Ornaments of the earliest Upper Paleolithic: New insights from the Levant
Two sites located on the northern Levantine coast, Üçağızlı Cave (Turkey) and Ksar 'Akil (Lebanon) have yielded numerous marine shell beads in association with early Upper Paleolithic stone tools. Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dates indicate ages between 39,000 and 41,000 radiocarbon years (roughly 41,000-43,000 calendar years) for the oldest ornament-bearing levels in Üçağızlı Cave. Based on stratigraphic evidence, the earliest shell beads from Ksar 'Akil may be even older. These artifacts provide some of the earliest evidence for traditions of personal ornament manufacture by Upper Paleolithic humans in western Asia, comparable in age to similar objects from Eastern Europe and Africa. The new data show that the initial appearance of Upper Paleolithic ornament technologies was essentially simultaneous on three continents. The early appearance and proliferation of ornament technologies appears to have been contingent on variable demographic or social conditions.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science
- Pub Date:
- June 2001