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Ancient Shell Beads

Early Trade Routes?

These 82,000 year old Nassarius gibbosulus shell beads were discovered more than 40 km (25 mi) from the Mediterranean Sea, where they originated. By 40,000 years ago, humans were transporting decorative shells—and perhaps trading them—over distances of more than 500 km (310 mi).

Shell beads; Grotte des Pigeons, Taforalt, Morocco
<i>Nassarius gibbosulus/<i> shell beads found at Grotte des Pigeons, Taforalt, Morocco, about 82,000 years old, transported more than 40 km (25 mi).
Image Credit: James Di Loreto, & Donald H. Hurlbert, Smithsonian Institution
Ancient Shell Beads
Exhibit Item
Date of discovery:
Discovered by:
Site: Grotte des Pigeons, Taforalt, Morocco
Page last updated: February 9, 2016