multitude of factors, were highlighted by the present author in a series of academic publications and they were the result of the work performed on assemblages originating from over 30 archaeological sites, ranging from the Palaeolithic to the Eneolithic. They were correlated with personal experimental studies and a methodology of study based on the most important scientific productions in the field. It was fortunate that part of the materials came from recent excavations and for those particular artefacts detailed archaeological contexts were provided, which allowed for the identification of a number of manufacturing workshops, as well as for the identification of composite items/necklaces or of some sub-products of the operational chain, abandoned in the refuse areas etc.
Finally, we discuss the combination and recombination of adornments and their social and economic impact within the prehistoric societies north of the Danube. Also, we highlight various aspects of the grave goods assemblage and their recycling/fixing/imitation during prehistory. It was mainly the exotic raw materials that were recycled, illustrating their rigorous management triggered by the difficulty of their acquisition and their special socio-economic or symbolic significance. The same exotic raw materials provide information on the networks of exchange existing throughout the Balkans and Central European area during the Neolithic and Eneolithic.