Monday, 9 October 2017

What Was the Terracotta Army For? Lecture by Eugene Wang


Wednesday, June 21, 2017, 6:30 p.m.
Denver Art Museum; Hamilton Building, Sharp Auditorium
The First Emperor’s tomb complex, with its auxiliary pits filled with thousands of life-size terracotta figures, has been hailed as the Eighth Wonder of the World. Other than the massive scale of the underground formation, what is it that we should really wonder about? Mysteries abound.
Join Professor Eugene Y. Wang of Harvard University to explore: Why do these figures wear strange slanting hairdos rarely seen at the time? Why do the terracotta army and the emperor’s “spirit carriages” face opposite directions? If the body is unreliable, as study of Chinese belief suggests, how was afterlife imagined? Was the tomb complex really about the preservation of the emperor’s corpse? Was the terracotta army there to defend the First Emperor’s tomb?



At Radcliffe, Eugene Y. Wang is uncovering how heaven is differently imagined in traditional Chinese art by asking why heaven often appears in unexpected places such as tombs and caves and why going up often involves going down. The larger question he gets at is the Chinese primacy of temporality, often overlooked: is heaven more of a spatial concept or temporal one in Chinese artistic imagination? Can we imagine heaven, as the traditional Chinese did, as a rotating wheel rather than a stable region out there? What is the cognitive mechanism of heaven sighting in earthly omens? Why is the notion of heaven as the apocalyptic vision relatively alien to the Chinese habit of thought?

Rare coal belt decorations worn by women warriors found in Siberia

Chic women's jewellery made of coal, encrusted with jade and coral from 2,200 years ago

Eyecatching belt buckles worn by Xiongnu female invaders is found buried on the banks of the Yenesei River in modern-day Tuva Republic.

'Another buckle was encrusted with carnelian, jade, coral and turquoise.' Picture here and below: Marina Kilunovskaya
Women buried in a unique ancient necropolis went to the afterlife wearing intriguingly decorated belt buckles made of coal, new archeological finds have shown.
They were also adorned with flame-shaped bronze decorations on their shoulders. 
In addition, they wore magnificent bronze buckles on their belts, while Xiongnu men wore buckles mainly of iron.
The buckles are artistically decorated depicting fantastical animals such as dragons as well as leopards, panthers, horses, yaks and snakes.
Coal buckle in situ

Coal buckle in situ
The women-only buckles made from coal are large - up to 20 cm in diameter. 
'The most interesting and richest finds are in the women's graves', said Dr Marina Kilunovskaya, who led the expedition to the Ala-Tei burial ground on the Yenisei River in the Republic of Tuva. 
The women-only buckles made from coal are large - up to 20 cm in diameter, decorated with carved animal images or beautifully encrusted with semiprecious coral, carnelian, turquoise, and jade.
'On one of the buckles you can see engravings,' said the scientist. 
Coal buckle with engravings

Coal buckle with engravings
On one of the coa buckles can be seen Scythian-style engravings. 
On one side are two goats and arrows that pierce them. On the other, a horse is depicted in Scythian style. 
'Another was encrusted with carnelian, jade, coral and turquoise.'
She said: 'Evidently, their owners were very rich people who came from Trans-Baikal region or Mongolia. They found this material, it was interesting for them, and they used it for their decorations.' 
Ala-Tei
Ala-Tei burial ground located on the Yenisei River in the Republic of Tuva. 
'Most of the remains here belong to women. 
'My colleagues often describe Xiongnu as big warriors, invaders.
'But these invaders, as you can see, are women in fact' - and they came northwards from the borders of modern-day China.
Bronze belt buckles

