The Beauty of 50,000-Year-Old Beads

Historical jewelry is spectacular, even when it is simple

Archaeologists in Russia have found several small, plain beads in a cave in Siberia. The discovery is notable because the beads are estimated to be about 50,000 years old.

The beads, which were found in the Denisova cave, are made from ostrich eggshells, reports the Siberian Times. They measure approximately 1 cm. in diameter; the hole in the bead is approximately 1 mm.

“This is an amazing piece of work,” said Maksim Kozlikin, researcher at the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, Novosibirsk, according the Times. “The ostrich eggshell is quite robust material, but the holes in the beads must have been made with a fine stone drill. For that time, we consider this to be an exquisite jewelry work of a very talented artist.”

Kozlikin believes that the beads were either sewn onto clothing or part of a bracelet or necklace.

Similar beads have been found in South Africa; archaeologists do not know if the beads originated elsewhere or were traded.

The simple beads are an exceptional reminder that humans have valued jewelry for many thousands of years.  

(Photo courtesy of Maksim Kozlikin)

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