Looking for the individual: an examination of personal adornment in the European Upper Palaeolithic




Trupp, Tamara Lynn

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A new focus in Palaeolithic archaeology is to look at the possibility of the individual as a unit of analysis in the prehistoric record. This involves looking at the Palaeolithic actor as more than just an invisible entity that had a minor role in the production of long term patterns. The Palaeolithic individual was a ‘lived life’, with all aspects of agency, identity, and decision-making abilities. One area that is potentially illuminating for the examination of the individual is personal adornment, as this can lead to an understanding of the body and identity and the role of material culture in social life and self-making. A catalogue of Upper Palaeolithic sites in Europe and Siberia with evidence of items of personal adornment was recorded. From this information, patterns and sites that potentially show the individual are discussed through the categories of body, identity, and material culture.



Upper Palaeolithic, Europe, Personal Adornment, Individual, ornament, body, identity, behavioural modernity