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Inside this Book – In 1956 the 28,000-year-old Paleolithic site Sungir was discovered on the outskirts of Vladimir, east of Moscow. It is one of the oldest sites in which ornaments have been found on human skeletons. At least three of the site’s inhabitants were buried there, including a sixty-year-old man, a girl of about eight, and a boy of thirteen. Interred in shallow graves dug into the permafrost, they were laid on their backs, hands folded at the hips; the children rested head to head. Workers who unearthed the three were stunned to find that they were buried with thousands of intricately crafted ivory beads, crisscrossed in strands that might have been sewn to long since disintegrated clothing. The bones of the man’s arms were hooped with twenty-five polished mammoth- ivory bracelets. At the boy’s throat was an ivory pin that may have once held a cloak; under his shoulder was an ivory sculpture of a mammoth. A massive eight-foot-long ivory lance made from a straightened mammoth tusk lay at his and the girl’s side. The sight of these skeletons showered in tiny bits of ivory must have been startling enough, but the amount of labor necessary to produce the adornment is simply staggering to contemplate, and clear evidence of the deceased’s high status. According to paleoanthropologist Randall White, the beads were produced in a methodical, step-by-step fashion; they were, in effect, standardized.
Inside this book –Ivory’s Ghosts PDF Book by John Frederick Walker – By the time the last of the mammoths were sinking into Siberia’s sedimentary strata, half a world away ancient Egypt’s great pyramids had already been built. Long familiar with ivory in the form of hippopotamus teeth and elephant tusks, Egyptian artisans had been using it since before the Dynastic era. Ivory was now treasure. This expansion of its meaning had begun in prehistory, when the material was first used for adornment and sculpture. In the settled, stratified societies around the Mediterranean ivory also functioned much the way gold did: possessing it signaled status and expressed social differences. Consider the exquisitely carved ivory neck rest buried long ago with Tutankhamen to help ease the boy king’s journey to the afterworld. It is a telling example of both the artistry of the period (ca. 1325 BCE ) and the importance ivory had attained. The rounded crescent, proffered by a crouching figure flanked by resting lions, is one of thousands of ivory objects that decorated the royal tombs of Egypt. These included game discs, perfume flasks, seals, combs, knife handles, inlaid tomb furniture, and so-called concubine figures, which varied from crude dolls to graceful sloe-eyed sylphs. (It’s thought that these slim, hourglass-shaped ivory statuettes were intended to magically assist in providing sexual solace for the departed king in the afterlife, but their interment in female burials as well rather complicates this idea.)
Ivory’s Ghosts by John Frederick Walker PDF : eBook Information
- Full Book Name – Ivory’s Ghosts
- Author of this Book – John Frederick Walker
- Language – English
- Book Genre – Cultural, History, Environment, Animal
- Download Format – PDF
- Size – 1.9 MB
- eBook Pages – 304
- Price – Free