Shine on you crazy diamond: Symbolism and social use of fluorite ornaments in Iberia's late prehistory

José Ángel Garrido-Cordero, Carlos P. Odriozola, Ana C. Sousa, Victor S. Gonçalves, João Luís Cardoso
2021 Journal of Lithic Studies  
Fluorite ornaments have been recorded in different sites of Europe since Upper Paleolithic. Due to its visual appearance and physical properties, some translucent or transparent mineralogies like fluorite were searched for or casually acquired by late prehistory's human communities. After intensive research on archaeological contexts from the Iberian Peninsula with personal ornaments from 4th to 2nd millennia BCE, we have recently identified and characterized for the first time an important
more » ... me an important number of fluorite ornaments, confronting a previous background where little attention was paid. Our work has been carried out in different archaeological collections and museums from the whole Iberian Peninsula by non-destructive techniques (Raman spectroscopy, portable X-ray fluorescence (p-XRF) and X-ray Diffraction (XRD), that revealed the nature of fluorite ornaments and points to its consideration as scarce and highly symbolic items during late prehistory. A total of 36 fluorite beads from 23 sites are here recorded and studied, many of them inedits or wrong catalogued as other mineralogies. These adornments could have important roles in trade and use among the communities of Iberia from the 4th millennium BCE onwards, because of their scarcity and its recurrent association with important funerary complex and exotic materials. Fluorite ornaments could have been significant and special symbols in the development of new and exclusive raw materials in the context of increasing social complexity and inequality.
doi:10.2218/jls.3025 fatcat:bmwbgcnkmfenppvsphf3pcy3xy