Personal ornament production technology in the early holocene complexes of western central Asia: Insights from Obishir-5

A. Y. Fedorchenko, S. V. Shnaider, T. Krajcarz, M. E. Romanenko, K. Abdykanova, Kolobova, S. Alisher Kyzy, W. Taylor, I. Krivoshapkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The stratified site of Obishir-5 is one of the most important Final Pleistocene to Early Holocene sites in western Central Asia. In the Early Holocene component (10,700–8200 cal BP) of this site (layers 2 and 3), we discovered one of the oldest and largest assemblages of soft stone ornaments known from the region. It includes 5 items: three oval, sub-triangular, and sub-rectangular pendants, one “labret”-like ornament, and one ornament blank. All specimens come from stratified and well-dated contexts. As a result of the petrographic, experimental, use-wear, and technological analysis, we reconstructed the chaîne opératoire of these artifacts. To produce them, local raw materials (talcite and serpentinite) were from a source located 4.5 km away from the site. Small pebbles, shatters, and spalls split from nodules were used as blanks. The surface of the blank was first prepared using grinders and burins, then biconical drilling and polishing were used to finish the artifact. Our results point to an established tradition of personal ornament production from soft stone in western Central Asia during the Early Holocene. Comparison of these nonutilitarian artifacts with those from other Final Pleistocene to Early Holocene archaeological complexes across Central Asia, the Middle East, and the Near East suggests that personal ornament manufacture may be an important hallmark of social developments across a broad geographic region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)3-15
Number of pages13
JournalArchaeology, Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Central Asia
  • Experimental use-wear analysis
  • Mesolithic
  • Pendants.
  • Personal ornaments
  • Symbolic behavior
  • Technological analysis
  • symbolic behavior
  • experimental use-wear analysis
  • pendants
  • technological analysis
  • personal ornaments



State classification of scientific and technological information

  • 03.41 Archaeology


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