Ornaments, always close to the human body, offer a uniquely personal window onto the lives of settled hunter-gatherers as they were dealing with the challenges of a new way of life that still affects us today.

Whether given as gifts in death or closely treasured during life, symbolizing achievements or status, objects used in body ornamentation carry trans-generational meanings and fulfill roles that are often thousands of years in the making. This project uses the incredible ornaments (beads, bracelets, labrets and pendants) from sites in Turkey to explore how people saw themselves and related to one another at a time of fundamental social change.

It is unusual for personal ornaments to be used as a vehicle in large-scale studies integrating multiple scientific, statistical and interpretive techniques to produce broad-scale interpretations of prehistoric narratives. We believe that ornaments are a seriously under-explored resource in archaeology and this, the biggest personal ornament project undertaken in southwest Asia, offers an unprecedented opportunity, using high quality data, to explore the limits of what ornaments can offer.