82,000 year old jewellery found
Posted: 06 June 2007 04:01 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Archaeologists from Oxford have discovered what are thought to be the oldest examples of human decorations in the world.

The international team of archaeologists, led by Oxford University’s Institute of Archaeology, have found shell beads believed to be 82,000 years old from a limestone cave in Morocco.

Institute director Prof Nick Barton said: “Bead-making in Africa was a widespread practice at the time, which was spread between cultures with different stone technology by exchange or by long-distance social networks.

“A major question in evolutionary studies today is ‘how early did humans begin to think and behave in ways we would see as fundamentally modern?’ “The appearance of ornaments such as these may be linked to a growing sense of self-awareness and identity among humans and cultural innovations must have played a large role in human development.”

The handmade beads were found at the Grotte des Pigeons, Taforalt, in Eastern Morocco during a four to five year excavation in the region.

Prof Barton said the finds suggest that humans were making purely symbolic objects 40,000 years before they did it in Europe.

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Posted: 06 June 2007 04:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Those look awesome.

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Posted: 06 June 2007 05:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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That’s very cool. smile

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Posted: 07 June 2007 09:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Okay…I have an issue w/ this.  How do they KNOW they were made by HUMANS?  I have found many little shells on the beach.  All w/ the same holes in them.  Made by animals & the water, not HUMANS.  What makes them special enough to be deemed “jewelry” and not “junk” sitting in a cave?

And from the article is said they “appeared” to be suspended or hung.  Well, all those fake UFO photos APPEAR to be real at first.  Until you really start to dissect them.  And covered in red ochre??  I thought that was a naturally occuring substance.  Like DIRT.  Were they covered in dirt, too??  B/c that just makes me think they got covered by shit over lots of years in a cave.  Not that it’s 80K year old JEWELRY.

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Posted: 07 June 2007 09:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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There are probably tool marks on them.

Ochre is a pigment taken from clay. It has to be processed to remove the “dirt” from it, which would rule out it being randomly covered in the stuff. Finding these covered in red ochre suggests that they were painted with it at some point.

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Posted: 07 June 2007 10:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Or that they were just in close proximity to it.  Or that someone touched red ochre & then touched the beads…or that some bratty kid was playing in it & tracked into the house.  Ya know that stuff stains, right??

I’m sorry, I just HATE all the speculation that goes on when people find shit in the ground.  They assume it’s this big deal b/c it’s…IN THE GROUND…when really…it’s inevitable.  If something is left outside long enough…it gets covered in dirt (or eaten by a tree…whatever).  Even stuff left inside…gets covered in dust…and if that dust should be contaminated w/ any dampness (like rain or humidity)...it gets to be gooey dust…which attracts more dust…until you have this thing covered in an inch of dusty-dirty crud stuff…and someone cleans it off & it’s a friggin’ miracle.

ARGH!  This is why I hate watching the history discovery stuff.  All the damn speculation & no one can even give you any specific facts about it that can be proven.  “Ah, what we have here, is ah, a nomadic tribal ceremonial medicine bowl.  Probably left here by the Wikipedia people, over 3,000 years ago.  See, here, ah, we have this marking that clearly indicates it was licked by a tribal priestess w/ green eyes…and a hang nail.  Ah, what you’ll find is that these things are remarkably preserved by this special layer of dirt, called dirt…and ah, most likely left here as a symbolic sacrifice to the, ah, goddess Wikiwatchee, who uh, would probably have been about 10 feet tall & wore only fish scales on her breasts.  Ah…yes.”

Really??  Ya got ALL that from a dirt sample??  I don’t think so.  Without any actual record…these people are speculating on what they HOPE is something that’s a big deal.  I think it would be funny as Hell for some old bones to wake up & start speaking to the damn museum idiots that are convinced something happened, b/c of this random bits of “evidence” laying around…and have it say, “What the Hell are you thinking?”

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Posted: 07 June 2007 10:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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You are confusing the ochre itself with the clay it is made from. It is a pigment made from processing clay. It is possible that an artifact could be found buried in the clay ochre is made from, but “red ochre” itself has to be made.

There is a scientific process that is gone through to determine whether something is indeed an artifact or just debris, you just don’t always get the details of such processes in programs on cable or in mainstream news stories because quite frankly, it would either go over most peoples heads or make for a boring read/tv program.

As I said before, there are probably tool marks on the beads. This is not a unique find, or even the oldest such beads found (I don’t know why this article is saying they are the oldest when others have been found that date 100k years ago). Other nassarius bead have been found in other areas with similar markings and similar traces of red ochre. Some have even been found in areas that aren’t close enough to the sea for them to have been deposited there by accident.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5099104.stm

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Posted: 07 June 2007 11:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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That was just one issue I have w/ this “amazing find”.  Okay…so the beads came into contact w someone who processed red ochre.  Fine.  It still doesn’t mean they are anymore special than a piece of fabric I have that has come into contact w/a magic marker.

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Posted: 07 June 2007 11:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Chances are, if beads came in contact with someone who was processing red ochre it would be because they were being painted with it wink

Even if it was a random transferance (I won’t go into why that is highly improbable) like your fabric with magic marker, your fabric would still be considered special if it were found 100k years from now in a dig. Even more so, because it was fabric. smile

Whether the beads were special to the people who used them or not isn’t really the point. The point is that these beads are very old and the fact that they existed at all back then offers some insight into the psychology of our ancestors. Your fabric sullied with magic marker would also offer insight into our daily lives to future archeologists/anthropologists, assuming that no written records would remain of our culture 100k years from now.

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Posted: 07 June 2007 12:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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“Ochre” is a name for a number of iron oxides that can form under a number of specific conditions in a number of sub-forms. When you find it in a context that neither confirms to these formative contexts nor to a type of natural secondary deposit, you can bet it was brought there for a purpose, this either being as a pigment or for example for use in the treatment of animal hides.

Taphonomic analysis is standard in archaeological research nowadays, so when these researchers opinion the ochre is not a natural occurrence, they will have good reasons for it. Likewise, they will have good reasons from microscopic examination of the holes to judge them drilled as opposed to naturally damaged.

That being said: if these beads were found in association with Neandertal remains, they would probably be less easily accepted as evidence for the kind of things discussed here. There is still quite a double standard concerning the archaeology of “anatomically Modern humans” on the one side and other prehistoric humans (like Neandertals) on the other side.

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