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Stratum plus. 2019. No1

V. V. Pitulko, E. Yu. Pavlova (Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation)

Upper Palaeolithic Sewing Kit from the Yana Site, Arctic Siberia

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Pages: 157-224

Eyed bone needles and awls constitute the sewing kit used by the ancient humans elsewhere throughout the Stone Age are being found in many archaeological sites of the Northern Hemisphere. They are members of the osseous industry which becomes a hallmark of the Upper Palaeolithic. The osseous industry in general is thought to be one of the most important innovations of the Upper Palaeolithic. If compared to personal ornaments, decorated objects and hunting tools and other nice bone items, the sewing kit for years plays Cinderella of archaeological studies as it looks like as it is — this is just sewing kit, or just two tool types used widely over time and space to make clothing. But indeed, since it serves to produce clothing, footwear, dwelling tarps and gear assembly, sewing becomes the most important, or crucial technology. Finally, it allowed the modern humans to populate open landscapes of the Northern Hemisphere. Eyed bone needles are distributed wide starting possibly 50 000 years ago but generally, they are not many in Palaeolithic contexts. Only few of them yield needle finds with n>10. The Yana site provides the world largest collection of eyed needles and their fragments (n = 192) which dates to ~32 000 calBP. Analysis of the collection performed for this work includes study of morphology, morphometrics and technology of manufacture of these tools but also the relationship between these tools and the rest of the context. Here we discuss the questions of the origin of eyed needles and the Upper Palaeolithic sewing technology, its evolution and role in the human culture.

Keywords: North Eurasia, Arctic Siberia, Upper Palaeolithic, Yana site, eyed needles, sewing technology, innovations, Neanderthals, anatomically modern humans

Information about authors:

Vladimir Pitulko
(Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation). Candidate of Historical Sciences. Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Dvortsovaya Emb., 18, Saint Petersburg, 191186, Russian Federation
E-mail: [email protected]
Elena Pavlova (Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation). Arctic and Antarctic Scientific Research Institute. Bering St., 38, Saint Petersburg, 199397, Russian Federation
E-mail: [email protected]

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