Ornaments of the earliest Upper Paleolithic: New insights from the Levant

Steven L. Kuhn, Mary C. Stiner, David S. Reese, Erksin Güleç

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

204 Scopus citations


Two sites located on the northern Levantine coast, Üçaǧizli Cave (Turkey) and Ksar 'Akil (Lebanon) have yielded numerous marine shell beads in association with early Upper Paleolithic stone tools. Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dates indicate ages between 39,000 and 41,000 radiocarbon years (roughly 41,000-43,000 calendar years) for the oldest ornament-bearing levels in Üçaǧizli Cave. Based on stratigraphic evidence, the earliest shell beads from Ksar 'Akil may be even older. These artifacts provide some of the earliest evidence for traditions of personal ornament manufacture by Upper Paleolithic humans in western Asia, comparable in age to similar objects from Eastern Europe and Africa. The new data show that the initial appearance of Upper Paleolithic ornament technologies was essentially simultaneous on three continents. The early appearance and proliferation of ornament technologies appears to have been contingent on variable demographic or social conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7641-7646
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jun 19 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Ornaments of the earliest Upper Paleolithic: New insights from the Levant'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this