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Stone Age People’s Fascination With Elk Teeth Pendants Examined

Stone Age People’s Fascination With Elk Teeth Pendants Examined


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Seeking to unlock the secrets of a long-lost Stone Age society, a team of archaeologists recently performed an in-depth study of more than 4,000 elk teeth pendants currently housed at the Peter The Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography in St. Petersburg, Russia. These elk teeth pendants were recovered from 84 graves found on the island of Yuzhniy Oleniy Ostrov on Lake Onega in the Republic of Karelia in northwestern Russia, bordering Finland. The graves and their contents have been dated to approximately 6,200 BC, which means the people interred there lived during the late Mesolithic or mid- Stone Age era.

The full report on their findings has recently been published in Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences . The archaeologists, headed by Kristiina Mannermaa from the University of Helsinki, were interested in studying the specific manufacturing techniques involved in making the pendants. They also hoped to discover something about the people who made, wore, and collected them by studying their distribution patterns.

DNA Shows Elk Teeth Pendants Made By Inclusive Society

Ancient DNA has been collected from burial sites on Yuzhniy Oleniy Ostrov, raising the possibility that certain correlations might be detected between genetic identity and how the pendants were manufactured and allotted.

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The researchers found no evidence to connect the pendants to any type of genetic markers. Genetic studies have revealed multi-ethnic origins for the Yuzhniy Oleniy Ostrov (YOO) people, but the similarity in manufacturing techniques used to make the elk teeth pendants, and the physical characteristics of those pendants, indicate a cultural homogeneity that contrasts with the genetic variations.

In other words, the YOO hunter-gatherer culture seems to have been unified by their cultural practices more than by their genetics, suggesting they were an inclusive society that sought unity-in-diversity through a shared cultural heritage.

The oldest artifact ever found in Eurasia is an elk tooth pendant. It was discovered in the Altai region of Russia in an Denisovan cave. ( Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography )

The YOO People Used Elk Tooth Grooves Instead Of Holes

The manufacturing style used by the YOO people to make the elk teeth pendants was unique. Many ancient peoples of northern Europe and Asia venerated the elk and relied on this large herbivore for sustenance. And, like the YOO, they honored the importance of the elk in their societies by creating pendants from elk teeth, which could be worn and displayed on a daily basis or on special occasions.

But the samples of Stone Age elk teeth pendants found in other locations were made from elk teeth that had been perforated, so the sinew or fiber strings that would have supported them could be threaded directly through each tooth. In contrast, the YOO people carved circular grooves into the outside of the teeth near the root tips, meaning the pendant support strings would have been wound or tied around them.

“The grooves were not always made on the broadest side of the tooth, which would be the easiest option,” noted researcher Riitta Rainio in a press release issued by the University of Helsinki, which contributed to this new study. “In many graves, the grooves are on the thin side of the tooth where the unstable position of the tooth makes them harder to do. The artisan may have resorted to this method in order to tie them in a specific position.”

While the groove-carving approach was nearly universal, there were some small variations in manufacturing style found among these pendants. Pendants recovered from the same graves were mostly manufactured uniformly, but variations in style were detected when comparing pendants collected in one grave from those found in others.

In total, the archaeologists were able to identify 19 distinct manufacturing subtypes. However, just seven of those types accounted for approximately 85 percent of the teeth recovered.

Elk teeth, thousands of them, were used by the YOO people to make their unique elk teeth pendants. ( Alexandra / Adobe Stock)

A Stone Age Marketplace for Elk Teeth Pendants?

If there were in fact 19 manufacturers who made these thousands of elk teeth pendants, that raises a fascinating question: could these manufacturers have operated in some sense as vendors, or traders? Did they mass produce elk teeth pendants for some type of consumer marketplace? This would explain both the diversity of manufacturing styles found within the basic groove-carving template (vendors need to differentiate their products), and the fact that seven manufacturers were able to grab so much of the market share (free markets generally produce a few winners and many losers).

Needless to say, this system would have operated according to its own rules, which might have borne some resemblance to modern capitalist/free trade marketplaces but would have undoubtedly been distinct in many ways.

Individuals collecting elk teeth pendants may have acquired them through some type of free or fair trade. But they also may have been awarded those pendants in return for some service they performed for the greater community. In the latter case, the choice of manufacturer may have been determined by authority figures in the society rather than by the individuals who actually received the pendants.

