12000 Year Old Fish Hooks Discovered In A Burial Site

Posted: Dec 17 2017, 4:51am CST | by , Updated: Dec 17 2017, 4:55am CST, in News | Latest Science News

12000 Year Old Fishing Hooks Discovered in a Burial Site
Fish hooks with human remains. Credit: ANU

The find represents the oldest known funereal fishhooks

Archeologists working on Indonesia's Alor Island have discovered five ancient fish hooks. The fish hooks were found buried inside a woman’s grave dating back 12000 years. That makes them the world's oldest known fish-hooks placed in a burial ritual.

The items were carefully placed under the chin and around the jaws of a female and suggest that the people from Pleistocene era both men and women were involved in fishing activities.

Prior to this discovery, the oldest funeral fish-hook were found in Ershi cemetery in Siberia, which dates back only about 9,000 years.

“These are the oldest known fish-hooks associated with mortuary practices from anywhere in the world and perhaps indicate that fishing equipment was viewed as essential for transition to the afterlife in this area," said Sue O'Connor from Australian National University.

"The discovery shows that in both life and death, the Pleistocene inhabitants of the Alor Island region were intrinsically connected to the sea, and the association of the fish-hooks with a burial denotes the cosmological status of fishing in this island environment."

Researchers have found two different types of fish-hooks buried inside the grave: - a J-Shaped hook and four circular rotating hooks made from seashell. These fishing hooks look remarkably similar to the earliest samples of hooks found in Japan, Europe and East Timor, but they were not related to burial rituals.

Given the fact that Alor is a remote island and that its fishhooks were produced much later than the ones in other regions, it is likely that several communities developed the same fishing technology separately, rather than learning from each other through contact.

"The Alor hooks bear an uncanny resemblance to rotating hooks used in Japan, Australia, Arabia, California, Chile, Mexico and Oceania," Professor Sue O'Connor said.

"We argue that the same sort of artefact was developed independently because it was the most fitting form to suit the ecology, rather than through cultural diffusion."

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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