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Our study presenting first in-situ evidence of facial piercing in Southwest Asia is published in Antiquity!



Lack of contextual evidence for the use of small personal ornaments means that much of our understanding of ornamentation traditions within archaeological cultures is reconstructed from ethnographic comparisons. New in situ finds from the areas around the ears and mouth in burials at Boncuklu Tarla, a Neolithic settlement in Türkiye, add a novel dimension to the interpretation of stone ‘tokens’ or ‘plugs’. This article presents a new typology for these artefacts and argues for their use as ear ornaments or labrets in a practice involving significant and lasting corporal alteration.


"Analysis of excavations at the archeological site Boncuklu Tarla in southeastern Turkey has revealed burials in which adornments for piercings were found placed near grave occupants’ ears and mouths. Dental wear on the lower incisors of these remains, dating to around 11,000 years ago, resembled known wear patterns caused by abrasion from a type of ornament called a labret, often worn below the lower lip."

Read the original study (openaccess) in Antiquity: Kodaş, E., Baysal, E. L., & Özkan, K. (2024). Bodily boundaries transgressed: corporal alteration through ornamentation in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic at Boncuklu Tarla, Türkiye. Antiquity, 1-20. doi:10.15184/aqy.2024.28


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