Bronze belt buckles

Bronze belt buckles
'First of all, in the central element of the belts are large bronze buckles with the image of animals - bulls, camels, horses, and snakes.'
The coal belt decorations worn by the women warriors 'were not for everyday use, of course, but for some special occasions, like weddings or funerals', she believes.
There are only ten such coal buckle decorations in the world 'and here we have four', with all being native to Siberia, said Dr Kilunovskaya, of the Institute for the History of Material Culture, Russian Academy of Sciences, in St. Petersburg.
Flame shaped decorations
They were also adorned with flame-shaped bronze decorations on their shoulders. 
'I started excavations in 2015, and there are 80 burials here with no mounds,'  she told The Siberian Times. 
'Most of the ancient people are buried in rectangular stone boxes, sometimes boat-shaped, or in wooden coffins or frames, with a stone covering.
'Some burials are without any construction inside. 
'Many include the heads of horses.
Bronze cowrie
Bronze imitations of cowrie shells.
'Obviously, there was horse skin, too, which has not preserved - so only the skull and hooves survive.'
'First of all, in the central element of the belts are large bronze buckles with the image of animals - bulls, camels, horses, and snakes.
'Other details of the female belt, in most cases, are also made of bronze - these are rectangular hexagonal plaques, bronze imitations of cowrie shells, simple and openwork rings, and Chinese Wu Shu coins.
Mirror
'Most of them are the early mirrors of the Western Han Dynasty (II-I centuries BC).'
'We found whole bronze mirrors or their fragments. 
'Most of them are the early mirrors of the Western Han Dynasty (II-I centuries BC), but there were  fragments of two earlier Chinese mirrors belonging to an earlier period.'
On male remains there were 'iron buckles on the belts'.
Finds included buckles for shoes, knives, iron rings and hooks.
Lantern

Lantern
'These were located right above the graves. I believe these were kind on lamps.'
'Another interesting find in the graves were strange small flat vessels separated in the middle by a septum with an opening in the centre,' she said.
'These were located right above the graves. I believe these were kind on lamps.'
Dr Kilunovskaya admitted: 'Actually... I'm afraid to give this interview, because when the general public learns about such an archaeological site... we may find 'black diggers' coming. 
'The only hope is that it is hard to reach this place.
Burials
Glacier bumblebee lived through the Ice Age on this barren Arctic island. Picture: Federal Center for Integrated Arctic Research
'There are quite a lot of burial grounds in this area - dated from Scythian times to the Middle Ages (2nd century BC to the 12-13th centuries) and they are being destroyed by water. 
'When we came here for the first time, we saw a lot of skulls under a steep river bank and green bones there.     
'Green because there was bronze items in burials. This looked terrible... So we try to save what we can.'
Due to climate conditions, work here can only go ahead during the summer months and more research will be undertaken next year.
Dr Marina Kilunovskaya
Glacier bumblebee lived through the Ice Age on this barren Arctic island. Picture: Federal Center for Integrated Arctic Research
She describes the finds as 'the richest belt decorations'.
'The belt is the main attribute of the nomads, so it was richly decorated with various plaques - mostly of bronze, but also coal.'
The Xiongnu were confederation of nomadic peoples who, say ancient Chinese sources, inhabited the eastern Asian Steppe from the 3rd century BC to the late 1st century AD.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

From the British Museum: Conserving a Tang Dynasty Embroidery, the final 3 episodes

Conserving Vulture Peak | Episode 9: Turning the Embroidery


In this week's episode, Hannah and colleagues from the rest of the conservation team flip the embroidery so that we can see the right side up again.

Conserving Vulture Peak | Episode 10: Stitching the support fabric

In this episode Hannah describes how they go about stitching the support fabric to the front of the embroidery to keep things in place.

Conserving Vulture Peak I Episode 11: The results

In the final episode of the series, Hannah and Monique discuss their thoughts on the effectiveness of the conservation project as a whole. Dr Diego Tamburini also shares some of the findings from the dye analysis.



If you missed the previous 8 video's you will find them below
 

Banner with Sakayamuni, Tang dynastie,found by Aurel Stein (1862- 1943) in cave 17 in the Mogao caves in Dunhuang


Conserving Vulture Peak | Episode 1: Introduction


Join textile conservators Monique Pullan and Hannah Vickers as they embark on this intricate conservation journey over the course of 11 weeks.



Conserving Vulture Peak | Episode 2: Curatorial introduction


This week we join Jane Portal, Keeper of the Department of Asia at the British Museum, as she explains the history and rediscovery of the Vulture Peak embroidery – one of the most magnificent of all the compositions found in the hidden library at Dunhuang.
This embroidery dates from China’s Tang dynasty (AD 618–907). It depicts the Buddha preaching at Vulture Peak – in Buddhist tradition a favourite retreat of the Buddha and his disciples, located in what is now north-east India. 
It was discovered by archaeologist Sir Aurel Stein (1862–1943) who, while exploring the many caves at Dunhuang, discovered a walled up cave. Behind this wall was a library full of manuscripts paintings and textiles, including this astonishing embroidery.
Watch the rest of the ‘Conserving Vulture Peak’ series here: https://goo.gl/FXoBK2
The tapestry is part of a collection donated to the British Museum by the archaeologist Sir Aurel Stein (1862–1943).


