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Scientific report 2019 - Personal adornment in the Prehistory of the Northern Danube territory: aesthetic or socio-cultural symbol?

First objective of the project was the accomplishment of the laboratory research through multidisciplinary analysis, with the purpose of obtaining a maximum of information regarding the analyzed subject. The main activity of this objective aimed to achieve a standard analyze chart, in which to insert the data of macro- and microscopic nature of each artifact. In the next stage of work, there was recorded the multidisciplinary data obtained in the archaeological research, from archaeological sites. In order to facilitate the access to the collections proposed for the study, collaborations were initiated with the “Vasile Pârvan” Archeology Institute of Romanian Academy, Gumelnița Civilization Museum from Oltenița, Museum of National History and Archeology from Constanța, Satu Mare County Museum and the University “1 Decembrie 1918” Alba Iulia. As we have assumed, through the project proposal, multidisciplinary analyzes were performed, such as SEM + EDS, FTIR and RAMAN spectroscopy. Such analyzes were performed on the pigments identified in the settlement of Cheia (Constanța county), in order to identify the nature/composition of the black and red pigments, present on a series of artifacts.
In parallel, we also aimed to implement the concept of experimental interdisciplinary archaeology (Act. 2.6. – Organization of interdisciplinary experimental activities), with the purpose of identifying the technological and functional aspects concerning the manufacturing and use of prehistoric personal adornments. This activity had the purpose to demonstrate the efficiency of experimental archaeology within the interpretative process and the understanding of the technological and traseological chain applied by the Prehistoric communities. The objective was put to practice by organizing an experimental workshop in the project’s host institution. The experimental protocol that we designed and put to practice included, as a first stage, the elaboration of a descriptive chart which to grasp all the stages of the operational chain, with the registering of the used raw materials, of the timed taken by each type of operation, of the tools we worked with, and the results obtained for each operation (macro-technological traces). The experimental program was modeled both according to the aimed objectives – the types of prehistoric personal adornments (adornments made from Unio sp. și Cardium sp. valves, beads made from Lithoglyphus sp., Theodoxus sp. și Tritia sp.shells) that we desired to replicate, and the raw materials we had access to. All the stages of the operational chain were also photo registered and later on, in the host-institution – Valahia University of Târgoviște, all the technological macro and micro-traces were studied and photographed at the microscope, thus creating a photo database, at which we added the reference collection, which starts to take shape and which will be extremely useful for the comparative studies with archaeological artifacts.
The organization of an international meeting, on the theme of the project, in order to establish the current state of research, but also to trace the future directions of research and to bring at the same level the methodology of analysis used in Romania, with the European one, was a major objective of the project. Thus, on September 12-14, 2019, the international colloquium was held: Beauty and the eye of the beholder: personal adornments across the millennia, hosted by the Valahia University of Târgoviște. The presentations covered 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.). There were 24 presentations, with the participation of specialists from 10 countries (United Kingdom, France, Italy, Croatia, Netherlands, Poland, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania).
The dissemination of the research, by Valorizing and disseminating the results obtained in the project, at the end of this stage – represented the last objective of the IInd year (2019) and we proposed to use, within the national and international scientific community, the results obtained. This objective included several activities. The first one (Act. 2.9), referred to the elaboration of at least 3 papers. There were already published or are in the process of reviewing the following articles:
Personal adornments in the Romanian Eneolithic: Local versus exotic raw materials (Author: Monica Mărgărit), Quaternary International (ISI indexed journal), accepted. 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. Also identified 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.
Personal adornments from the Eneolithic necropolis of Chirnogi-Șuvița Iorgulescu (Romania): a picture of prehistoric communities symbolism (Authors: Monica Mărgărit, Mădălina Dimache), Documenta Praehistorica 46 (BDI indexed journal), accepted. The Necropolis of Chirnogi – Şuviţa Iorgulescu (Călărași county) was located on the high terrace of the Danube and was investigated by Done Șerbănescu (in 1989) by means of the archaeological excavations carried out for the construction of the Danube-Bucharest Channel. For this study, we analyzed the archaeological assemblage preserved in the Museum of Gumelnița Civilization from Oltenita (Călărași county) coming from 10 graves, out of a total of 58, which are attributed to the Gumelnița culture (the second half of the 5th millennium BC). The personal adornments are mainly bracelets made of Spondylus valve (16 specimens) which appear in most of the graves, along with an equal number of perforated plates made of Sus scrofa canine, this time the pieces being grouped into two graves. The funeral inventory is complemented by small cylindrical, tubular or biconvex beads, made of various raw materials: Spondylus valve, bone, malachite, cooper and green slate. At the technical level, the attention is drawn towards the technological transformation scheme of raw material, extremely uniform for the two main categories of ornaments. Also, the analyzed pieces showed different degrees of use-wear demonstrating on the one hand that they were worn before the deposition in graves, and on the other hand, that the accumulation of these items took place over the time.