Under this scenario, manufacturers may have been rewarded for their services with material goods, but they could also have benefited in some other non-material way. They may have gained higher status in the community, brought honor to their families, or been in line for special rewards in the afterlife according to YOO spiritual traditions.

Interestingly, the graves that contained the largest number of pendants were those of young adults (both men and women) in the prime of their lives. The graves of children and adolescents contained far fewer pendants, as did the graves of older adults in most instances.

The lack of pendants in the graves of older people suggests these individuals may have either given their pendants to younger people or family members or traded them away, perhaps on their own initiative or perhaps at the behest of society leaders. Young adults might have been entitled to possess more pendants, based on their active contributions to the health and welfare of the group as a whole. On the other hand, if the trades were voluntary older adults may have traded their pendants to acquire food and other supplies they were no longer capable of collecting on their own.

Stone Age petroglyphs found on Lake Onega, Republic of Karelia, Russia which were likely made by the ancestors of the elk teeth pendant makers. (Semenov.m7 / CC BY-SA 4.0 )

Where History Ends, Speculation Begins

Any attempt to ascertain the motives of long-extinct peoples who left no written records is fraught with difficulty. Inevitably, explanations for the artifacts they left behind will be based largely on speculation and conjecture.

Speculation or educated guessing aside, the reasons why the YOO people chose to manufacture and collect elk tooth pendants in large numbers may be entirely obscure and unimaginable to modern scientists, archaeologists, or historians.

This activity may have been connected to practical or spiritual concerns that would be far outside our range of understanding, even if we could somehow be transported back in time to see it for ourselves.


Teeth pendants speak of the elk's prominent status in the Stone Age

Roughly 8,200 years ago, the island of Yuzhniy Oleniy Ostrov in Lake Onega in the Republic of Karelia, Russia, housed a large burial ground where men, women and children of varying ages were buried. Many of the graves contain an abundance of objects and red ochre, signifying the wish to ensure the comfort of the buried also after death. Pendants made of elk incisors were apparently attached to clothing and accessories, such as dresses, coats, cloaks, headdresses and belts. Although no clothing material has been preserved, the location of the elk teeth sheds light on the possible type of these outfits.

A people of grooved elk tooth pendants

A study headed by archaeologist Kristiina Mannermaa, University of Helsinki, aimed to determine who the people buried in outfits decorated with elk tooth ornaments were, and what the pendants meant to them. The study analysed the manufacturing technique of a total of more than 4,000 tooth ornaments, or the way in which the teeth had been processed for attachment or suspension. The results were surprising, as practically all of the teeth had been processed identically by making one or more small grooves at the tip of the root, which made tying the pendants easier. Only in two instances had a small hole been made in the tooth for threading, both of which were found in the grave of the same woman. The tooth pendants found in graves located in the Baltic area and Scandinavia from the same period as the Yuzhniy Oleniy Ostrov graves are almost exclusively perforated. Perforation is the surest way of fastening the pendant, but making holes in the narrow tip of a tooth is more laborious than grooving.

Archaeological and ethnographic research has shown that humans have been using decorations almost always and everywhere in the world, for several different purposes. To many indigenous peoples in Eurasia, including the Sámi communities, decorations have been and still are an important way of describing a person's identity and origin. They are not only aesthetic details, but also connected to intercommunity communication and the strengthening of intracommunity uniformity. External elements such as ornaments can also influence the names which neighbouring groups use to refer to a community. In fact, Kristiina Mannermaa calls the people found in the burial site the people of grooved elk tooth pendants.

"Even though there are pendants made of beaver and bear teeth in the graves, the share of elk teeth in them is overwhelming," Mannermaa says.

Typically, only one or at the most a couple of different groove types were prevalent in individual graves. This indicates that the pendants found in a specific grave or cluster were the result of routine serial production of sorts carried out in a fairly short period of time. The most common groove types were firm as well as quick and easy to make.

"Interestingly, the grooves were not always made on the broadest side of the tooth, which would be the easiest option. In many graves, the grooves are on the thin side of the tooth where the unstable position of the tooth makes them harder to do. The artisan may have resorted to this method in order to tie them in a specific position," researcher Riitta Rainio notes.

The highest number of elk teeth were found in the graves of young adult women and men, the lowest in those of children and elderly people. In other words, elk tooth ornaments were in one way or another linked to age, possibly specifically to the peak reproductive years.