Conserving Vulture Peak | Episode 3: Conservation assessment


This week Hanna and Monique discuss the specific areas that need to be addressed to conserve this delicate embroidery. 


Conserving Vulture Peak | Episode 4: Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry




Scientist, Dr Diego Tamburini analyses the dyes used to colour the fibres of the Vulture Peak embroidery. 
He uses a technique known as Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry to find out what was used to colour the embroidery threads. 


Conserving Vulture Peak | Episode 5: Surface Cleaning

In this week's episode, Hannah starts the painstaking task of dry cleaning the embroidery to remove any particulate soiling from the object.



Conserving Vulture Peak | Episode 6: Backing fabric

This week conservators Hannah and Monique choose and prepare the new backing fabric for the Vulture Peak embroidery. 


Conserving Vulture Peak | Episode 7: Removing the old restoration

In this week's episode, Hannah and Monique remove the old restoration fabric from the back of the embroidery. In doing so they're revealing the back of the embroidery. 



Conserving Vulture Peak | Episode 8: Examining the back of the embroidery

This week, Hannah investigates the back of the embroidery. Using a UV lamp she can further investigate the different dyes used in the embroidery. 




In the mean time, also pay a visit to the website of the International Dunhuang Project/ IDP

Freer and Sackler: Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice Across Asia



New Sackler Buddhist Exhibition Doubles the Immersive Experiences

Film of Sri Lankan site joins popular shrine room as part of three-year exhibition and we finally learn why one Buddha’s hair is blue

LTS1985.1.325.13.jpg
Two celestial beings, China, Kucha, Kizil, Cave 224 or 205, 6th century CE (Long-term loan SAAM, gift of John Gellatly)
SMITHSONIAN.COM 

When the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery first created an immersive Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room, with flickering candle-like lights and scores of golden Buddha statues and artifacts seven years ago, it became quite popular.
“People came,” says Debra Diamond, curator of South and Southeast Asian Art at the Freer|Sackler. “Some people came once a week for three months. One staff member came every day, meditating. 
“People wrote a lot of comments that said, ‘this helped me slow down,’” Diamond says. “The whole museum helps people slow down but this was a very special space.”
So when the museum was planning its Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice Across Asia—one of five major exhibits that mark the reopening of the Freer and Sackler after the Freer has been closed for nearly two years of renovation—it was sure to include the Buddhist Shrine Room.
But it is one of two immersive spaces in the Buddha exhibition, drawn from the vast collections of the museum.


The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room from the Alice S. Kandell Collection, detail
The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room from the Alice S. Kandell Collection, detail (Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift from Alice S. Kandell )

The other is a three-channel digital film, The Texture of Practice: Sri Lanka’s Great Stupa, that will allow visitors to experience a Buddhist site in Sri Lanka, where relics of the Historical Buddha are said to be held.
“It’s stunningly beautiful and meditative. It’s not like a typical documentary,” Diamond says. “It’s almost like an art film.” Visitors can circumnavigate around the three screens or plop down on couches to take it all in. “We made it ‘A Day in the Life of the Stupa.” Diamond says. 
Monks, nuns and laypeople go through their daily practices on a day during the December full moon festival at the Ruwanwelisaya stupa in the town of Anuradhapura. Though the film runs just over 10 minutes, she says, “it goes from the dawn to moonrise at this one stupa site in Sri Lanka.”
Since it’s on a loop, the meditative film with ambient sound and no narration, can invite longer stays, with electronic pads available for those who want more information about what they are seeing.
Diamond tells of when Freer|Sackler director Julian Raby came by to check on a test run of the film. “I thought he’d stick his head in, but he pulled a pillow out and watched with everyone else.”
It provides the same kind of meditative experience that comes through the remade Shrine Room. 



