Friday 19 September 2014

Neolithic hairstyles and fashions

It's odd how prehistoric people are all too often presented to us in modern-day reconstructions like those in the frankly brilliant Operation Stonehenge. I must admit it, the thing which stretches my skeptical credibility to the uttermost is being asked to believe that the builders of Stonehenge, with their priests, geometers and astronomers, their 'architect, surveyor and builder', their wide-ranging trade routes and shipping capabilities, these sophisticated people, were apparently not capable of combing their hair, washing their faces, or even smartening up their leather loincloths by trimming the edges and adding ornamentation.

I know it's impossible to guess their 'fashion sense' when we have so little evidence for its details, but they had one. As far as I know, there has been no recorded human society in which people did not style their hair and ornament themselves. And these were people with a complex and sophisticated social structure.

It's odd. We live so much surrounded by their remains there are times you could think they were still with us. And then you realize how much we're having to make up - or avoid making up - by letting them appear as stereotypical primitives of a kind which our species doesn't turn out, practically by definition.

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