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Archaeology & History

Stone Age pendant has its own secret code

By T.K. Randall
February 26, 2016 · Comment icon 2 comments

The place where the pendant was found - Star Carr in the Vale of Pickering. Image Credit: Kirsty High
An 11,000-year-old pendant unearthed in Yorkshire has been inscribed with a series of lines and symbols.
Thought to be one of the rarest items of its kind ever discovered, the pendant is believed to have held ritualistic significance and would have been worn by a shaman during the Stone Age.

Its inscriptions - a series of long and short lines - suggest that Britain's early Mesolithic inhabitants used a special system to record and represent objects or events in numerical form.

In this case the lines may have been a record of how many ritualistic kills had been made.

The pendant was found at Star Carr in the Vale of Pickering - a site used for ritualistic activities including ceremonial dances that were most likely performed by shamans.

Archaeologists excavating the site also discovered 21 headdresses made from red deer skulls.

"In shamanic and animist societies, hunting was a deeply spiritual activity," said anthropologist Professor Peter Jordan, a leading authority on shamanism and animism.

The pendant is now set to go on public display at Yorkshire Museum until May 5.

Source: Independent | Comments (2)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Calibeliever 9 years ago
Why do archaeologists seem so caught up in assigning a "spiritual" meaning to everything they find? To hear them talk half the time you'd think that stone age man went around in a constant state of prayer and reverence, fearful of a vengeful deity instead of tending to the business of life. They never seem to want to chalk things up to "it made sense to do it that way" or even "they did it for the fun of it". In this case, this looks like a counting stone and could have been carried by anyone who had something they needed to count. No shaman required.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Codenwarra 9 years ago
I have to agree, but archeos are quite conscious of the fact that "ritual" is trotted out so much and they tend to be embarrassed by it. The possibility that the stone may have been merely jewelry isn't ignored. But with headdresses made from red deer skulls nearby, it's difficult to ignore the ritual aspect.


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