Bodhisattva (bosatsu), Japan, Heian period, late 12th century (Freer Gallery of Art)

With its objects originally on loan from the Alice S. Kandell Collection when it first went on display in 2010 (Kandell gifted the collection to the museum the following year), the Shrine Room is bigger than ever, with 243 objects, including 20 that had not been publicly exhibited before, representing Tibetan, Chinese, Nepalese and Mongolian artists from the 13th to 19th century. 
Placed on polychrome Tibetan furniture in front of brocaded scroll paintings, or thangkas, it becomes a hushed spiritual and artistic environment.
“Outside, you can appreciate an object that came out of a shrine, as a museum art work,” Diamond says. “Here, it’s totally different. You can see how they would have looked like in a shrine of an aristocrat on the Tibetan plateau. And they’re put up in a way that is liturgically correct.”
It’s uninterrupted by the kind of labels and cases that represent the rest of the museum, but information about the objects are available at digital kiosks.
Twenty-first century electronics also play a role in another aspect of the exhibition that illustrates a continent-wide pilgrimage of a young Korean monk from the 8th century, who embarks on a journey to India at the age of 16, and travels to Persia and China’s Silk Road. 
Working with students at the University of Michigan, the pilgrimage comes with its own app on which there are games based on ancient works, like the Freer’s frieze from Gandhara, Pakistan that shows the Buddha bedeviled by demons. Visitors can try their own hand in the game version. “If you win, you’re enlightened,” Diamond says. If not? “Try again?”
It was in part the major funder of the exhibition, the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation, that encouraged the innovative approaches, Diamond said. But there are also new angles to the ancient holdings from a wide variety of cultures. Some may have never been seen in the museum since they were bequeathed by Charles Freer in 1909; others may have just been overlooked in a hallway, and given a brightly-lit 360 degree view in the exhibit. And there are new additions to the collection on view for the first time such as a bell from Indonesia in the shape of a stupa.
Visitors will be polled on their reaction to the exhibition’s innovations; based on their reactions, the show may be altered halfway into its planned three-year run, Diamond says. 
And digital pads will be available to answer some of the most common questions the objects bring, such as how the objects got to the museum, or in the case of the striking Gautama Buddha that beckons visitors in one of the two exhibition entrances, why its hair is blue.
“It’s not a question that would ever personally occur to me,” Diamond says. “But since we’ve all been asked that so many times, we decided to put that in.”
Yes, a yellow figure with blue hair may make some think at first of Marge Simpson, but the reason it’s that color is that they were using lapis lazuli, a precious blue rock that Diamond says was considered very beautiful.
Though the Buddha from 14th-century Central Tibet, purchased 20 years ago in honor of the 10th anniversary of the Sackler, is seen wearing a patchwork robe, Diamond says, “Buddhists over the ages are showing their devotion by remaking him in the most precious substances that they have, which is gilded bronze and lapis lazuli.”
Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice Across Asia runs through November 29, 2020 at the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Interesting new developments extinct Denisovans

Extinct Denisovans from Siberia made stunning jewellery - but did they also discover Australia? 

The Siberian Times by Olga Gertcyk
14 September 2017
Time for rethink on capabilities of lost species of ancient man as academics ponder amazing DNA link between today's Aboriginal people and Altai cave dwellers.

Professor Richard 'Bert' Roberts has urged deep study of ancient migration routes to understand how the Denisovan DNA exists to this day in the native people of Australia. Picture: Richard Roberts
The distance from the only currently known home of the Denisovans in Altai region to the nearest point of Australia is roughly akin to the length of the Trans-Siberian railway, and yet it is looking increasingly likely that these ancient species of humanoids somehow made this epic journey deep in pre-history, perhaps 65,000 years ago.
Separate evidence from the Denisova cave in southern Siberia certainly shows they had myriad talents at least 50,000 years ago, even if their ultimate fate was extinction. 
Yet remarkably their DNA lives on in the Aboriginal people of Australia and the Melanesians of Papua New Guinea to a far greater extent than in any other modern-day populations worldwide.
Richard Roberts and Maxim Kozlikin
Professor Richard 'Bert' Roberts (left) and Dr Maxim Kozlikin (right) in Denisova cave. Picture: Richard Roberts
Moreover, on their way towards Australasia, they appear to have interbred sufficiently with other early humans to have provided Tibetans with the EPAS1 gene that enables them to survive in high-altitude low oxygen environments.
Pictures shown here illustrate their remarkable Paleolithic handiwork from artifacts - for example a stunning green-hued chlorite bracelet, a marble ring, and beads from an ostrich eggshell necklace, all at least 50,000 years old, but possibly soon to be revealed by scientists as significantly older -  found in a cave they shared variously with Neaderthals and Homo sapiens.
Now Professor Richard 'Bert' Roberts, director of the Centre for Archaeological Science at the University of Wollongong, has urged deep study of ancient migration routes to understand how the Denisovan DNA exists to this day in the native people of Australia. 
Richard 'Berth' Roberts in the lab
Professor Richard 'Bert' Roberts in his laboratory in the Centre for Archaeological Science at the University of Wollongong. Picture: Richard Roberts
'Many of ancient people's migration routes went through the territory of Russia, via the Altai mountains,' he told gazeta.ru. 'If we don't get to the bottom of what happened regarding human evolution in Altai, we will never understand evolution in say, China. 
'The first migration wave of Homo erectus left Africa about two million years ago, moving in two main directions: via the Middle East to the south of Europe, the Caucasus, to the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees, and through the western areas of Asia. 
'To the east they most likely moved via two routes as well. One must have gone south of Himalayas and Tibet via Indostan to Eastern and South-Eastern Asia. The other, Northern one, most likely went via Central Asia and Siberia. 
'Perhaps two of these streams met at some point. We will learn it by meticulous dating of all finds... 
Aborigin

