Español RSS

Home  >  Archaeological featuresArtifacts >  Bone industry

Bone industry

Under the title of “bone industry”, we can find a group of objects made of bone, antler or ivory. These were used to make accessorize for clothing and ornaments. These pieces were less elaborated than in previous periods. Except ivory, mostly from North Africa, brackets were obtained from domestic animals. The tools obtained, such as awls, needles, chisels or smoothers,  were manufactured through a process consisted in breaking, sawing, abrasion and polishing usually applied on bones of sheep, goats and cattle.

Awls and needles could have been used on textile manufacture and basketwork to weave, sew or perforate pieces of line and esparto. This is assumed according to the context evidences recovered from several settlements like in Barranco de la Viuda, where it was found a big vessel containing two awls and two loom weights. Other tools such as chisels/smoothers are specially usual in the settlement of San Antón. These tools seem to have been used on hide working due to the intense polishing observed on the surfaces.

 

image087Awl and needle found in San Antón and Laderas del Castillo (López 2009: fig. 1)

 

V- perforated ivory buttons were known since Beaker Chalcolithic, however, its use lasts until the Argaric period  appearing as well in dwellings as in graves. The buttons morphology is pyramidal in the Argaric territory. There are buttons up to 30 mm long.  These clothing elements were found in the  occupation and abandonment levels of El Argar, Tabayá, Gatas, Cerro de la Encantada and Cerro de la Virgen. There were also found in Argaric graves containing ivory buttons in the settlements of San Antón, Laderas del Castillo, Cerro de las Viñas, El Argar and Illeta dels Banyets. The grave 3 of the latest settlement had an skeleton with more than 50 ivory buttons next to a great riveted dagger.

 

image090V-perforated buttons from grave nº3 of Illeta dels Banyets (MARQ exhibition catalog 2009: num. 20)
buena Ivory decorative element that probably was part of a dagger handle, both found in grave 1 of Illeta dels Banyets (López 2006: fig. 9); picture and detailed drawing of the ivory object (MARQ exhibition catalog; López 1993: p. 103)

 

The malacological elements stand out among the resources and animal raw materials exploited during the Argaric period. These are found in lesser quantities than in previous periods and are mainly from marine origin. Although, there aren’t many detailed inventories published, we know that these were exploited in settlements near as well as far from the sea.  The erosion evidence on the surface of several samples from Gatas or Fuente Álamo suggests that most shells hadn’t a nutrional value, since they were collected postmortem.  The examples of malacological supports used as tools are also a minority (i. e. El Argar, Gatas).  Ornaments and hangers are the most widespread production of this type.  The species usually found in dwellings are of the bivalve type, whereas the gastropods abound among grave goods. Necklaces and bracelets of disc-shaped or cylindrical beads are common in burials, usually associated to other materials such as bone, stone, ivory or metal.

 

image100Collars composed of beads made of bone, small snails and stone, next to silver bracelets from El Argar (Cauwe 2003: lam. 8).
image101 Perforated seashells of Glycymeris sp.associated to grave goods of grave 28 from Gatas(ASOME ©)

 

In grave nº 1 from Cerro de la Viñas, archaeologists found a bowl as well as a bracelet of cylindrical beads made of several gastropods and placed around the right wrist. Besides, there is testified the presence of these ornaments in tombs with exceptional grave goods such as in tomb 18 of Fuente Álamo, where a shell of the Cypraeidae family together with a silver riveted halberd, a golden earring and one form 8 were found.

 

Back to top

Photo Gallery

Bone handle with decoration carved from Cuesta del Negro (Archaeological and Ethnological Museum of Granada; http://ceres.mcu.es)

Bone handle with decoration carved from Cuesta del Negro (Archaeological and Ethnological Museum of Granada; http://ceres.mcu.es)

Copper awl inserted in a handle with carved decoration from Cuesta del Negro (Archaeological and Ethnological Museum of Granada; http://ceres.mcu.es).

Copper awl inserted in a handle with carved decoration from Cuesta del Negro (Archaeological and Ethnological Museum of Granada; http://ceres.mcu.es).

Awl and needle found in La Bastida (ASOME ©)

Awl and needle found in La Bastida (ASOME ©)

Bone chisels and antler from San Antón (López 2009: fig. 4)

Bone chisels and antler from San Antón (López 2009: fig. 4)

Pyramidal V-perforated buttons from the Argaric time horizon of Cerro de la Virgen (Schüle 1980: lam. 118)

Pyramidal V-perforated buttons from the Argaric time horizon of Cerro de la Virgen (Schüle 1980: lam. 118)

Group of awls and needles from El Oficio (Siret and Siret 1890: lam. 62)

Group of awls and needles from El Oficio (Siret and Siret 1890: lam. 62)

Ivory decorative element probably was part of a dagger handle, both found in grave 1 of Illeta dels Banyets (MARQ exhibition catalog)

Ivory decorative element probably was part of a dagger handle, both found in grave 1 of Illeta dels Banyets (MARQ exhibition catalog)

Group of perforated beads and shells (Cardium, Conus, Dentalium, Ciprea) next to beads and ornaments of other material such as stone, cooper and fish vertebrae from El Argar ( Siret and Siret 1890: lam. 52)

Group of perforated beads and shells (Cardium, Conus, Dentalium, Ciprea) next to beads and ornaments of other material such as stone, cooper and fish vertebrae from El Argar ( Siret and Siret 1890: lam. 52)

  • Bone handle with decoration carved from Cuesta del Negro (Archaeological and Ethnological Museum of Granada; http://ceres.mcu.es)
  • Copper awl inserted in a handle with carved decoration from Cuesta del Negro (Archaeological and Ethnological Museum of Granada; http://ceres.mcu.es).
  • Awl and needle found in La Bastida (ASOME ©)
  • Bone chisels and antler from San Antón (López 2009: fig. 4)
  • Pyramidal V-perforated buttons from the Argaric time horizon of Cerro de la Virgen (Schüle 1980: lam. 118)
  • Group of awls and needles from El Oficio (Siret and Siret 1890: lam. 62)
  • Ivory decorative element probably was part of a dagger handle, both found in grave 1 of Illeta dels Banyets (MARQ exhibition catalog)
  • Group of perforated beads and shells (Cardium, Conus, Dentalium, Ciprea) next to beads and ornaments of other material such as stone, cooper and fish vertebrae from El Argar ( Siret and Siret 1890: lam. 52)

El Argar

Digital Archeology

Copyright © 2009 ASOME - UAB. Proyecto La Bastida

XHTML 1.0 Válido CSS Válido Icono de conformidad con el Nivel Doble-A, de las Directrices de Accesibilidad para el Contenido Web 1.0 del W3C-WAI

Logotipos de los organismos colaboradores Logotipo del Ministerio de Industria, Turismo y Comercio, ir a la web Logotipo de la Comunidad Autónoma de la Región de Murcia, ir a la web Logotipo del Ayuntamiento de Totana, ir a la web Logotipo de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, ir a la web Logotipo del Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, ir a la web