Hard animal materials industry in the Gumelnița tell-settlement of Pietrele – re-evaluation of the old archaeological collections (Authors: Monica Mărgărit, Meda Toderaș), Materiale și Cercetări Arheologice XV (SN) 2019 (BDI indexed journal), p. 61-80. The tell-settlement of Pietrele is a landmark for the understanding of the Gumelnița communities north of the Danube. Archaeological research began in 1943 under the direction of D. Berciu who subsequently published a synthesis report of the main finds but it was just a quantitative enumeration of items without a description of the technological and use-wear marks on the hard animal material artefacts. Consequently, we tried to identify the number of such archaeological items from the old excavations which are still present in the collection of the “Vasile Pârvan” Institute of Archaeology and then to present a different type of analysis drawing conclusions related to the economic and spiritual characteristics of the Gumelnița community at Pietrele. Firstly, we aimed to identify the raw materials from which the pieces were made. Secondly, typological categories were established. For each of these categories, the operational scheme was reconstituted and then the possible use-wear marks were identified, pointing towards the way the artefacts were used.
– A set of red deer canine imitations from the Iron Age necropolis at Valea Stânii (Argeş County, Romania) (Authors: Dragoș Măndescu, Mihai Constantinescu, Monica Mărgărit), Acta Archaeologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 70(2) (BDI indexed journal), accepted. The adornments of deer canines have been known since Upper Paleolithic as symbolic markers of the status of the possessor. A recent discovery made in the Iron Age cremation necropolis of Valea Stânii (Romania) probably provided the latest prehistoric set of personal adornments of this type. This was part of the grave goods of the burial in the barrow 4, a double grave (an adult woman and a subadult individual of unidentified sex). Among the cremated bones of the subadult were found 16 personal adornments in deer antler imitating deer canines. Most likely, the adornments were sewn on the funeral clothes. These imitations of deer canines prove the transmission of certain traditions, mazbe related to prestige and representation, over a few millennia until the end of the Iron Age in Eastern Europe.
Discoidal beads: Novel elements of the Starcevo Early Neolithic package (Autori: Adina Boroneanț, Monica Mărgărit, Clive Bonsall). In: V. Sîrbu, A. Comșa, D. Hortopan (eds ), Digging in the past of Old Europe, Studies in honour of Cristian Schuster at his 60th anniversary. Editura Istros a Muzeului Brăilei “Carol I”, Tg. Jiu – Brăila, 2019, p. 51-72. Disc beads spread with the first farming communities in Europe but they seem to be quite rare in the archaeological record (perhaps related to excavation techniques) and details of their contexts have rarely been published. The present paper reviews the known finds from Romania and integrates them within the broader context of the Starčevo culture in particular, and the Early Neolithic in general. Various types of raw material were used for manufacturing such beads: shell, bone, stone and ceramic. Seven Early Neolithic sites in Romania attributed to the Starčevo culture have yielded such beads: Alibeg, Cuina Turcului and Schela Cladovei in the Iron Gates, Măgura-Buduiasca in southern Romania, and Gura Baciului, Cristian and Tărtăria-Pietroșița in Transylvania. Similar finds occurred in Serbia (five sites: Drenovac, Madureč, Blagotin, Divostin, Donja Branjevina) and Hungary (four sites: Ecsegfalva 23, Szentgyőrgyvőlgy-Pityerdomb, Furta-Csátó). Most likely this does not reflect the true archaeological situation but merely the state of publication. Given the small number of finds it is impossible to assess the significance of disc beads within a community, or whether they were linked to a particular social, age or gender group. Their use seems to have been connected with the everyday life of Early Neolithic communities in the Balkan and Carpathian regions, but also to funerary practices in Central Europe. Questions still remain regarding the function of some of the larger examples of this type, which have sometimes been regarded as spindle whorls or perforated tablets. Our view is that functional and use-wear analysis should have the last word in determining the role played by an artefact within a specific cultural context.
Within the same objective, Activity 2.10 is also included, regarding the publication of a synthesis work, dedicated to the ornaments from the North-Danube area, bearing the title: Personal adornments in the Prehistory of the North Danube area: from aesthetic to socio-cultural symbol (Author: Monica Mărgărit). 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.

