The Pendant

In 2015 an engraved shale pendant was found during excavations at the Early Mesolithic site of Star Carr, UK. Engraved motifs on Mesolithic pendants are extremely rare, with the exception of amber pendants from southern Scandinavia. The artwork on the pendant is the earliest known Mesolithic art in Britain; the ‘barbed line’ motif is comparable to styles on the continent, particularly in Denmark.

When it was first uncovered the lines were barely visible but using a range of digital imaging techniques it has been possible to examine them in detail and determine the style of engraving as well as the order in which the lines might have been made. In addition, microwear and residue analyses were applied to examine whether the pendant showed signs that it had been strung or worn, and whether the lines had been made more visible through the application of pigments, as has been suggested for some Danish amber pendants.

Animated GIF created by Colleen Morgan

Find out more

Internet Archaeology article

You can read about the full analysis of the pendant in Issue 40 of the open-access online journal Internet Archaeology:

Milner, N., Bamforth, M., Beale, G., Carty, J. C., Chatzipanagis, K., Croft, S., Conneller, C., Elliot, B., Fitton, L. C., Knight, B., Kroger, R., Little, A., Needham, A., Robson, H. K., Rowley, C. C. A. and Taylor, B. (2016). A unique engraved shale pendant from the site of Star Carr: the oldest Mesolithic art in Britain. Internet Archaeology, 40, http://dx.doi.org/10.11141/ia.40.8.

Illustration by Chloe Watson

About the pendant

3D scan of the pendant