Combined Non-invasive PIXE/PIGE Analyses of Mammoth Ivory from Aurignacian Archaeological Sites

Ina Reiche, Claire Heckel, Katharina Müller, Olaf Jöris, Tim Matthies, Nicholas J. Conard, Harald Floss, Randall White

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Among the earliest Homo sapiens societies in Eurasia, the Aurignacian phase of the Early Upper Paleolithic, approximately 40 000–30 000 years ago, mammoth ivory assumed great social and economic significance, and was used to create hundreds of personal ornaments as well as the earliest known works of three-dimensional figurative art in the world. This paper reports on the results of micro-PIXE/PIGE analyses of mammoth-ivory artifacts and debris from five major sites of Aurignacian ivory use. Patterns of variable fluorine content indicate regionally distinctive strategies of ivory procurement that correspond to apparent differences in human–mammoth interactions. Preserved trace elements (Br, Sr, Zn) indicate that differences at the regional level are applicable to sourcing Paleolithic ivory at the regional scale.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)7428-7432
    Number of pages5
    JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
    Volume57
    Issue number25
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jun 18 2018

    Keywords

    • Palaeolithic mammoth ivory
    • micro-PIXE/PIGE
    • site-specific markers
    • subfossil ivory
    • trace elements

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Catalysis
    • Chemistry(all)

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