Through the analysis of the pendant using the techniques outlined above, it was possible to gain a sense of the ordering of the lines and the potential phases of the engravings. These are presented in a composite image, Figure 14, and as a slide show with a narrative and rationale (Figure 15).
Figure 15: Phases of working (slideshow)
Phase 1: the perforation
The uniconical shape of the perforation suggests working from a single direction, with the engraved surface being the working face. Our experiments have shown that perforating shale poses the risk of breakage, especially when positioned close to the edge as in this case; thus it is probable the piece was perforated and then subsequently engraved. There is no overlap between the perforation and engraving to test this directly. However, the engraving does seem to respect the position of the perforation, and as the drilling action involved in perforating the object could potentially break it there would be a higher risk of damaging the engraving if the object was perforated after it had been engraved.
The visible traces of working within the perforation suggests it was produced with a rotational, drilling action. This is likely to have been carried out using a narrow-profile, pointed, retouched tool, such as a microlith or bladelet. Experimental replication confirmed this interpretation, with pieces that were perforated uniconically, with relatively light pressure, and with the tool held rather than hafted, closely resembling the pendant. The neater, smaller hole on the non-engraved side of the pendant (clearly shown in the laser scan, see Figure 5) further supports an interpretation of uniconical working.
Phase 2: engravings
There is a series of nine grooves running directly next to the perforation in the direction of the long axis of the pendant, henceforth referred to as phase 2. These grooves have been grouped on the basis of their similarity in profile shape and line orientation, likely indicating the use of the same engraving tool during the same phase of working. As they do not directly interact, the specific order of engraving cannot be ascertained. With a nominal 'north' to the top of the illustrated pendant, the working of this series is likely from 'north-west' to 'south-east'. A longer central groove, stretching across the length of the pendant, is of key significance in phasing the engraving. This groove is deeper and has a shorter groove associated with it to the far 'south-eastern' extent of the pendant.
The groove fourth from the perforation has additional grooves drawn from it, 14 in total, henceforth referred to as phase 2a, and can be described as a barbed line of type C (Clark 1936, 169).
The eighth groove from the perforation in this arrangement has a number of branching grooves that stem from it, 18 in total, henceforth referred to as phase 2b, also a barbed line. The nine grooves constituting phase 2 were engraved before phases 2a and 2b. All of the grooves forming 2a and 2b disrupt and cut the grooves of phase 2 where they make contact. It should be noted, 2a and 2b are arbitrary labels and do not reflect the order of phasing. These grooves might conceivably have been added at any later phase, or potentially in smaller groups in multiple phases. As they only cut the grooves of phase 2, and do not interact with grooves from any other phase, it is impossible to discern a specific relationship beyond this, though the most likely hypothesis is that they are temporally associated and together form barbed line motifs. It seems likely, given their uniformity in shape and orientation, that they were engraved at the same time and relatively rapidly after phase 2, probably using the same engraving tool. The grooves of 2a were engraved from 'south-west' to 'north-east', while the grooves of 2b were engraved from 'north-east' to 'south-west'. That is, all grooves of these sub-phases were drawn from the point of contact with an existing groove in phase 2, running perpendicular and away from this point of contact.
Phase 3: engravings Phase 3 consists of two major groups of grooves; group 3a consisting of seven grooves to the 'north-east' of the central groove and group 3b consisting of five grooves to the 'south-west' of the central groove. Each has been grouped as a sub-phase on the grounds of similarity in profile shape, similarities in the incisions that suggest the same or similar tool was used to produce the grooves, as well as orientation. Phase 3a
The grooves composing sub-phase 3a are younger than phase 2, with each groove cutting the profile of the central groove. The direction of working for grooves composing 3a is 'south-west' to 'north-east'. The four grooves to the far 'south-eastern' extent of 3a each have the mid-section of the groove partially or entirely obliterated. Initially thought to have resulted from wear, results from use-wear analysis (discussed in section 5) suggest this may have been caused by post-depositional factors (PDSM). The groove to the far 'north-western' extent is significant in that it disrupts the terminus of the northern grooves in phase 2, confirming that sub-phase 3a, and by extension perhaps all of phase 3, is younger than phase 2.
Sub-phase 3b consists of five grooves, each disrupting and cutting the central groove at the point of contact, indicating they are younger than phase 2. The direction of working for grooves constituting 3b is 'north-east' to 'south-west'. As identified in previous phases, grooves constituting 3a and 3b are engraved from a point of contact with an earlier groove and are engraved in a perpendicular orientation, running away from the point of contact. Grooves to the 'southern' extent of 3b at the groove mid-point and further 'west' have again been partly obliterated, as was noted for grooves to the south-eastern extent of 3a.
