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75,000 year old jewelry beads

  1. Apr 17, 2004 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    75,000 year old "jewelry" beads

    I never knew about the spelling of "jewellery". :rolleyes:

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 17, 2004 #2
    Interestingly, this area of Africa is as far from the equator as Japan is.
  4. Apr 17, 2004 #3


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    very cool! i am a "jewellry" maker myself with thousands of beads in my collection...
  5. Apr 18, 2004 #4


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    Or Italy, or California.. that would be interesting because?..
  6. Apr 18, 2004 #5


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    Does anyone have an idea as to how they dated these beads?
  7. Apr 19, 2004 #6
    Blombos Cave shells dated via OSL

    They dated them with optically stimulated luminescence (OSL).

    • Here we report on 41 perforated tick shell
      (Nassarius kraussianus) beads (Fig. 1) recovered
      from the Middle Stone Age (MSA) levels
      at Blombos Cave, a site located on the southern
      Cape shoreline of the Indian Ocean (4). Phase
      M1, in which 39 beads were found, was dated
      to 75.6 ± 3.4 ka, by optically stimulated
      luminescence (OSL) signals from both single
      aliquots and 4800 individual quartz grains.
      Thermoluminescence dates for five burnt lithic
      samples from the same phase provide a mean
      age of 77 ± 6 ka (5). Two beads that may be
      intrusive come from the top of the underlying,
      and still undated, phase M2.

      The MSA tick shells cannot derive from
      the cave walls, are too small to be leftovers
      from human food, and were not brought to
      the site accidentally by animals, because their
      only known predator is a gastropod (Natica
      ) that lives, like N. kraussianus, only in
      estuarine environments. If the tick shells had
      been accidentally brought to the cave site
      from 20-km-distant estuaries in wracks of
      dead Zostera capensis, a grass used for bedding
      by Later Stone Age (LSA) huntergatherers,
      all age classes would have been
      present, whereas Blombos Cave MSA beads
      include shells of adults only (fig. S1)....

      Small objects may easily be displaced
      through archaeological layers, and perforated
      tick shells were also recovered at Blombos
      Cave from the more recent LSA layers. OSL
      measurements on 1892 individual quartz
      grains from the aeolian sand layer that separates
      the LSA and MSA levels (6) indicates
      no contamination by grains of different ages,
      contraindicating downward percolation of
      younger objects. Also, MSA beads are significantly
      larger (P < 0.0001) than those from
      LSA levels; the most common MSA perforation
      type is present on < 1% of the LSA
      shells; LSA beads do not have the wear facets
      found on MSA specimens; and only 5% of
      MSA beads have broken lips, compared to
      52% of LSA beads, suggesting that the latter
      were strung in a different way. MSA beads
      are dark orange or black, whereas those from
      the LSA are white or pale beige (fig. S1).
      MSA shells were found in clusters of 2 to 17
      beads, with each group clustering in the same
      or neighboring 50-by-50-cm quadrates. Within
      a group, shells display a similar size,
      shade, use-wear pattern, and perforation size.
      Each cluster may represent beads coming
      from the same beadwork item, lost or disposed
      during a single event.

    4. C. S. Henshilwood et al., J. Archaeol. Sci. 28, 4 21
    5. C. S. Henshilwood et al., Science 295, 1278 (2002).
    6. Z. Jacobs, A. G. Wintle, G. A. T. Duller, J. Hum. Evol.
    44, 613 (2003).

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 19, 2004
  8. Apr 19, 2004 #7

    Main Entry: jew·el·lery
    Pronunciation: -lri

    chiefly Britain
    variant of
  9. Apr 20, 2004 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    Blimey! :eek:

    Those silly Brits. When are they going to learn English?
  10. Apr 21, 2004 #9
  11. Apr 21, 2004 #10


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    Could be in the eye of the archaeologist beholder?
  12. Apr 21, 2004 #11
    They say it looks like an "expressive face", but the face looks like a mole's face to me. Then again, there are lots of stuff like this out there... "Hey! This onion ring looks like Jesus/Elvis/Lenin/Gorbachev/Superman"

    I agree with the bottom of the article that its probably just a byproduct of the earths rock cycle.
  13. Apr 22, 2004 #12
    And, believe me, the Brits say the same thing about Americans. My English teacher is a Brit, and she wouldn't let me spell color as color. It has to be colour. Of course, our country was once a British colony, so British spelling is still more prevalent, although the Internet is starting to change that. I personally have no qualms as to how words are spelled, as long as they're right in either American or British spelling.
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