Expressing identities through the body
The identity of a community facilitates social cohesion and is built through the implementation of material representations of that identity. These could be tattoos and body decorations or items of personal adornment that identify the wearer as a member of the group or at least as part of it.
The objects of personal adornment representative of this period at La Cueva del Toro are noteworthy for their enormous variety. They include a huge variety necklace beads and bracelets made from different materials, including sea shells, stone and bone. From the technological perspective, a significant factor is the large percentage of highly processed ornamental pieces exhibiting noteworthy control of the technical procedures used, as well as a production standardisation indicating a desire to produce objects with an optimum finish.
The fact that transferred remains of red ochre are found on almost all the items of body adornment tells us that the people painted themselves using that pigment. The designs may have been similar to those we find on the pottery decoration as a form of expressing identity.
Pictures: Building the community. Identity, body drawings and ornaments. Illustrated by Miguel Salvatierra