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“Humanity’s oldest gem” discovered in Morocco

U.S.A."Humanity's oldest gem" discovered in Morocco

Morocco announced this Thursday the discovery of “humanity’s oldest jewels” “between 142,000 and 150,000 years old” near the Essaouira seaside resort (southwest).

A group of paleontologists unveiled several necklaces and bracelets made of tiny perforated shells of red ocher color that were found a few weeks ago in the Bizamoune Cave near Essaouira.

“They are humanity’s oldest gems,” said Moroccan researcher Abdeljalil Bouzougar, a professor at the National Institute of Archeology and Heritage Sciences (INSAP).

The discovery was made by an international team composed of INSAP in Rabat, University of Arizona (Tucson, USA) and the Mediterranean Laboratory of Prehistory Europe Africa (CNRS and University of Aix-Marseille, southern France).

It is “a great discovery for Morocco and humanity”, said Mohamed Mehdi Bensaid, Morocco’s minister of culture, who stressed that it provided information about “the first civilizations”.

They are “the oldest known in the world“, the researcher explained, underlining that the shells would have also served as a means of communication.

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“This was the first time that humans used their bodies as a medium, either to communicate with each other or with members of other groups, more or less away from their place of origin,” he said.

According to Bauzauger, the humans in question collected shells on shoreline beaches.

“There are many species of shells, but they went here in Morocco, in Algeria, to look for a single species, in deposits from 35,000 years ago, in South Africa, in deposits from 75,000 years ago, or in Israel, in deposits 135,000 years ago,” he said.

In his opinion, “it means that these peoples shared something with each other. Perhaps a language had emerged.”

The researcher recalled that “one of the oldest Homo sapiens in the world” was identified in Morocco. / mb

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