Monday, April 18, 2016

Headdress study highlights ancient hunter-gatherer rituals

"This research shows how experimental archaeology can give important insights into rare ancient artifacts," said archaeologist Aimee Little.

An illustration of an Evenki shaman donning an antler headdress. 
Photo by Little et al./PLOS ONE

YORK, England, April 13 (UPI) -- Researchers in England have spent the last four years reconstructing ancient shamanic headdresses found at an Early Mesolithic archaeological site in North Yorkshire.
To get a better understanding of hunter-gatherer rituals, archaeologists at the University of York used flint blades, hammerstones and fire to recreate antlered deer skull caps.
Their analysis of the oldest evidence of a shamanic costume in Europe suggests these hunter-gatherers spent significant time and effort on ritualistic dress.
Researchers surveyed some 24 male red deer skull caps recovered from the Star Carr site -- all made from the top of the skull with the antlers attached. To make the skull caps, the lower jaw and cranial bones were removed while the frontal jaw bone was perforated.
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