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2 January 2022
45,000 year-old jewellery found in Denisova Cave

A second stone bracelet has been discovered in the Southern Gallery of the Denisova cave, resembling the first one found in 2008 near the entrance of the cave's Eastern Gallery. Found in three pieces, this second bracelet is fashioned from white marble. The first is made of a dark-green mineral called chloritolite. Since 2017 a variety of rings, pendants, and beads, and now the one bracelet have been found in the Southern Gallery, totalling more than 70 personal adornments.
     Also found are two sharp pins made from the smaller lower leg bones of marmots - a type of large ground squirrel. Widely known in the Palaeolithic of Western Europe, these are the first pins from the Denisova Cave, as well as the first in the Altai region of Siberia. More thin and fragile than awls, used either to fasten together pieces of clothing or possibly to hold up hair, the tips and surfaces show traces of polishing.
     Other recently uncovered artefacts include delicate marble ring, a broken ring repurposed as a pendant, and several new pendants with very fine holes drilled inside them, most likely made from fox's teeth. Debate continues as to whether finds from the cave were made by homo sapiens, or the extinct Denisovans whose DNA is prominent in a refuge also inhabited by Neanderthals.

Edited from The Siberian Times (27 December 2021)

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