THE DECORATED SPINDLE-SHAPED BONE DAGGER FROM ŠARNELĖ: THE EARLIEST EXAMPLE OF HUNTER-GATHERER MOBILE ART IN LITHUANIA

Tomas Rimkus, Adomas Butrimas, Marius Iršėnas, John Meadows

Abstract


This paper presents the latest data on a spindle-shaped decorated bone dagger, which was found as a stray find in the village of Šarnelė in northwest Lithuania, and which recently been dated to the Final Palaeolithic. It is currently the only one such example of osseous technology in Lithuania dated to this period. In 2016, we started to reinvestigate the Stone Age material from the Samogitian highland by AMS radiocarbon (14C) dating, stable isotopes, use-wear and Raman methods. AMS dating showed that the decorated dagger discovered in the surroundings of the drained Lake Ertenis and the River Varduva at Šarnelė currently is one of the oldest prehistoric art objects found in Lithuania and possibly in the eastern Baltic region as well. The dagger was also analysed by use-wear method, which helped to identify some stages of the production of the article itself and its decoration. The paper presents the first results of research of this artefact in the wider geographical and taxonomic context of the Final Palaeolithic in northern Europe.

Key words: osseous technology, prehistoric art, AMS 14C data, use-wear, Final Palaeolithic, northwest Lithuania.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15181/ab.v26i0.2022


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