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Pigmented Shell Bead in Japan Dated to Paleolithic Period

Monday, October 25, 2021

NAHA, JAPAN—The Mainichi reports that a bead made of shell and red iron oxide pigment recovered from Sakitari-do Cave in southern Okinawa has been dated to 23,000 years ago by researchers at the Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum. The bead measures about one-half inch long and one-third inch wide. Fishhooks made of shell and other shell beads were also recovered at the site. Objects crafted during the Jomon period, some 15,000 years ago, had previously been Japan’s oldest-known artifacts to have been decorated with pigments. For more on the shell fishhooks from Sakitari, go to "Japan's Early Anglers."

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