Elk was the most important animal in the ideology and beliefs of the prehistorical hunter-gatherers of the Eurasian forest zone, and their limited availability made elk teeth a valuable material to ancient hunters. Elks were not brought down very often, and not all members of the community contributed to hunting. It may be that a single individual was given all of the incisors of a caught elk. Elks have a total of eight incisors, six permanent ones in the lower jaw and two permanent canines in the shape of incisors. At times, corresponding deciduous teeth were also processed into ornaments. The largest ornaments required the teeth of at least 8 to 18 elks.

In addition to Mannermaa, Riitta Rainio from the University of Helsinki as well as Evgeniy Yurievich Girya and Dmitriy Gerasimov from Peter the Great's Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography contributed to the study.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.


Burial ground reveals Stone Age people wore clothing covered in elk teeth

Elk teeth pendants may have been the jewelry of choice for at least one Stone Age group that lived 8,200 years ago.

A Stone Age burial ground on a small Russian island revealed more than 4,300 Eurasian elk teeth pendants found in 84 separate burials. The placement of the pendants in these graves suggests they were attached to coats, dresses, cloaks, belts and headdresses — although the clothing itself has not survived the passage of time.

The island, only about 1.5 miles across, is called Yuzhniy Oleniy Ostrov, and it’s located in Lake Onega, found in Russia’s Republic of Karelia.

In addition to the elk teeth, there was also a significant dusting of red ocher in the graves, a natural clay pigment used for ornamentation and other purposes.

Ornaments and other goods recovered from ancient graves paint a picture of what different cultures were like, as well as what was important or sacred to them.

University of Helsinki archaeologist Kristiina Mannermaa and her colleagues studied the elk teeth, now housed at the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography in St. Petersburg, in an attempt to understand their significance and learn more about the people buried with the pendants.

The study published last month in the journal Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences.

While some of the pendants in the graves came from beaver or bear teeth, many were made from elk incisors.

“The share of elk teeth in them is overwhelming,” Mannermaa said.

Elks have eight incisors each. The largest ornamentation the researchers analyzed required teeth from eight to 18 elks. These large animals were sparse in the forest zone where these people lived and were not killed often.

The elk was the most important animal for Eurasian prehistoric hunter-gatherers, both in ideology and beliefs, according to the researchers.

The highest number of elk teeth were found in the graves of young women and men, which has suggested they could be associated with a person’s peak years reproductively. The lowest amount were found in the graves of children and the elderly.

The researchers analyzed how the pendants were made and found the process was identical: Small grooves were made at the tip of the tooth’s root so the pendants could be attached to items.

The groove patterns were usually the exact same in individual graves or clusters of graves, which means they were created quickly using a process easier than perforating the teeth with holes for attachment. The researchers also believe that the patterns reflect a tradition of grooving within this culture.

“Interestingly, the grooves were not always made on the broadest side of the tooth, which would be the easiest option. In many graves, the grooves are on the thin side of the tooth where the unstable position of the tooth makes them harder to do. The artisan may have resorted to this method in order to tie them in a specific position,” said Riitta Rainio, study coauthor and researcher at the University of Helsinki, in a statement.

While these groove patterns likely would not have been visible, they may have affected the positioning of the pendants or caused them to rattle in a way associated with cultural communications, the researchers said.

Eurasian indigenous cultures, including the current Sámi communities across Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia’s Kola Peninsula, have used decorations as symbols of someone’s origins and identity. These ornaments also strengthen communication and uniformity within their communities.

Pendants like these could also be used to identify a neighboring community, much like Mannermaa refers to this group as the people of grooved elk tooth pendants.

“Hunter-gatherers were very mobile, and the intensive network of waterways connecting Lake Onega across a huge geographical area in all directions offered easy routes for people to move, build contacts and mix genes with each other,” the authors wrote in the study.

“Based on our observations, we suggest that elk teeth were associated with the lived life of the buried people and that pendants were personal belongings of the deceased. Their importance was something more profound and meaningful than a mere symbol of wealth.”


A people of grooved elk tooth pendants

A study headed by archaeologist Kristiina Mannermaa, University of Helsinki, aimed to determine who the people buried in outfits decorated with elk tooth ornaments were, and what the pendants meant to them. The study analysed the manufacturing technique of a total of more than 4,000 tooth ornaments, or the way in which the teeth had been processed for attachment or suspension.

