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Thread: Shell Beads from Blombos Cave (South Africa): Oldest Well-Dated Jewelry

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    Shell Beads from Blombos Cave (South Africa): Oldest Well-Dated Jewelry

    Shell beads from Blombos Cave in South Africa may be the oldest, well-dated examples of jewelry, according to a new study that supports an early emergence of modern humanity in the 16 April 2004 issue of the journal Science.

    Approximately 75,000 years ago, people living near the shores of the southern tip of Africa bore holes into tick shells, strung them together and wore them as jewelry, according to Christopher Henshilwood and an international team of scientists. The pea-sized shells are from the Middle Stone Age levels in the cave that yielded abstract engravings on ochre from the same time period.

    The common holes in the shells and the patterns of wear define the shells as beads, the authors write. The archaeologists discovered the beads in clusters of similar size, shade and wear-use pattern. Each cluster may represent beads coming from the same jewelry item.

    Beadwork and art from the Middle Stone Age at Blombos Cave suggests the existence of a language capable of sharing and transmitting the symbolic meanings of these objects, according to the authors.

    Perforated tick shell beads (Nassarius kraussianus) from the Middle Stone Age of Blombos Cave.

    -Daniel Kane

    16 April 2004
    "slavic" languages are absolutely arteficial (Read "slawenlegende"). The "glagolica", invented by a bunch of monks, is nothing but an ancient esperanto, creating new words, definitions and alphabet out of regional slangs.

    The craddle of European Civilization comes from the North. All blond people originate from the north. So if you see a blond-blue eyed Slovene, Russian, Czech, Polak ect., you can be 100% sure that his ancient ancestors originated from "Germanics" (Germanic = Nordic).
    "slovenja" was the settelment of the Langobards = Germanics/Teutons. "Poland" of the Goths and East-Vandals ect. ect. What do "slavs" tell us about their origin?
    Some silly story that they originate from some swamps in the east and popped out of no where into history.

    So you see my dear "Gorostan" [=Triglav], you are in reality a "Germanic" indoctrinated with panslav propaganda and historic fantasy stories. ~Dr. Brandt, former TNP and Skadi member

  2. #2

    Nassarius Kraussianus Shell Beads from Blombos Cave: Evidence for Symbolic Behavior in the Middle Stone Age

    Nassarius kraussianus shell beads from Blombos Cave: evidence for symbolic behaviour in the Middle Stone Age

    Francesco d'Erricoa, Christopher, Marian Vanhaerend and Karen van Niekerke


    Since 1991, excavations at Blombos Cave have yielded a well-preserved sample of faunal and cultural material in Middle Stone Age (MSA) levels. The uppermost MSA phase, M1, is dated to c. 75 ka by optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) and thermoluminescence, and the middle M2 phase to a provisional c. 78 ka. Artefacts unusual in a MSA context from these phases include bifacial points, bone tools, engraved ochre and engraved bone. In this paper, we describe forty-one marine tick shell beads recovered from these MSA phases and tick shell beads from Later Stone Age (LSA) levels at Blombos Cave and the Die Kelders site. Thirty-nine shell beads come from the upper M1 phase and two from M2. Morphometric, taphonomic and microscopic analysis of modern assemblages of living and dead tick shell demonstrate that the presence of perforated Nassarius kraussianus shells in the Blombos MSA levels cannot be due to natural processes or accidental transport by humans. The types of perforation seen on the MSA shells are absent on modern accumulations of dead shells and not attributable to post-depositional damage. Their location, size, and microscopic features are similar to those obtained experimentally by piercing the shell wall, through the aperture, with a sharp bone point. Use-wear, recorded on the perforation edge, the outer lip, and the parietal wall of the aperture indicates the shells having being strung and worn. MSA shell beads differ significantly in size, perforation type, wear pattern and shade compared to LSA beads and this eliminates the possibility of mixing across respective levels.

    Thirty-one beads were found in four groups of five to twelve beads, each group being recovered in a single square or in two adjacent sub-squares during a single excavation day. Within a group, shells display a similar shade, use-wear pattern and perforation size suggesting their provenance from the same beadwork item, lost or disposed during a single event. The likely symbolic significance of these finds suggests levels of cognitively modern behaviour not previously associated with MSA people.
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