The dissemination of the results of the project was also achieved by participating at national and international scientific meetings:
– At the Session of the “Vasile Pârvan” Institute of Archeology of Romanian Academy – „Metodă, teorie şi practică în arheologia contemporană” (27-29 March 2019) was communicated a presentation about: Personal adornments from the Eneolithic necropolis of Chirnogi-Șuvița Iorgulescu (Romania): a picture of prehistoric communities symbolism (Authors: Monica Mărgărit, Mădălina Dimache). This communication was the basis of the article sent for publication at the Documenta Praehistorica journal.
– At the international meeting: 9th International Conference of the Chemical Societies of the South-East European Countries, held at the “Valahia” University in Târgoviște, on 8-11 May, the project team was presented with: Analytical techniques applied in the study of ancient pigments (Authors: Ioana Daniela Dulamă, Cristiana Rădulescu, Ioan Alin Bucurica, Sofia Teodorescu, Raluca Maria Știrbescu, Monica Mărgărit, Valentin Radu, Valentina Voinea). In this paper was studied 8 bivalve shells (with pigments traces) collected from Cheia archaeological site (Eneolitihic site, dated probably to the 5th millennium BC, Romania). The present study aims to investigate the morphology and chemical content of samples (shells and pigments). All samples were investigated by Scanning Electron Microscopy coupled with Energy Dispersive Spectrometry (SEM-EDS), Attenuated Total Reflectance – Fourier Transform Infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy. The chemical composition of investigated pigments was compared with the shell composition and with other data reported in scientific literature.
– The international meeting: Les sociétés préhistoriques dans l’espace carpato-danubien: environnements, systèmes techniques, interactions, 25-27 June 2019, București, occasioned the presentation of a communication related to: Acquisition et transformation de la valve d’Unio en parures dans la culture de Gumelnița (V-ème millénaire BC) (Authors: Monica Mărgărit, Valentin Radu). Freshwater molluscs of the Unio genus have been exploited by the human communities of the Gumelniţa culture primarily for food and secondarily for making ornaments of their valves. Our study analyzes circular beads – the most important typological category in which valves have been transformed. These ornaments, which are in different stages of technological transformation and use (from blanks to worn finished pieces) and which come from different stratigraphic contexts (waste area, houses) show us that they were made in the site and then carried by members of the community. There are also “stocks” of finished circular beads withour use-wear marks that attest to the good management of this product, allowing the replacement of damaged or misplaced items. The selection of the Unio valve was not accidental. It is easy to harvest from culinary waste and at the same time has a hard and resistant structure and allows long-term use. In order to identify the costs invested in the manufacture of these circular beads, we have developed an experimental program in which the main parameters were recorded: acquisition of the raw material, tools used, time required for each technological step. The beads were then gathered into a bracelet and worn to identify the pattern of wear evolution. The comparison between the experimental pieces and the archaeological ones allowed us to verify the hypotheses concerning the use of these ornaments.
During the colloquium Beauty and the eye of the beholder: personal adornments across the millennia, Târgoviște, 12-14 September 2019, four communications were presented by members of the project team:
Personal adornments discovered in Boian funerary contexts: the necropolis of Sultana-Valea Orbului (Călărași County) (Authors: Monica Mărgărit, Mădălina Dimache). Necropolis of Sultana-Valea Orbului (Călărași county) was investigated by Done Șerbănescu (starting with 1974). It have been discovered over 250 inhumation graves which were attributed to Boian culture, Vidra phase (c. 5000-4500 BC). For this study, we analyzed the archaeological assemblage preserved in the Museum of Gumelnița Civilization from Oltenita (Călărași county) coming from 8 graves. The personal adornments are mainly processed by Spondylus valve. The bracelets were made by an extremely unitary technological transformation scheme of raw material. On the external side, the median area of the valve was removed. The valve was also abrased on the internal side in order to remove the cardinal plateau. From a valve, a belt element was processed by the abrasion of the surface. A similar piece was made of clay. The most numerous beads of Spondylus valve have a bilobed/trilobed morphology with triangular section, convex extremities and convex-concave sides. The pieces are endowed with two/three perforations. The inventory is complemented by tubular beads and cylindrical beads. Ringlike elements were processed from the bone, involving a very complex technological transformation scheme. Small cylindrical beads with a central perforation were made of malachite and green slate. Analyzed pieces showed different degrees of use-wear demonstrating that they were worn before the deposition in graves. The discoveries from the Sultana-Valea Orbului necropolis were compared with other Boian findings to determine if there is a typology of the funeral inventory specific to this culture.
