Seashells from 7000-year-old grave indicate cloth adornment

Neolithic burial found in Avignon, France, was found with 158 shells and 16 red deer teeth indicating that his cloths were adorned with the objects and that the Neolithic population traded with these items between distant locations.

Seashells found by the skeleton(by Aurélie Zemour)

The individual from the grave was between 20-50 years old and measured 165 centimetres in height. He lived in the area of present Avignon between 4950 and 4800 BC. The study of the grave lead to the identification of a garment adorned with sophisticated embroidery using 158 red-coloured shells and 16 red deer canines. The seashells were taken from a species called Columbella rustica, a sea snail found across shores in the Mediterranean. They were sewn onto the jacket in rows forming an alternating pattern, with shells facing either up or down. The 16 teeth may have been deliberately painted red, according to a chemical analysis of the jacket.

Columbella rustica sea snail shells (by Aurélie Zemour)

The grave of the man was first discovered in the 1970s and has been stored at the Calvet Museum, Avignon, until now.  Scientists studied the jacket using 3D laser recording and field anthropological methods. According to the researchers the unique combination of sea shells and teeth could indicate that Europeans living in the Stone Age traded across natural land borders.

(after Daily Mail Online, International Business Times & Aurélie Zemour)

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