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A: Haifa District, Israel

Nassarius Shell Beads Are the Earliest Known Forms of Human Adornment

Circa 132000 to 98000 BCE
<div class="embed-image__caption">Skhul Shell Beads, Skhul, Israel. Photo by James Di Loreto, &amp; Donald H. Hurlbert, Smithsonian Institution.</div>
Skhul Shell Beads, Skhul, Israel. Photo by James Di Loreto, & Donald H. Hurlbert, Smithsonian Institution.

Nassarius shell beads discovered in Es Skhūl, Israel in 1928 by a team led by Dorothy Garrod and Dorothea Bate are thought to be the earliest surviving forms of human adornment. Assemblages of perforated Nassarius shells, a marine species significantly different from local fauna, have been recovered from the area, suggesting that Es Skhul people may have collected and employed the shells symbolically as beads, as they are unlikely to have been used as food.

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