The results were surprising, as practically all of the teeth had been processed identically by making one or more small grooves at the tip of the root, which made tying the pendants easier. Only in two instances had a small hole been made in the tooth for threading, both of which were found in the grave of the same woman. The tooth pendants found in graves located in the Baltic area and Scandinavia from the same period as the Yuzhniy Oleniy Ostrov graves are almost exclusively perforated. Perforation is the surest way of fastening the pendant, but making holes in the narrow tip of a tooth is more laborious than grooving.

Archaeological and ethnographic research has shown that humans have been using decorations almost always and everywhere in the world, for several different purposes. To many indigenous peoples in Eurasia, including the Sámi communities, decorations have been and still are an important way of describing a person’s identity and origin. They are not only aesthetic details, but also connected to intercommunity communication and the strengthening of intracommunity uniformity. External elements such as ornaments can also influence the names which neighbouring groups use to refer to a community. In fact, Kristiina Mannermaa calls the people found in the burial site the people of grooved elk tooth pendants.

“Even though there are pendants made of beaver and bear teeth in the graves, the share of elk teeth in them is overwhelming,” Mannermaa says.

Typically, only one or at the most a couple of different groove types were prevalent in individual graves. This indicates that the pendants found in a specific grave or cluster were the result of routine serial production of sorts carried out in a fairly short period of time. The most common groove types were firm as well as quick and easy to make.

“Interestingly, the grooves were not always made on the broadest side of the tooth, which would be the easiest option. In many graves, the grooves are on the thin side of the tooth where the unstable position of the tooth makes them harder to do. The artisan may have resorted to this method in order to tie them in a specific position,” researcher Riitta Rainio notes.

The highest number of elk teeth were found in the graves of young adult women and men, the lowest in those of children and elderly people. In other words, elk tooth ornaments were in one way or another linked to age, possibly specifically to the peak reproductive years.

Elk was the most important animal in the ideology and beliefs of the prehistorical hunter-gatherers of the Eurasian forest zone, and their limited availability made elk teeth a valuable material to ancient hunters. Elks were not brought down very often, and not all members of the community contributed to hunting. It may be that a single individual was given all of the incisors of a caught elk. Elks have a total of eight incisors, six permanent ones in the lower jaw and two permanent canines in the shape of incisors. At times, corresponding deciduous teeth were also processed into ornaments. The largest ornaments required the teeth of at least 8 to 18 elks.

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Students Discover 11,000-Year-Old Remains Of Irish Elk

A group of history students have discovered the antler of an Irish Elk in cliffs near Kirk Michael on the Isle of Man.

Although the exact age of the antler has yet to be determined, the position of the remains indicates that the elk (Megaloceros giganteus) lived around 11,000 years ago. The giant deer roamed the open tundra landscape that was widespread in northern Europe at the end of the last Ice Age, as the glaciers retreated northwards.

The students who found the elk were taking part in a field trip examining the Manx landscape. Dr Peter Davey, Director of the Centre for Manx Studies and Reader in Archaeology at the University who was leading the group at the time, said: "It's absolutely amazing -- most of the time when I come out here with students to demonstrate the structure of the deposits in the cliffs, we only see sediments such as gravels, sands, muds and peats.

"I just scraped the surface of the fallen cliff section -- which was in a block that had recently slid down the cliff -- and uncovered an orange streak which turned out to be an antler."

As the block was in danger of imminent collapse, which would have crushed the antler, Dr Davey arranged for a team to remove it almost immediately. The antler is now being cleaned, examined and re-constructed by Dr Philippa Tomlinson from the Centre for Manx Studies who is a specialist in fossil and archaeological bone and plant remains.

Environmental historians believe the landscape of the Isle of Man remained suitable for the giant deer for several more hundred years than surrounding islands because of the possible slower rate of colonisation by forest after the Ice Age, before the elk finally became extinct.

The remains, which will now be scientifically dated, could add to growing evidence that giant deer were present on the island much later than palaeozoologists originally thought. The antler was found in a 'kettle hole' -- a hollow created when blocks of ice melt, now exposed in the eroding the cliff face. Its stratigraphic position, high up in the kettle hole, may provide a later date for the presence of giant deer on the island than previous studies.

The antler, dubbed 'Erica the Elk' by the students, will be presented to the Manx Museum.