Similar to the pattern identified in phase 2, barbed line groupings of small, perpendicular lines stemming from longer grooves appear. Sub-phase 3b has two further such groupings, sub-phase 3b1, composed of 11 short grooves contacting the far 'southern' groove of sub-phase 3b, and sub-phase 3b2, composed of 14 short grooves contacting the far northern groove of sub-phase 3b. These have been grouped into sub-phases on the grounds of similarity in profile shape, suggesting the same tool might have been used, as detailed above for other phases.
Sub-phases 3b1 and 3b2 conform to the pattern described more broadly, with each groove cutting through the profile of grooves belonging to sub-phase 3b, indicating that all short grooves belonging to sub-phases 3b1 and 3b2 are younger than grooves belonging to sub-phase 3b. Short grooves associated with sub-phase 3b1 have been engraved from 'north-west' to 'south-east', while short grooves forming sub-phase 3b2 have been engraved from 'south-east' to 'north-west'. This pattern again conforms to that seen for earlier phases where the direction of working runs away from contact at a perpendicular angle to the earlier groove.
Phase 4: engravings
The groupings of phase 4 are more contentious, in part due to a lack of direct contact between phases previously described and an arrangement of grooves that do not conform to the same pattern, with fewer interconnections between grooves. Three sub-phases and two additional sub-phases linked to one of these sub-phases are evident, but the phasing of the piece here becomes ambiguous. It could be that phase 4 follows phase 3, occupying one of the few vacant areas left on the surface, or it could be the exact opposite, actually representing the earliest phase, with those phases already described engraved at a later time. These possibilities are explored in greater detail in the phasing summary below. Phase 4a
Sub-phase 4a consists of three grooves engraved from 'north' to 'south'. These grooves have been grouped based on direction of working, orientation and the similarity in profile shape. The far 'western' groove in this sub-phase looks to be cut by grooves associated with sub-phase 4b, described in greater detail later on, suggesting 4a may be an older component of phase 4. Significantly, an otherwise anomalous set of two possible grooves may be associated with phase 4a, based on their orientation. However, the spatial dislocation of these grooves, as well as the dissimilarity in profile size and shape makes such an association highly tentative. If they are associated, this would be highly significant as it would potentially offer a way to directly link and order phases 3 and 4. However, the relationship between these grooves and sub-phase 3b1 could not be discerned.
Sub-phase 4b is more complex and dissimilar to most other groupings in that it is formed of grooves seemingly worked in two differing orientations. It is composed of six grooves, broadly set out in two groups of three. These grooves have been grouped largely on the grounds of their close spatial relationship and their dissimilarity to the otherwise structured pattering evident in other phases. Those grooves from the 'eastern' component of the grouping have tentatively been worked from 'east' to 'west' and disrupt the far 'western' groove from sub-phase 4a, as discussed earlier. This would suggest sub-phase 4b is younger than sub-phase 4a. The grooves forming the western component of sub-phase 4b can be tentatively interpreted as having been engraved from 'north-west' to 'south-east'. The specific interaction of these grooves at contact is ambiguous, though it can be noted that an anomalous 'north'/'south' orientated groove interacts with grooves from both sub-groups.
Sub-phase 4c consists of three grooves that have been grouped on the basis of orientation, profile shape and direction of working. They do not interact with any other groupings and so are challenging to interpret. However, sub-phase 4c is associated with two further sub-phases, 4c1 and 4c2, which when taken together bear a striking resemblance to barbed line groupings described in phases 2 and 3 above. The grooves forming 4c have been engraved from 'east' to 'west'.
Sub-phase 4c1 is associated with the far southern groove of sub-phase 4c, and consists of five short grooves. They have been grouped based on their profile shape, orientation and direction of working. These follow the familiar pattern described above of having been worked at a perpendicular angle, each cutting the groove of 4c with which they interact, demonstrating they are younger. These grooves have been worked from 'north' to 'south'. Sub-phase 4c1 is younger than sub-phase 4c.
Sub-phase 4c2 is associated with the far northern groove of sub-phase 4c. It is composed of 10 short grooves that have been phased together based on their profile shape, orientation and direction of working. The grooves have been engraved from 'south' to 'north' in all cases. Sub-phase 4c2 parallels sub-phase 4c1 in that the grooves have been worked at a perpendicular angle to the groove with which they interact from sub-phase 4c, running away from the point of contact. In each case, the grooves of 4c2 disrupt the groove from 4c, demonstrating that the grooves belonging to sub-phase 4c2 are younger than sub-phase 4c. The close similarity between this pattern of sub-phases when compared to similar groupings described in phases 2 and 3 may suggest a relationship; the pendant may have been engraved in a single event, the phases perhaps reflecting momentary pauses and adjustments as the object was repositioned rather than longer temporal dislocations between phases of working.
Phase 5: modern damage
Phase 5 is composed exclusively of modern excavation damage caused by contact with a trowel, with at least two strikes causing some marking and with some possible evidence for a scraping motion.