Shale artifact is one of Britain’s oldest known pieces of art
One of England’s oldest artworks turned up last year on a tiny piece of stone.
An engraved shale pendant unearthed at Star Carr, a site under excavation since 1947, dates to around 11,000 years ago, a time when Britons were transitioning from foragers to farmers, researchers report online February 25 in Internet Archaeology. The pendant, roughly the size and shape of a guitar pick, includes a carefully fashioned hole through which it may have been strung, say archaeologist Nicky Milner of the University of York and her colleagues.
Many of the pendant’s etched lines are now barely visible. Microscopic analyses determined that the engraved pattern — which includes clusters of short lines connected to long lines — resembles etched designs on amber pendants from around the same time and found in Denmark, southern Sweden and northern Germany.