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Materials provided by University of Liverpool. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Contents

Genetic studies suggest that the Pitted Ware peoples, unlike their Neolithic neighbors, were descended from earlier Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherers (SHGs). [c] At the time of the emergence of the Pitted Ware culture, these hunter-gatherers persisted to the north of the agricultural Funnelbeaker culture. [1] Their ceramic traditions are related to those of the Comb Ceramic culture. [2]

The Pitted Ware culture arose around 3,500 BC. Its earliest sites are found in east-central Sweden, where it appears to have replaced the Funnelbeaker culture. [1] Its subsequent expansion is accompanied by the disappearance of settlements of the Funnelbeaker culture throughout large parts of southern Scandinavia. It came to occupy the coasts of Denmark, southern Sweden, southern Norway and various islands of the Baltic Sea, such as Öland, Gotland, and Åland. There were lively contacts with hunter-gatherer communities of Finland and the eastern Baltic. During its initial years, the Pitted Ware culture co-existed with the Funnelbeaker culture. Although the two cultures exchanged goods with each other, its peoples appear to have had widely different identities, and they did not mix with each other to any notable extent. [2] During the period of Pitted Ware expansion, the Funnelbeakers constructed a number of defensive palisades, which may mean that the two peoples were in conflict with each other. [5] Throughout its existence of more than 1,000 years, the Pitted Ware culture remained virtually unchanged. [1]

From around 2,800 BC, [1] the Pitted Ware culture co-existed for some time with the Battle Axe culture and the Single Grave culture, which succeeded the Funnelbeaker culture in southern Scandinvia. Both were variants of the Corded Ware culture. Like the Funnelbeakers, the Corded Ware constructed a series of defensive palisades during this period, which may be a sign of violent conflict between them and the Pitted Ware. [5] Though cultural influences of the Battle Axe culture are detectable in Pitted Ware burials, its peoples do not appear to have mixed with each other. [6] By ca. 2,300 BC, the Pitted Ware culture had merged with the Battle Axe culture. The subsequent Nordic Bronze Age represents a fusion of elements from the Pitted Ware culture and the Battle Axe culture. [2]

Pitted Ware settlements were typically located along the coasts. They usually lived in huts. [1]

The economy of the Pitted Ware culture was based on fishing, hunting and gathering of plants. Pitted Ware sites contain bones from elk, deer, beaver, seal, porpoise, and pig. Pig bones found in large quantities on some Pitted Ware sites emanate from wild boar rather than domestic pigs. [7] The hunting of seal was particularly important. For this reason, the Pitted Ware people have been called "hard-core sealers" or the "Inuit of the Baltic". [1]

Seasonal migration was a feature of life, as with many other hunter-gatherer communities. Pitted Ware communities in Eastern Sweden probably spent most of the year at their main village on the coast, making seasonal forays inland to hunt for pigs and fur-bearing animals and to engage in exchange with farming communities in the interior. [8] This type of seasonal interaction may explain the unique Alvastra Pile Dwelling in south-western Östergötland, which belongs to the Pitted Ware culture as far as the pottery is concerned, but to the Funnelbeaker culture in tools and weapons.

The Pitted Ware peoples appear to have been specialized hunters who engaged in the trade of animal goods with peoples throughout the Baltic. [2]

The repertoire of Pitted Ware tools varied from region to region. In part this variety reflected regional sources of raw materials. However the use of fish-hooks, harpoons, and nets and sinkers was fairly widespread. Tanged arrow heads made from blades of flintstone are abundant on Scandinavia's west coast, and were probably used in the hunting of marine mammals. [2]

One notable feature of the Pitted Ware Culture is the sheer quantity of shards of pottery on its sites. The culture has been named after the typical ornamentation of its pottery: horizontal rows of pits pressed into the body of the pot before firing.

Though some vessels are flat-bottomed, others are round-based or pointed-based, which would facilitate stable positioning in the soil or on the hearth. In shape and decoration, this ceramic reflects influences from the Comb Ceramic culture (also known as Pit-Comb Ware) of Finland and other parts of north-eastern Europe, established in the sixth and fifth millennia BC. [9] [2]

Small animal figurines were modelled out of clay, as well as bone. These are also similar to the art of the Comb Ware culture. A large number of clay figurines have been found at Jettböle on the island of Jomala in Åland, including some which combine seal and human features. [9]

The Pitted Ware people buried their dead in cemeteries. Most excavated Pitted Ware burials are located at Gotland, where around 180 graves have been found at numerous sites with several layers. One such site is at Västerbjers. [2]

