Courtesy University of Wollongong
Archaeologists have uncovered a 2,000-year-old natural pearl from an aboriginal site on the north Kimberley coast of Western Australia.
The pink-and-gold pearl is 5 mm in diameter and is nearly spherical. Radiocarbon dating of surrounding materials determined the age, and a micro CAT scan determined that it was natural.
Oyster shells are common finds even in the interior areas of the country because they were integral in indigenous rainmaking ceremonies. But the pearl find was unique, Kat Szabó, an associate professor at the University of Wollongong and part of the team that found the pearl, told Agence France-Presse.
“Natural pearls are very rare in nature and…we’ve never found a natural pearl before,” Szabó said. “The location makes it particularly significant because the Kimberley coast of Australia is synonymous with pearling and has been for the better part of the last century.”
The pearl will be on display at the Western Australian Maritime Museum in Perth later this month.