Sandrine Bonnardin, 2009, La parure funéraire des premières sociétés agro-pastorales des Bassins parisien et rhénan: Rubané, Hinkelstein et Villeneuve-Saint-Germain. Paris: Société Préhistorique Française [Mémoire de la Société préhistorique française, 49].
This volume derives from Sandrine Bonnardin’s doctoral thesis “La parure funéraire du néolithique ancien en Bassins parisien et rhénan: Matériaux, techniques, fonctions et usage social” (Paris, 2004). Sandrine’s book is valuable for anyone interested in the technology and function of prehistoric ornaments, while the application of traceological analysis to the Neolithic ornaments is perhaps this study’s most important contribution.
The book’s summary translated in English:
During nearly seven centuries, whereas the Early Neolithic period progresses from the Rhenish basin to the Paris basin, the first agro-pastoral communities (Rubané, Hinkelstein, Villeneuve-Saint-Germain) will deposit in the tombs of their deceased members objects of adornment, worked according to more or less complex methods and in raw materials sometimes of very distant provenance (such as Spondylus).
These objects compose a varied adornment corpus. These jewels reflect the tastes and values of the groups which carried them. How were these objects handled? Were they used before being deposited in the tombs or can one envisage that some were produced exclusively for burial purposes? How were they worn? What was their relation to the body? Which body decorations did they form? But also, for whom were these ornaments manufactured? Where there any age-related categories/restrictions related to the ornament use? Finally, how did this corpus evolved during the Early Neolithic?
Throughout a study of the raw materials, a typological, technological and traceological analysis of the almost totality of the jewelry corpora of the Paris and Rhenish Basin, this study proposes to examine for the first time the technical, functional and social aspects of this material. The correlation of the results with the contextual data (position of the objects in relation to the skeleton, associations of objects, etc) make it possible to reconstitute the funerary “dresses” of the first peasants of the extreme West of moderate Europe. The results also highlight the expansion of the bonds which linked the Paris and the Rhenish Basin communities, while the Rubané culture is shredded to leave the place to the new cultural groups that emerged, the Hinkelstein and the Villeneuve-Saint-Germain. In the beginning of the fourth century b.C. the cultural relations have changed, and the ornaments constitute the echo of these changes.
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