Stone Age Amber Bear figurines from the Baltic Sea area

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Amber bear figurines are a small group of objects found all around the Baltic Sea. They are usually naturalistically shaped and come in a variety of forms and wealth of detail. A major issue when dealing with this topic is the fact that the figurines are mostly stray finds, so they lack archaeological context. Furthermore, they are not directly datable due to their material. This makes it difficult to contrast them against their archaeo-cultural background. This paper will therefore discuss the dates that have been assigned to these figurines and the reasons why bears were depicted. As it turns out, there are less indications for a Mesolithic date than for an earlier or later phase, based on comparable art and styles. This also aligns well with other naturalistic amber finds from the Palaeolithic and Neolithic, and hence questions the traditional attribution of the amber bear figurines to the Mesolithic. The function of these artefacts, however, remains unclear due to the lack of contextual information.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBear and human – facets of a multi-layered relationship from past to recent times with an emphasis on northern Europe
EditorsOliver Grimm
Number of pages18
Place of PublicationTurnhout
PublisherBrepols Publishers
Publication date2023
ISBN (Print)978-2-503-60611-8
ISBN (Electronic) 978-2-503-60613-2
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventBear and human – facets of a multi-layered relationship - Orsa Predator Park, Dalarna, Sweden
Duration: 16 Oct 201918 Oct 2019


ConferenceBear and human – facets of a multi-layered relationship
LocationOrsa Predator Park
City Dalarna
Internet address
SeriesThe Archaeology of Northern Europe

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