World’s Oldest Beads

How old are the oldest beads?

In 2004, archaeologists found 41 tiny shells in Blombos Cave, South Africa. They were carefully pierced and showed wear marks consistent with having been suspended on a string or thread. These shell beads date to 75,000 years ago.

More recently in 2007, archaeologist Nick Barton suggested that the shell of a tiny mollusk, Nassaruis kraussianus, was made into beads as far back as 82,ooo years ago. These shell beads were found in a limestone cave in eastern Morocco. The shells were pierced, with wear marks on their holes revealing that the shells were once colored with red pigment, and that they’d been strung on a fibrous cord – all indicators that the beads were meant to be seen. A more recent finding in the same area may put the date at 110,000 years ago, but the reports have not yet been published. Stay tuned to this thread for the latest findings.

by Beverly

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