an international team of scientists found that 33 thousand years ago, a South African hunter-gatherers exchanged ornaments from the eggshell the same way as today we exchange likes in social networking or friendship bracelets.
In the new work archaeologists have studied fragments of beads, found on the territory of Lesotho. This mountainous Kingdom, completely surrounded by the territory of the Republic of South Africa.
Anthropologists have long known that today’s hunter-gatherers exchange beads from ostrich eggs, to strengthen interpersonal communication. For example, this tradition is Bushmen in the Kalahari desert.
However, the scientists were surprised to find in Lesotho like ancient jewellery. The fact is, in the highlands ostriches do not live.
in addition, there were no fragments of beads or unprocessed eggshell – evidence that the jewelry was made in the area where he was found.
Almost 80% of the beads found were in Lesotho from other regions.Photo By John Klausmeyer, Yuchao Zhao, Brian Stewart.
Then the scientists decided to find out the origin of the artifacts. To do this, they conducted an analysis of the detected objects on the isotopes of strontium.
according to professionals, the isotope strontium-87 is a subsidiary of the radioactive isotope rubidium-87: the first is formed by the decay of the second.
for More ancient rocks, such as granite and gneiss, contain more strontium than younger rocks, e.g. basalt.
Atoms of strontium are extracted from land plants, which are in turn eaten by animals, including ostriches. Strontium gets into their body, and then in the egg shell. Thus, its isotopic analysis can provide important clues to scientists.
Using samples of plants and soil, and modern tooth enamel of rodents (from Museum collections), the researchers established a baseline “signals strontium” throughout the hotel.and Lesotho and in the surrounding areas.
he drew a map that helped scientists to understand the origin of certain fragments of ostrich eggshell.
it was found that almost 80% of the beads found were in Lesotho from other regions located at a distance of from 325 to 1,000 kilometers.
“Beads from ostrich egg shell and made of them decorations in the stone age he worked mainly as a [modern] the “likes” in Facebook or Twitter,” – said the head of the research group archaeologist Brian Stewart (Brian Stewart) from the University of Michigan.
At the same time such products have confirmed connection with the exchange partners and others informed about the availability of these relations, adds the scientist.
it is Noteworthy that the ancient people exchanged beads in the period of climatic upheaval, about 59-29 thousand years ago.
According to Stuart, decorations helped hunter-gatherers of the “environmentally complementary” regions to cooperate: with the deterioration of climatic conditions, one group received access to the resources of another group and Vice versa.
“Those metabolic network could be used to obtain information about resources, status of landscapes, of animals, of vegetable food, other people and perhaps marriage partners,” said Stewart.
Article on the results of this study published in the journal PNAS.
by the Way, before “News.Science” (nauka.vesti.ru) talked about prehistoric piercing, jewelry Paleolithic Neanderthal and “dead hangers”.