On fragmentation, recycling and imitation in Prehistory: adornments made of marine valves at the Neolithic and Eneolithic settlement from Alba Iulia – Lumea Nouă (Romania) (Authors: Monica Mărgărit, Mihai Gligor, Valentin Radu, Alina Bințințan). The manner in which during the Neolithic and Eneolithic the marine valves have circulated and processed in various forms, throughout the European continent, is a pretext for numerous discussions among specialists. The later have tried to identify their original areas, the circulation routs and the circulation forms (raw material vs. finished item), of some centers that are specialized in processing these valves, of the items’ symbolic meaning for the communities that acquired them etc. With these considerations in mind, our study will attempt to reconstruct the “history” of the adornments made of marine valves, which have been discovered in the Neolithic and Eneolithic site of Alba Iulia-Lumea Nouă (Romania). We will combine the technological study, aiming the identification of all operations involved in manufacturing and recycling pieces, with a series of considerations regarding the items’ social value. We will see if all along the two chronological stages which are specific of this site (the Vinča B cultural level and the Foeni cultural level) there are some mutations in selecting the raw materials and in the technological transformation schemes. The use of different analyzing scales is the only possibility of reconstructing the entire pattern followed by an object, from the place where the raw material was gathered, to processing place and the abandon.
Are personal adornments just for women? The case of the Eneolithic necropolis from Urziceni (Vamă) (Satu Mare County) (Authors: Monica Mărgărit, Cristian Virag, Alexandra Diaconu). The Eneolithic necropolis from Urziceni is located in the free zone of the Romanian-Hungarian border at Urziceni – Vállaj, on a small terrace in the marshy valley of the Negru Brook. The necropolis is dated between 4300-4000 BC. For this cultural horizon the inhumation is practiced, the deceased being placed in a crouched position, oriented E-W, lying on the left or right side, with the head facing towards W or E. A general-valid observation (but there are exceptions) is that the position of the deceased on one side or the other is determined by the sex of the deceased, respectively women are seated on the left and men on the right side. Differences between sexes continue with the funeral inventory. Women are accompanied by vessels and impressive quantities of personal adornments. Men’s graves contain pieces related to specific activities: stone and copper tools, antler and bone projectile points, tooth scrapers etc. Our study focuses on ornamental objects discovered in 22 graves. We have tried to reconstitute both the technological transformation schemes of the raw materials and if the items preserve use-wear marks demonstrating that they were worn before depositing in necropolis. By far the most numerous are the ornaments made of Spondylus, some of graves containing hundreds of beads. What is interesting, however, is the fact that a single typological category has been used: small cylindrical beads. Other types of ornaments – copper spirals, Glycymeris valve, belt element (?) or hairpin – appear only in one tomb. For the beads made from Spondylus we could talk about a particular uniformity at both technological so it’s a serial production of small items. Being exclusively pieces from the funeral inventory, they reached the finishing stage of their processing. In the case of the Spondylus valve, we can assume this is an import. The variables which can be invoked are those of a direct import of raw material or of the already finished pieces and, at the same time, of a direct exchange or from group to group.
Between wealth, ritual, and daily life customs. The case of grave no. 92 in the cemetery of Sultana-Malu Roșu (Romania) (Authors: Cătălin Lazăr, Monica Mărgărit, Valentin Radu). Currently, Sultana-Malu Rosu cemetery is one of the best known Eneolithic funerary areas in the Balkans, due to the interdisciplinary research conducted here in recent years. It is a typical extra-muros cemetery with 99 inhumation graves discovered until now. Between them, grave no 92 represent a particular case due to its funerary inventory that includes over 3200 pieces. The most numerous are the perforated shells of the small gastropod of Lithoglyphus species (c. 2000 items). The following are the beads made from the Spondylus valve and which have been processed in various shapes: cylindrical, tubular, biconvex, fusiform (about 1000 pieces). Within these discoveries, spectacular is a Spondylus valve processed to be transformed into a belt element. Several beads (cylindrical and tubular) were made from bone and they, in our opinion, imitate those in Spondylus valve. There are also cylindrical beads made of lithic materials (about 30 pieces) (malachite, ocher etc.). The microscope study showed that these ornaments were worn before being deposited in the grave because they preserve specific use-wear marks. Moreover, the fact that the pieces, coming from the same context, shows varying degrees of use-wear, illustrates that the broken or lost items were replaced and thus, they were accumulated at different time intervals. The current paper will explore the position of this special grave in the general context of this cemetery, analyzing both the archaeological and anthropological data along with the 14C data and the use-wear analyzes performed on the recovered beads in order to identify some social, ritual or economic meanings of this kind of deposition.
