Even prehistoric people loved jewelry

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Artistic and design jewelry are really popular nowadays, but even in the prehistoric times, women and men valued these ornamental pieces of clothing so much they spent a lot of time carving and crafting their own beads, necklaces and more.

Stone beads

Materials such as bones and shells were common first, but then stoney also became popular (This file was donated to Wikimedia Commons as part of a project by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. See the Image and Data Resources Open Access Policy, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60895078)

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People have always loved jewelry, not only because they wanted to make themselves look prettier, but also, because they believed that some of these jewelries had some sort of magical and protecting powers. It's really interesting to see how much effort they put into creating these jewelries, in a time when surviving needed much of their energies and time. But then again, creative and artistic activities might also have been a good way to improve their mental health and cognitive abilities, such as it does nowadays.

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The Nassarius snail beads are an interesting example of early jewelry making. These artifacts date back to around 75,000-80,0000 years ago, and obviously, they are made of the shells of a sea snail that bears the name "Nassarius". The first known sea nail beads were discovered in Israel, but others were found in Morocco and on the Cape shoreline as well.

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Even before the snail beads, some Neanderthal populations might have made jewelry out of bones. In 2013, scientist found some interesting objects made out of eagle talons and bones. These objects dated back to some 130,000 years ago, and they also show that Neanderthals did have the ability to create small pieces of artwork, and might have been capable of symbolic thinking.

Africa really is home to hundreds of fantastic archaeological sites, especially when it comes to prehistorical artifacts. In Kenya, scientists found a really interesting necklace made out of the ostrich eggs' shells, dating back to some 40,000 years ago. To create this jewelry, prehistoric people had to make a plan first, then they had to shape the strong material to create the desired shapes by drilling it first. It really is something that required quite a lot of intuition by that time.

In the Altai region of Siberia scientists found a bracelet made out of a colorful stone, and it was so similar to jewelry found later that it really came as a surprise to find out that it actually dated back to some 40,000 years ago.

A. D.

December 2019