NEW DELHI: Archaeologists have made a fascinating discovery that sheds light on the ancient practice of body piercing. They have found evidence of prehistoric body piercing in human burials that date back around 11,000 years.
The findings were recently published in the journal Antiquity.The team of researchers conducted their study at the Neolithic site of Boncuklu Tarla in Turkey. They uncovered more than 100 ornamental objects in the burials that were once worn as piercings. These objects were found around the ears and chins of the human remains, indicating that they were used for body piercing.
The ornamental objects, which included items made from limestone, obsidian, and river pebbles, were carefully documented. The researchers noted that the position of these objects among the human remains, as well as their various sizes and shapes, suggest that they were designed for ear and lower lip piercings.
Further analysis of the skeletons revealed wear on the lower incisors, which is consistent with examples of labret-wearing in other cultures. This provides additional support for the hypothesis that the objects were used for body augmentation involving the piercing of bodily tissue.
The significance of this discovery lies in the fact that it represents the earliest evidence of body piercing in southwest Asia. While similar objects resembling body piercing ornaments have been found in the region before, this is the first clear evidence of their use as piercings.
The researchers also made an interesting observation about the burials. They found that both male and female remains had piercings, while no piercings were observed in the child burials. This suggests that the piercings were not purely for aesthetic purposes, but may have held some social significance, possibly indicating maturity.
The implications of this discovery are significant. It provides new insights into how the people of the Neolithic period expressed their identities through personal appearance. The researchers believe that this finding will lead to a reinterpretation of many artifacts from the Neolithic period across western Asia and eastern Europe.

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