Sherpa
The Denisovans influenced not only Aboriginal people (up), but also modern Tibetans (bottom). Pictures: Steve Evans, Dr. Ruediger Wenzel
'To me personally the most interesting question is how 4% of Denisovan' DNA got into the Aboriginal people? Look where Australia is, and where Altai is! How is it possible?!'
The distance as the crow flies is some 8,500 kilometres, and doubtless any such Denisovan migration happened over multiple generations and many millennia - yet there is also the question of a treacherous sea crossing long before boats or rafts were known to have been invented, even if sea levels then were 110 metres lower than today because of the Ice Age. 
People first came to Australia some 65,000 years ago, but who were they, and how did they cross the so-called Wallace's Line separating Asia from Australia, which at the time involved eight separate sea crossings? 
Map GV
The distance between the Denisova cave and Australia as the crow flies is some 8,500 kilometres. Picture: The Siberian Times
'That's a very interesting and controversial question,' said Prof Roberts, a regular visitor to Russia, whose pioneering dating methods are being used to fix the Denisovans in time. 
'We assume they were modern humans, that is members of our species, Homo sapiens, because we have no evidence to the contrary. 
'We don't have any fossil remains of the humans, we have only the stone tools left behind, pigments, ochres, all the other attributes that are very typical of what modern humans use whenever they arrive somewhere,' he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Wallace Line
People first came to Australia some 65,000 years ago, but who were they, and how did they cross the so-called Wallace's Line separating Asia from Australia, which at the time involved eight separate sea crossings? Picture: Maximilian Doerrbecker
'And it came with the whole kit and caboodle. All these sites come with the sorts of things we imagine modern humans are using to make all the symbolic things we associate with ourselves. 
'But the reality is we don't actually know who were the first people into Australia by species.'
He cannot rule out Denisovans, he said, because of the presence of their DNA in Aboriginal people. 
'We know that Aboriginal people in Australia contain both Neanderthal DNA, as do you and I, we have Neanderthal DNA, but neither you nor I have Denisovan DNA, which is another group of people actually the home base, as it were, up in Siberia, Denisova Cave in southern Siberia in Russia. 
Denisova's finds

Denisova's finds
Handiwork made of bones and teeth, find in 11th layer of Denisova cave. Pictures: Anatoly Derevyanko, The Siberian Times
'But it's miraculously in Aboriginal people at the present day in much greater quantities than any other people around the world. How did it get into Aboriginal people? 
'That's still very much a moot point and we're not sure. 
'Did Denisovan people themselves make it across Wallace's Line, a big biogeographic boundary separating Asia from Australasia? We don't know. 
'These are very much still questions that we want to get a handle on, so who were the first people into Australia? We still think it's modern humans but perhaps it might have been Denisovans. It's a question mark still hanging there.'
Needle

Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?
World oldest needle found in Denisova cave. Picture: Mikhail Shunkov, Vesti
Scientists Professor Alan Cooper, of the University of Adelaide in Australia, and Professor Chris Stringer, of the Natural History Museum in the UK, have already suggested in a Science opinion article that this is precisely what happened. 
'In mainland Asia, neither ancient human specimens, nor geographically isolated modern Indigenous populations have Denisovan DNA of any note, indicating that there has never been a genetic signal of Denisovan interbreeding in the area,' said Professor Cooper, Director of the University of Adelaide's Australian Centre for Ancient DNA. 
'The only place where such a genetic signal exists appears to be in areas east of Wallace's Line and that is where we think interbreeding took place - even though it means that the Denisovans must have somehow made that marine crossing.'
Necklace

Necklace

Pendants
Denisovan necklaces and pendants. Pictures: Mikhail Shunkov, The Siberian Times
Prof Stringer said: 'The recent discovery of another enigmatic ancient human species Homo floresiensis, the so-called Hobbits, in Flores, Indonesia, confirms that the diversity of archaic human relatives in this area was much higher than we'd thought...
'The morphology of the Hobbits shows they are different from the Denisovans, meaning we now have at least two, and potentially more, unexpected groups in the area.
'The conclusions we've drawn are very important for our knowledge of early human evolution and culture. Knowing that the Denisovans spread beyond this significant sea barrier opens up all sorts of questions about the behaviours and capabilities of this group, and how far they could have spread.'
For him 'the key questions now are where and when the ancestors of current humans, who were on their way to colonise New Guinea and Australia around 50,000 years ago, met and interacted with the Denisovans.
Marble ring
Marble ring found in the cave. Picture: Scientific Russia
'Intriguingly, the genetic data suggest that male Denisovans interbred with modern human females, indicating the potential nature of the interactions as small numbers of modern humans first crossed Wallace's Line and entered Denisovan territory.'
The Denisovans also influenced modern Tibetans, according to Rasmus Nielsen, a faculty member of the Center for Theoretical Evolutionary Genomics, at Berkeley, University of California. 
He investigated how Tibetans can withstand the effects of hypoxia in low-oxygen environments. Seven years ago his team published a paper indicating the EPAS1 gene was the cause of this this beneficial mutation. 
The gene regulates the body's reaction to low oxygen environments, allowing Tibetans to produce fewer red blood cells and less hemoglobin, it was reported. 
Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?

Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?

Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?

Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?
A stunning green-hued chlorite bracelet, found in 2008 in a layer that contained remains of Denisovans. Pictures: Anastasia Abdulmanova, Konstantin Tynayev
Yet it did not originate from Neanderthals but there was an exact match with Denisovans. 
Back in Denisova cave, some 150 km km south of the city of Barnaul, finds like the bracelet, a ring, and beads as well as the world's oldest needle, were all made in layers of this underground complex identified as being occupied by Denisovans, after tiny fragments of these archaic humans were found and analysed. 
Initially this jewellery and other artifacts was dated as being between 40,000 and 50,000 years old, with the latter currently the officially accepted figure. 
Now, however, as previously disclosed by The Siberian Times, scientists from Russia, the UK and Australia are reexamining the dates of these objects amid suspicions that they are as old as  65,000-to-70,000 years. 
A stunning discovery by team of Novosibirsk Institute of Archeology and Ethnography. Picture: Anatoly Derevyanko
At 50,000 years the know-how involved in these items - the bracelet has a hole made by  drilling and rasping devices - are already breathtaking. Any older, and it challenges our entire understanding of the technological development of man. 
Russian scientists say the bracelet was found in 2008 in a layer that contained remains of Denisovans (homo altaiensis) rather than Homo sapiens  or Neanderthals, although all these groupings shared the cave at various times, and interbred. 
'The bracelet is stunning - in bright sunlight it reflects the sun rays, at night by the fire it casts a deep shade of green,' said Professor Anatoly Derevyanko, former director of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, in Novosibirsk.
Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?

Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?

Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?

Denisova cave

Denisova cave

Denisova cave
Denisova cave, some 150 km km south of the city of Barnaul, is the only source of Denisovan's remains. Pictures: The Siberian Times
'It is unlikely it was used as an everyday jewellery piece. I believe this beautiful and very fragile bracelet was worn only for some exceptional moments," he said.
The manufacturing technology used in the bracelet is seen as being more typical of a later period, for example the Neolithic era, which began around 12,000 years ago.
His successor Professor Mikhail Shunkov has suggested that the long-extinct Denisovans were significantly more advanced than Homo sapiens and Neanderthals.
Did this technological superiority also help them reach Australia before anyone else?