Ornaments and Other Ambiguous Artifacts from Franchthi

Ornaments and Other Ambiguous Artifacts from Franchthi

Volume 1, The Palaeolithic and the Mesolithic
Catherine Perlès
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 04/11/2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-03184-6
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The famous Franchthi Cave excavations in Greece brought to light an exceptionally long sequence of ornaments, spanning from the earliest Upper Palaeolithic to the end of the Neolithic. This volume focuses on the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic ornaments and ornamental species, which constitute one of the largest collections in Europe for these periods combined. Franchthi is one of the few identified production centers for ornaments, which are overwhelmingly dominated by marine molluscs. The detailed publication of these collections (Cyclope neritea, Antalis sp. and Columbella rustica) will be useful to all malacologists and specialists in ornaments working around the Mediterranean. These reference collections, coupled with the examination of manufacturing and wear traces on the archaeological specimens, allow a detailed reconstruction of the whole production cycle from procurement to discard. The systematic association of unworked, freshly worked and very worn shells suggests that the ornaments mostly served for the production or rejuvenation of embroidered garments. Despite the richness of the assemblages and varied local resources, the range of ornament types is surprisingly narrow and fundamentally stable through time. The ornaments from Franchthi Cave therefore paint a different portrait of the European Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic, one based on regional cultural continuity.

Author Bio

Catherine Perlès is Emeritus Professor at the University of Nanterre and holds an honorary degree from Indiana University. She is author of several books, including The Early Neolithic in Greece and three volumes on the chipped stones assemblages from Franchthi Cave.

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Table of Contents

1. Goals and Methods

Ornaments and Ornamental Species of the Paleolithic

2. Environmental Data: Past Shorelines and Potential Resources
3. The Exploitation of Cyclope neritea and Cyclope pellucida
4. A Problematic Ornament Type: Antalis sp., the Tusk Shell
5. Columbella rustica, Rare but Heavily Worn Dove Shell Beads
6. Rare Paleolithic Ornament Type
7. Diachronic Variations
8. Franchthi Paleolithic Ornaments: A Uniquely Restricted and Stable Range?

Ornaments and Ornamental Shells of the Mesolithic

9. Continuity in a Changing Environment
10. A Massively Predominant Species: Cyclope neritea
11. Abundant Mesolithic Columbella rustica
12. Mesolithic Antalis sp.: A Homogeneous Assemblage
13. Rare Mesolithic Ornament Types
14. Abundance and Restriction: An Overview of the Franchthi Mesolithic Ornament Assemblages


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