Pitted Ware people were typically buried in flat inhumation graves, although cremation does occur. [1] Unlike the Funnelbeakers, they did not have megalithic graves. Pitted Ware burials are also distinguished from Funnelbeaker burials through their use of red ochre. [1]

Grave goods include ceramics, boar tusks, pig jaws, pendants of fox, dog and seal teeth, harpoons, spears, fishhooks of bone, stone and flint axes, and other artifacts. The presence of slate artifacts and battle axes attest wide-ranging contacts between the Pitted Ware people and other cultures of Northern Europe and the Baltic. People of all ages and genders were buried in the same cemetery. There are no indications of difference in social status. [2] Their mortuary houses and secondary burials are nevertheless evidence of complex burial customs. [1]

The Pitted Ware people had an animistic cosmography similar to that of the people of the Comb Ceramic culture and other Mesolothic hunter-gatherers of the Baltic. [1]

Examination of the skeletons of Pitted Ware people have revealed that they were of a more robust build than contemporary neighboring populations. In particular, they were much better adapted to cold temperatures. [1]

Genetic studies of the Pitted Ware peoples has found them to have been strikingly genetically homogenous, suggesting that they originated from a small founder group. [1]

In a genetic study published in Current Biology in September 2009, mtDNA was extracted from seventeen Pitted Ware people from Gotland. Eight individuals belonged to U4 haplotypes, seven belonged to U5 haplotypes, one belonged to K1a1, one belonged to T2b, and one belonged to HV0. [10] [4] The results debunked previous theories suggesting that the Pitted Ware were related to the Sami people. [b] On the contrary, Pitted Ware people showed closer genetic kinship to modern Balts and Estonians. The examined Pitted Ware were genetically much closer to modern Scandinavians than to the Sami people. [11]

In a genetic study published in BMC Evolutionary Biology in March 2010, it was discovered that the Pitted Ware possessed a very low level (5%) of an allele (−13910*T) strongly associated with the ability to consume unprocessed milk. This frequency is dramatically different from modern Swedes (74%). Whether the increase of this allele among the Swedes was a result of admixture or natural selection was uncertain. [12]

In a genetic study published in Science in April 2012, an individual from the Pitted Ware culture was examined. The individual was found to have "a genetic profile that is not fully represented by any sampled contemporary population". [13]

In another genetic study published in Science in May 2014, the mtDNA of six individuals ascribed to the Pitted Ware culture was extracted. Four samples belonged to U4d, one belonged to U, and one belonged to V. [14]

A genetic study published in August 2014 found that Pitted Ware peoples were closely genetically similar to people of the Catacomb culture, who like the Pitted Ware people carried high frequencies of the maternal haplogroups U5 and U4. These lineages are associated with Western Hunter-Gatherers and Eastern Hunter-Gatherers. [15]

In a genetic study published in Nature in September 2014, members of the Pitted Ware culture were determined to largely belong to the Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherer (SHG) cluster. [16]

In a genetic study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B in January 2015, the mtDNA of thirteen PCW individuals from Öland and Gotland was extracted. The four individuals from Öland carried H1f, T2b, K1a1 and U4a1. Of the ten individuals from Gotland, four carried U4, two carried U5 haplotypes, two carried K1a1, and one carried HV0. The results indicated that the Pitted Ware culture was genetically distinct from the Funnelbeaker culture, and closely genetically related to earlier Mesolithic hunter-gatherers of Scandinavia and Western Europe. It was found that the Pitted Ware culture left a genetic imprint on Scandinavians, although this number is certainly not more than 60%. [4]

A genetic study published in Nature Communications in January 2018 indicated genetic continuity between SHGs and the Pitted Ware culture, and found that the Pitted Ware people were genetically distinct from the Funnelbeaker culture. [c]

A 2019 study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B the remains of a Pitted Ware male were analyzed. He was found to the carrying the maternal haplgroup U5b1d2, and probably a subclade of the paternal haplogroup I2. He was estimated to be 25–35 years old and 165–175 cm tall. It was found that the Pitted Ware people only slightly contributed to the gene pool of the Battle Axe culture, who were almost wholly of Western Steppe Herder descent. [17]