– At the Pontica International Scientific Session, 52nd edition: Istorie şi arheologie în spaţiul vest-pontic, 2 – 4 October 2019, Constanța, the project team contributed the following presentation: On imitations. The case of the Hamangia cemetery at Cernavodă – Columbia D (Authors: Raluca Kogălniceanu, Monica Mărgărit). The presentation addressed the subject of imitations using as a support of the argument the findings of the Late Neolithic cemetery in Cernavoda – Columbia D, belonging to the Hamangia culture. Starting from this concrete case, several situations have been identified in which the problem of imitations can be posed. The category of artifacts that comes with the most examples is that of personal adornments. Within this category, the imitation was reflected by copying a form using, however, another raw material than the usual one. Another category of artefacts that raises the problem of imitation is that of the so-called “axe imitations”, deposited in the tombs, in the context of a remarkable abundance of axes, adzes and chisels within the cemetery. Finally, a third type of imitation would be the one illustrated by the miniature vessels that copy the shapes of larger vessels. These types of imitations will be discussed and attempts will be made to identify the motives or purposes that were behind them.
– Scientific meeting Cultură şi civilizaţie la Dunărea de Jos, XVII edition, Muzeul Dunării de Jos Călărași, 30 october – 1 november, 2019, gave the opportunity to support the communication with the title: Types of ornaments discovered in Boian burial contexts (first half of the 5th millennium B.C.) (Authors: Monica Mărgărit, Mădălina Dimache). In this study, we presented several types of ornaments discovered in the necropolis of Sultana-Valea Orbului, Andolina, Grădiștea Ulmilor-Boian A and Valea Mare, which were attributed to the Boian culture (first half of the 5th millennium B.C.). The personal adornments are mainly processed by Spondylus valve. The bracelets were made by an extremely unitary technological transformation scheme of raw material. From a valve, a belt element was processed by the abrasion of the surface. The most numerous beads of Spondylus valve have a bilobed/trilobed morphology with triangular section, convex extremities and convex-concave sides. The pieces are endowed with two/three perforations. The inventory is complemented by tubular beads and cylindrical beads. Ringlike elements were processed from the bone, involving a very complex technological transformation scheme. Small cylindrical beads with a central perforation were made of malachite and green slate. Analyzed pieces showed different degrees of use-wear demonstrating that they were worn before the deposition in graves
– Finally, at the 1st Conference on the Early Neolithic of Europe, 6-8 November 2019, Barcelona, was presented the study: Adornments in the Mesolithic and Neolithic of Romania: constants and changes (Authors: Monica Mărgărit, Adina Boroneanț, Clive Bonsall). Personal adornments are one of the few modalities that allows access to the social and spiritual organisation of prehistoric communities. Moreover, the manufacture of ornaments can be related to complex territorial and economic organization, helping to identify in some cases crafts and specialized workshops, as well as circulation paths of raw materials and their systems of inter-community exchange. Mesolithic communities in the Iron Gates (Romania) used local aquatic resources (shells of freshwater gastropod molluscs, Lithoglyphus sp. and Theodoxus sp.), but also marine gastropod (Tritia sp.) and scaphopod shells. Mammalian teeth, especially red deer (Cervus elaphus) canines, were perforated. Another characteristic element was the use of the pharyngeal teeth of cyprinidae, sewn onto clothes. During the Early Neolithic, the freshwater shells used were those of the Lithoglyphus sp., Ansius sp., Theodoxus sp. or Esperiana sp. gastropods, and Unio bivalves. And for the first time in this region of Southeast Europe, personal adornments were made from shells of the exotic marine bivalve molluscs, Spondylus, Glycymeris and Cardium sp. Mammal teeth continued to appear sporadically, until the end of the Neolithic. In this presentation we examine in detail the changes that occurred during the Neolithic transition in Romania, with the abandonment of some types of ornaments and their associated technologies and their replacement by new forms and techniques and consider the cultural and other factors behind those changes.

Moreover, starting with 1 November 2019, begun the process of gathering the papers for publishing, during the year 2020, of a volume subsumed to the project theme. Along with the 24 papers presented at the international reunion organized during the project (Beauty and the eye of the beholder: personal adornments across the millennia, Târgoviște, 12-14 September 2019), we send invitations to other specialists also, from the country and abroad, whose scientific preoccupations are connected to to the study of ornaments, used by human communities over time.