The oldest jewels of the world discovered

The oldest jewels of the world discovered

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If you are a jewelry lover, you may be fan of new information about it. While your wooden jewelry box is full of precious treasures, have you ever been interested in the first jewels created by Human?

In this article, you will answer to the following questions :

  • What do the oldest jewels in the world look like?
  • How old is it?
  • Where were they found?

All these questions come to mind when the scientific community has declared the identity of the oldest jewels in the known world. They were discovered more than a century ago! However, recent expertise has made it possible to specify their date of creation. 


What do the oldest jewels in the world look like?

Wisely arranged in small cardboard box, it waited for scientist to discover their true nature. They are eight white-tailed eagle greenhouses that were made by the Neanderthals, long time before the appearance of modern man in Europe.

Cutting, polishing and abrasion marks suggest that these claws were shaped to be made into jewelry. Scientists were able to establish that they belonged to three different birds. However, they could not determine whether they were part of necklaces or bracelets. It may have been pendants for an amulet! Or perhaps it was preserved for their rarity and aesthetics in the same way as gemstone today. The mystery remains!

Where were the oldest jewels in the world found? Where are it now ?

The site in Krapina, Croatia, conceals, among other things, the bone remains of some 80 individuals. It is the richest collection of Neanderthal fossils discovered in the world. 

In 2013, Davorka Radovcic set herself the task of re-examining this collection of objects discovered 115 years ago. Assisted by two Croatian colleagues, Ankica Oros Srsen and Jakov Radovcic, and an American professor of anthropology at the University of Kansas, David Frayer, the researcher carefully studied the eight samples.

"These are, at least for now, the oldest jewels in the world," says Radovcic, curator at the Museum of Natural History in Zagreb. The eagle talons have been kept here since their discovery.

When were the oldest jewels in the world discovered? How old are they?

The Croatian site had been discovered in 1899 by the Croatian paleontologist Dragutin Gorjanovic Kramberger. It has therefore been more than 100 years since the oldest jewels in the world have been preserved in Croatia.

The latest studies by scientists have confirmed that they were created 130,000 years ago. They dethrone the shell necklaces, modeled 110 000 years ago, which were considered until then as the oldest jewels. They came from prehistoric sites discovered in Israel (Skhul and Qafzeh). However, they have the particularity of having been shaped by the ancestors of modern man. They have also been the subject of several expertises. Indeed, they were first estimated to be 25,000 years old before further studies were conducted.

The Neanderthal Man, a jewelry lover

These Krapina jewels confirm several studies that Neanderthals had the capacity for abstract thought, contrary to a general idea of our time describing them as "rough" and "stupid".

In the caves used by the Neanderthals, archaeologists also found rings, bracelets and pendants made of ivory and antler. The analysis of collagen, an important protein component isolated from the bones unearthed near these jewels, shows without a doubt that they belonged to Neanderthals exactly at the time when they coexisted with modern man.

It is in contact with the latter that Neanderthal jewelry became much more diversified and appeared more frequently. Originally, their jewelry consisted of pieces of bone, snail and egg shells, shells, teeth and small fossils. They were largely necklaces whose components were assembled by animal tendons. The components were either pierced or provided with grooves for a solid assembly. Thereafter, it included among others shells coming from the Mediterranean Sea, which proves trade of luxury objects at a great distance. What the Neanderthals could offer in return - perhaps dried meat - is of course unknown.

For 250,000 years, the Neanderthals inhabited parts of Europe, Central Asia and what is now the Near East. The reasons for their complete disappearance some 40,000 years ago are still the subject of debate. According to some theories, extremely cold winters are the cause. Other specialists believe that they were surpassed by modern man (Homo sapiens), more intelligent and sophisticated, who had invaded the territory populated by Neanderthals arriving from what is now Africa.


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