A genetic study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B in June 2020 examined the remains of 19 Pitted Ware individuals buried on the island of Gotland. The study included a number of individuals who had been buried in a way typical of the Battle Axe culture. [6] The 6 samples of Y-DNA extracted belonged to the paternal haplogroup I2a-L460 (2 samples), I2-M438 (2 samples), I2a1a-CTS595 and I2a1b1-L161. The 17 samples of mtDNA extracted belonged overwhelmingly to the maternal haplogroups U4 and U5. [18] The study found no evidence of Battle Axe admixture among the Pitted Ware. They were genetically very different from earlier Funnelbeaker inhabitants of Gotland, although they carried a tiny amount of EEF admixture. [19] The evidence suggested that while the Pitted Ware culture was culturally influenced by the Battle Axe culture, it was not genetically influenced by it. [6]


Stone Age raves to the beat of elk tooth rattles?

VIDEO: Hypothetical reconstruction of tooth ornaments found in the Late Mesolithic graves of Yuzhniy Oleniy Ostrov: 94 Eurasian elk teeth sewn on an apron hit and bounce off the substratum and. view more

Credit: Julia Shpinitskaya

"Ornaments composed of elk teeth suspended from or sown on to clothing emit a loud rattling noise when moving," says auditory archaeologist and Academy of Finland Research Fellow Riitta Rainio from the University of Helsinki. "Wearing such rattlers while dancing makes it easier to immerse yourself in the soundscape, eventually letting the sound and rhythm take control of your movements. It is as if the dancer is led in the dance by someone."

Rainio is well versed in the topic, as she danced, for research purposes, for six consecutive hours, wearing elk tooth ornaments produced according to the Stone Age model. Rainio and artist Juha Valkeapää held a performance to find out what kind of wear marks are formed in the teeth when they bang against each other and move in all directions. The sound of a tooth rattler can be clear and bright or loud and pounding, depending on the number and quality of the teeth, as well as the intensity of movement.

Microanalysis demonstrates that tooth wear marks are the result of dancing

The teeth worn out by dancing were analysed for any microscopic marks before and after the dancing. These marks were then compared to the findings made in the Yuzhniy Oleniy Ostrov graves by Evgeny Girya, an archaeologist specialised in micro-marks at the Russian Academy of Sciences. Girya documented and analysed the wear marks in the elk teeth found in four graves chosen for the experiment. Comparing the chips, hollows, cuts and smoothened surfaces of the teeth, he observed a clear resemblance between teeth worn out by dancing and the Stone Age teeth. However, the marks in the Stone Age teeth were deeper and more extensive. According to Girya, the results show that the marks are the result of similar activity.

"As the Stone Age teeth were worn for years or even decades, it's no surprise that their marks are so distinctive," Girya says.

Associate Professor of Archaeology Kristiina Mannermaa from the University of Helsinki is excited by the research findings.

"Elk tooth rattlers are fascinating, since they transport modern people to a soundscape that is thousands of years old and to its emotional rhythms that guide the body. You can close your eyes, listen to the sound of the rattlers and drift on the soundwaves to a lakeside campfire in the world of Stone Age hunter-gatherers."

A total of 177 graves of women, men and children have been found in the Yuzhniy Oleniy Ostrov burial site, of which more than half contain several elk tooth ornaments, some of them composed of as many as over 300 individual teeth.

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“Adult male from grave 76a in Yuzhniy Oleniy Ostrov drawn as if he were alive during a dance session: 140 elk teeth on the chest, waist, pelvis, and thighs rattle rhythmically and loudly.” (University of Helsinki)

I feel obligated for my North American readers to note that in Scandinavia “elk” means “moose” (Alces alces). [1] Like a Norwegian elkhound is a dog you take moose-hunting, just to locate the moose is all. I suppose the Finns use that word “elk” in English because Finland was ruled by Sweden for a time. [2] From the Middle Ages until 1809. More about the naming issue here. Meanwhile we use a borrowed Algonquian term.

Many elk/moose tooth ornaments have been found Stone Age graves (8,000 years before present) in Karelia, according to a news release from the University of Helsinki.

“Ornaments composed of elk teeth suspended from or sown on to clothing emit a loud rattling noise when moving,” says auditory archaeologist and Academy of Finland Research Fellow Riitta Rainio from the University of Helsinki. “Wearing such rattlers while dancing makes it easier to immerse yourself in the soundscape, eventually letting the sound and rhythm take control of your movements. It is as if the dancer is led in the dance by someone. . . . ”

Associate Professor of Archaeology Kristiina Mannermaa from the University of Helsinki is excited by the research findings.

