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Jewelry Dating to Indonesian Ice Age Suggests a Flourishing Artistic Culture

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Researchers found a 26,000-year-old pendant and other items.

Newly discovered pendants and beads fashioned from the bones of “pig-deer” and monkey-like marsupials suggest that the Ice Age inhabitants of Indonesia had a flourishing artistic culture.INSTORE iceage1

A team of archaeologists from Australia and Indonesia discovered the artifacts at Leang Bulu Bettue, a cave and rock shelter on Sulawesi, the largest island in Wallacea.

One of the more fascinating items in the cache is a pendant made from the finger bone of a marsupial known as a bear cuscus. Believed to be 26,000 years old, the drilled and perforated bone was designed to hang from a string. Wear marks seem to indicate that the ornament repeatedly rubbed against skin or clothing.INSTORE iceage2

Other jewelry items found in the cave included a batch of disc-shaped beads made from the teeth of a babirusas, a boar-like animal also known as a “pig-deer.” Interestingly, the land mammals of Sulawesi occur nowhere else on earth, a phenomenon called “endemism.”

Archaeologists previously believed that the Ice Age hunter-gatherers living amidst this stretch of islands between Southeast Asia and Australia were less sophisticated than their European counterparts. However, mounting evidence is forcing them to modify their thinking.

Found on the Leang Bulu Bettue site, for example, were mineral pigments, such as red- and mulberry-colored ochre, as well as a hollow bone that could have been used as a primitive airbrush. These items help paint a picture of a culture that was sensitive to art, beauty and personal adornments.

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The scientists from Griffith University’s Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution (ARCHE), along with an Indonesian team, detailed their findings Tuesday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“We uncovered abundant evidence for a variety of symbolic behavior, suggesting a flourishing artistic culture existed on Sulawesi during the tail end of the last Ice Age,” study lead author Adam Brumm told Live Science.

Credits: Photo and illustration by Griffith University.


HOWARD COHEN is the Shoreham, NY-based editor of The Jeweler Blog, a daily blog ghost-written for retail jewelers. Cohen, a long-time industry veteran, is dedicated to making social media tasks simple and affordable for every jeweler. For more information, visit thejewelerblog.com or contact Cohen at 631-821- 8867, [email protected]. Websites: thejewelerblog.com, thejewelerblog.wordpress.com.

This article is an online extra for INSTORE.

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The store was a landmark in Topeka, Kansas, but after 80 years in business, it was time for Briman’s Leading Jewelers to close up shop. Third generation jeweler and owner Rob Briman says the decision wasn’t easy, but the sale that followed was — all thanks to Wilkerson. Briman had decided a year prior to the summer 2020 sale that he wanted to retire. With a pandemic in full force, he had plenty of questions and concerns. “We had no real way to know if we were going to be successful or have a failure on our hands,” says Briman. “We didn’t know what to expect.” But with Wilkerson in charge, the experience was “fantastic” and now there’s plenty of time for relaxing and enjoying a more secure retirement. “I would recommend Wilkerson to any retailer considering a going-out-of-business sale,” says Briman. “They’ll help you reach your financial goal. Our experience was a tremendous success.”

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Jewelry Dating to Indonesian Ice Age Suggests a Flourishing Artistic Culture

mm

Published

on

Researchers found a 26,000-year-old pendant and other items.

Newly discovered pendants and beads fashioned from the bones of “pig-deer” and monkey-like marsupials suggest that the Ice Age inhabitants of Indonesia had a flourishing artistic culture.INSTORE iceage1

A team of archaeologists from Australia and Indonesia discovered the artifacts at Leang Bulu Bettue, a cave and rock shelter on Sulawesi, the largest island in Wallacea.

One of the more fascinating items in the cache is a pendant made from the finger bone of a marsupial known as a bear cuscus. Believed to be 26,000 years old, the drilled and perforated bone was designed to hang from a string. Wear marks seem to indicate that the ornament repeatedly rubbed against skin or clothing.INSTORE iceage2

Other jewelry items found in the cave included a batch of disc-shaped beads made from the teeth of a babirusas, a boar-like animal also known as a “pig-deer.” Interestingly, the land mammals of Sulawesi occur nowhere else on earth, a phenomenon called “endemism.”

Archaeologists previously believed that the Ice Age hunter-gatherers living amidst this stretch of islands between Southeast Asia and Australia were less sophisticated than their European counterparts. However, mounting evidence is forcing them to modify their thinking.

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Found on the Leang Bulu Bettue site, for example, were mineral pigments, such as red- and mulberry-colored ochre, as well as a hollow bone that could have been used as a primitive airbrush. These items help paint a picture of a culture that was sensitive to art, beauty and personal adornments.

The scientists from Griffith University’s Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution (ARCHE), along with an Indonesian team, detailed their findings Tuesday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“We uncovered abundant evidence for a variety of symbolic behavior, suggesting a flourishing artistic culture existed on Sulawesi during the tail end of the last Ice Age,” study lead author Adam Brumm told Live Science.

Credits: Photo and illustration by Griffith University.


HOWARD COHEN is the Shoreham, NY-based editor of The Jeweler Blog, a daily blog ghost-written for retail jewelers. Cohen, a long-time industry veteran, is dedicated to making social media tasks simple and affordable for every jeweler. For more information, visit thejewelerblog.com or contact Cohen at 631-821- 8867, [email protected]. Websites: thejewelerblog.com, thejewelerblog.wordpress.com.

Advertisement

This article is an online extra for INSTORE.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SPONSORED VIDEO

Wilkerson Testimonials

Retirement Made Easy with Wilkerson

The store was a landmark in Topeka, Kansas, but after 80 years in business, it was time for Briman’s Leading Jewelers to close up shop. Third generation jeweler and owner Rob Briman says the decision wasn’t easy, but the sale that followed was — all thanks to Wilkerson. Briman had decided a year prior to the summer 2020 sale that he wanted to retire. With a pandemic in full force, he had plenty of questions and concerns. “We had no real way to know if we were going to be successful or have a failure on our hands,” says Briman. “We didn’t know what to expect.” But with Wilkerson in charge, the experience was “fantastic” and now there’s plenty of time for relaxing and enjoying a more secure retirement. “I would recommend Wilkerson to any retailer considering a going-out-of-business sale,” says Briman. “They’ll help you reach your financial goal. Our experience was a tremendous success.”

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