Tracing the Materiality of Feathers in Stone Age North-Eastern Europe


  • Kristiina Mannermaa Department of Cultures, Archaeology, University of Helsinki and Institute of History and Archaeology, University of Tartu
  • Tuija Kirkinen Department of Cultures, Archaeology, University of Helsinki



microarchaeology, wings, feathers, birds, burial practices, masks


The use of feathers in ritual costumes and everyday clothing is well described in ethnographic sources throughout the world. From the same sources we know that bird wings and feathers were loaded with meaning in traditional societies worldwide. However, direct archaeological evidence of prehistoric use of feathers is still extremely scarce. Hence, feathers belong to the ‘missing majority’: items that are absent from the archaeological record but which we can assume to have been of importance. Here we present microscopic analysis of soil samples from hunter-gatherer burial contexts which reveal the first direct evidence of the use of feathers in the Mesolithic period of north-eastern Europe.


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How to Cite

Mannermaa, K. . and Kirkinen, T. . (2020) “Tracing the Materiality of Feathers in Stone Age North-Eastern Europe”, Current Swedish Archaeology, 28(1), pp. 23–46. doi: 10.37718/CSA.2020.02.



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