“Elk tooth rattlers are fascinating, since they transport modern people to a soundscape that is thousands of years old and to its emotional rhythms that guide the body. You can close your eyes, listen to the sound of the rattlers and drift on the soundwaves to a lakeside campfire in the world of Stone Age hunter-gatherers.”

In case you are wondering if I have Finnish or Karelian ancestry, I do not that I know of. And there is complicated story of groups of people here — Neanderthals, perhaps, then Stone Age hunters, Neolithic farmers/herders, and then Indo-European-speaking Bronze Age people. But go back far enough and one might have some of each. So I use “ancestors” in the broadest sense.

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'Ornaments composed of elk teeth suspended from or sown on to clothing emit a loud rattling noise when moving,' say the team from the University of Helsinki

The teeth worn out by dancing were analysed for any microscopic marks before and after the dancing. These marks were then compared to the findings made in the Yuzhniy Oleniy Ostrov graves by the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Russian researcher Evgeny Girya documented and analysed the wear marks in the elk teeth found in four graves chosen for the experiment.

Comparing the chips, hollows, cuts and smoothed surfaces of the teeth, he observed a clear resemblance between teeth worn out by dancing and the Stone Age teeth discovered within the graves.

Wearing the rattlers while dancing made it easier for the Stone Age ravers to immerse themselves in the soundscape, letting the sound and rhythm 'take control', researchers said

The authors discovered the link between dancing by exploring wear marks on the teeth, then recreating an elk teeth suit, wearing it while dancing for six hours and comparing the marks on those teeth with the 8,000-year-old fossils

However, the marks in the Stone Age teeth were deeper and more extensive, suggesting they were the result of a similar activity.

'As the Stone Age teeth were worn for years or even decades, it's no surprise that their marks are so distinctive,' Girya said.

Kristiina Mannermaa a researcher from the University of Helsinki said these findings were very exciting and fill in information about Stone Age culture.

Study lead author Riitta Rainio is she spent six consecutive hours wearing elk tooth ornaments while dancing

She worked with artist Juha Valkeapää to recreate a Stone Age model that she could wear during her dance - held as a performance to find out what kind of wear marks are formed int he teeth when they bang against each other and move about

'Elk tooth rattlers are fascinating, since they transport modern people to a soundscape that is thousands of years old and to its emotional rhythms that guide the body,' the associate professor said.

'You can close your eyes, listen to the sound of the rattlers and drift on the soundwaves to a lakeside campfire in the world of Stone Age hunter-gatherers.'

A total of 177 graves of women, men and children have been found in the Yuzhniy Oleniy Ostrov burial site, of which more than half contain several elk tooth ornaments, some of them composed of as many as over 300 individual teeth.

The findings have been published in the Cambridge Archaeological Journal.

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE STONE AGE?

The Stone Age is a period in human prehistory distinguished by the original development of stone tools that covers more than 95 per cent of human technological prehistory.

It begins with the earliest known use of stone tools by hominins, ancient ancestors to humans, during the Old Stone Age - beginning around 3.3 million years ago.

Between roughly 400,000 and 200,000 years ago, the pace of innovation in stone technology began to accelerate very slightly, a period known as the Middle Stone Age.

By the beginning of this time, handaxes were made with exquisite craftsmanship. This eventually gave way to smaller, more diverse toolkits, with an emphasis on flake tools rather than larger core tools.

The Stone Age is a period in human prehistory distinguished by the original development of stone tools that covers more than 95 per cent of human technological prehistory. This image shows neolithic jadeitite axes from the Museum of Toulouse

These toolkits were established by at least 285,000 years in some parts of Africa, and by 250,000 to 200,000 years in Europe and parts of western Asia. These toolkits last until at least 50,000 to 28,000 years ago.

During the Later Stone Age the pace of innovations rose and the level of craftsmanship increased.

Groups of Homo sapiens experimented with diverse raw materials, including bone, ivory, and antler, as well as stone.

The period, between 50,000 and 39,000 years ago, is also associated with the advent of modern human behaviour in Africa.

Different groups sought their own distinct cultural identity and adopted their own ways of making things.

Later Stone Age peoples and their technologies spread out of Africa over the next several thousand years.


Watch the video: κοχύλια κολιέ χονδρικής κοσμήματα (June 2022).