Prehistoric Bling

Digger (“punk rock prehistorian” — check out his page to see his superb petroglyph tattoos and more pictures like this) sends in these photos of a Thai bronze age burial excavation (click through for a second photo), showing shell and marble bracelets as well as large shell ear tunnels.

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

39 thoughts on “Prehistoric Bling

  1. That is so fantastic – my parents seem to thing that my love of body mods is some teenage rebellion thing. Pictures like these prove that it’s so much more cultural than that.

  2. “Pictures like these prove that it’s so much more cultural than that.”

    You’re from Bronze-age Thailand??

  3. was disco popular back in the prehistoric ages? because sorry to say, that’s the tackiest jewelry i’ve ever seen. cool, but tacky.

  4. Haha @ #9
    Yeah it was “cultural” for them, and I don’t know, perhaps it is for us too, but definitely on a different level.

    Oh and I thought he had beautiful teeth too.

  5. #9 – I’m not saying it’s part of my culture, necessarily. But tell me this – is it not acceptable for Christians to celebrate Halloween? Or for atheists to put gifts underneath a tree during the holidays? Are you telling me that you never picked up on the traditions of another culture?

    I’m not trying to argue – just to put things into perspective.

  6. I think it’s female due to the hips, but I’ve only seen so many skeletons to judge just based on two pictures!

    I could go on all day about how amazing the history about body modification is, but I would be here all day. I love that there is just always so much to learn, too. I’m proud to say that I’m part of something that means and has meant so much to so many people all over the world.

  7. Waw hadn’t seen this yet!
    I study archaeology and bodymodification has indeed a long history. You probably knew this already but even the prehistoric ice man Ötzi had tattoos as well.

  8. Awesome.

    I go to a lot of museums and they’re chock full of objects that are obviously ear tunnels, and are almost always mislabeled as various toys, weights or other objects.

  9. Awesome! Even when they are mistaken as toys and etc, the ones who know what they are feel something different, don’t we?

  10. it was a female. the cheek bones are really distinguished. and yeah, she does look really happy. but did she start the disco craze of huge arm bracelettes?

  11. I agree with #4 #14 and #23… awesome teeth…and that’s primordial!…good teeth,cool mods…seems she was the perfect girl!…

  12. I spend a lot of time in museums and have for the past 7 or 8 years but didn’t focus on the body modifications evidenced there till recently. As I walk the galleries now I am surprised at how wide spread and far reaching certain practices are. Particularly stretching ear lobes.

  13. Hey, I made Modblog!

    They’re two different skeletons, by the way. One has bivalve shells by the head, which are commonly interpreted as a tool to smear ochre on the corpse, dyeing it red (as seen at other sites). I don’t know what sex they are, but my ill-educated guess would be that they’re both male. Both sexes are found with ear tunnels though.

    Ear stretching in Asia goes back at least 2600 years of course. People in the brahiminic caste in India had these, which is why Buddha has/had long ears, although he regected all that to become an ascetic, which is why his hang down empty. These people in Thailand weren’t necessarily thinking the same things about ear stretching as those in India at the same time of course, just like people in highland Thailand now might not think the same about ear stretching as their ‘ancestors’ did.

    Funny thing is, my whole life is spent wishing that people would see how the lives of people in the past relate directly to ours, how much we have to learn from the way they lived their lives, how they fitted in (or otherwise) with society around them, how they expressed that with art and objects, and how they coped with the expectations and demands of that society. Then a thing like body modification makes loads of people basically sit up and say ‘hey look, that’s the way I relate myself to the world’. Bodies are great like that, aren’t they? Everyone knows what it’s like to live in one.

    I’m a bit of an anarchist. I want people to see how people can get abused by their self-appointed masters (and change that in the present) but, for me, just to see people in the past who went through the same crap that life deals and who coped is heartening. (That’s a lot to ask of two photos, but there’s plenty of past to learn from). Here in these pictures are ideas that have prevailed over 3000 years, and some of those ideas are part of what I am (and maybe you too), and maybe they’ll prevail another 3000 years. In the absence of God I find comfort in that.



    PS I can’t work out how to make my name link to my IAM page, but I’m there if anyone wants to find me.

  14. that would be a saweet set of plugs to have.

    “oh, did you get those from (local studio)?”

    “no, i found them on an archaeological dig in Thailand.”


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