Neanderthals & Shell Beads

I was interested to read that perforated shells used as beads  were discovered in an archaeologic site in south-east Spain.  Besides being perforated by a tool, some of them were stained with hematite, a red colorant.  The shells date from the Middle Paleolithic around 48,500 years ago.  Analysis by a prominent archeologist confirmed they were used as neck pendants.   The practice of body ornamentation is widely accepted by archaeologists as conclusive evidence of modern behavior and symbolic thinking among early modern humans, but had not been recognized in Neanderthals until this discovery. Credit: João Zilhao, University of Bristol.

Some tastes haven’t changed in 48,500 years.  Why abandon a good thing?

Large vintage carved mother of pearl spiral flower pendant
Vintage hand carved tortoise shell pendant
Vintage W. African clam shell heishes
Vintage natural mother of pearl disks in a gradient of colors

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