She Sells Sea Shells

Around 100,000 years back, if the woman had “headache”, the man knew the trick to make it disappear – jewelry. While people thought that such creative thinking started only about 50,000 years back, new discoveries are changing the timeframe.

An international team of archaeologists, in an article in Friday’s issue of the journal Science, reported their analysis of small shells with distinctive perforations that appeared to have been strung together as ornamental beads. Chemical study showed that the two shells from the Skhul rock shelter in Israel were more than 100,000 years old, and the single shell from Oued Djebbana, in Algeria, was about 90,000 years old. [Shell Jewelry said to be 100,000 years old]

The article also notes that the sites where the shells were found were far from the sea shore indicating that they were bought there intentionally. This could mean that there could be an industry of shell making in all these regions. This shell making industry was found in India also, but not in the timeframe of the sites in Israel and Algeria. In 2004, a Harappan site was found in the small town of Bagasara in Gujarat. This site which dates back to 2500 B.C was found to have a shell making workshop, fortifications, and knives with bone handles.

Shell bangles have been found before but not a workshop with a such a concentration of shells. The presence of the workshop reveals that the shells were cut and polished into fine bangles. Several heaps of sacred conch shells along with thousands of shell circles systematically cut from these shells have been discovered. Workshops of faience and lapidary stone beads have also been found. [Parallel rural civilization to Harappa]

A similar industry dating to about 1800 BCE was found in Bet Dwaraka as well.

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