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Is this stunning bracelet made by Paleolithic man for his favourite woman really 70,000 years old?

By The Siberian Times reporter
02 August 2017

Startling new scientific evidence is to be reviewed by international experts which - if true - would transform our knowledge of the skills and sophistication of early man.

A stunning discovery by team of Novosibirsk Institute of Archeology and Ethnography. Picture: Anatoly Derevyanko

It is already known as the oldest stone bracelet in the world, believed to have been made not by ancient Homo sapiens but the extinct Denisovan species of early humans,  and previously  dated as being between 40,000 - 50,000 years old.

The bracelet was found in 2008 in so-called Stratum 11 of world famous Denisova cave in the Altai region of Siberia.

New findings suggest it could be 65,000 to 70,000 years old, long before ancient people were believed to capable of making such remarkable objects.

Maksim Kozlikin, a researcher form the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, Novosibirsk, indicated Australian specialists were among those to obtain exceptional results on the bracelet's age. 

'Preliminary results have been received to date Stratum 11 where the bracelet was found to 65,000-to-70,000 years,' he said. 

'So it all goes towards changing the dating of the find to more ancient.'

It is understood that further checks were made, and the results were 'verified and verified again', according to one Russian report, citing scientists involved with the bracelet. 

'Scientists are certain that multiple big headlines are coming up,' reported Novosibirsk TV Channel 10.

This month experts from Russia will meet scientists from the University of Wollongong in Australia, and University of Oxford in the UK. 

Professor Mikhail Shunkov, director of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, said: 'Our colleagues from Australia and Oxford are coming here in August, we will be discussing the dating then.'

Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?


Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?


Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?
'The bracelet is stunning - in bright sunlight it reflects the sun rays, at night by the fire it casts a deep shade of green'. Pictures: Anatoly Derevyanko, Konstantin Tynayev


The bracelet was exhibited in Paris this year, carrying a label showing it to be 50,000 years old with the approval of scientists.

'Made 50,000 ago, for this kind of object and with the (known) level of technologies... this is (already) a world-level phenomenon,' said Dr Shunkov. 

He said consensus on the age would be announced after the experts had discussed the dating, and that a major scientific journal study was expected.

'Until then, I will refrain saying anything,' he said, adding that some data was 'ambiguous' and required clarification.

'If or when we agree, we will have to prepare a publication first,' he said.

Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?


Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?


Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?


Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?


Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?
Dr Shunkov and Denisova Cave in The Altai Mountains. Pictures: The Siberian Times 


Efforts by The Siberian Times to reach the Australian scientists on their dating work were unsuccessful. 

The bracelet is thought to have adorned a very important woman or child on only special occasions. 

Scientists conclude it was made by our prehistoric human ancestors, the Denisovans, and shows them to have been far more advanced than ever realised.

'The bracelet is stunning - in bright sunlight it reflects the sun rays, at night by the fire it casts a deep shade of green,' said Professor Anatoly Derevyanko, the institute's former director. 

'It is unlikely it was used as an everyday jewellery piece. I believe this beautiful and very fragile bracelet was worn only for some exceptional moments,' he said. 

Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?
What made the discovery especially striking was that the manufacturing technology is more common to a much later period, such as the Neolithic era. Picture: Konstantin Tynayev


The bracelet was found inside the famous Denisova Cave, in the Altai Mountains, which is renowned for its palaeontological finds dating back to the Denisovans, known as homo altaiensis, an extinct species of humans genetically distinct from Neanderthals and modern humans.

Made of chlorite, the bracelet was found in the same layer as the remains of some of the prehistoric people and is thought to belong to them.

What made the discovery especially striking was that the manufacturing technology is more common to a much later period, such as the Neolithic era. 

Indeed, it is not clear yet how the Denisovans could have made the bracelet with the skills they had. 

Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?


Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?


Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?
'Next to the hole on the outer surface of the bracelet can be seen clearly a limited polished zone of intensive contact with some soft organic material,' said Dr Derevyanko. Pictures: Anatoly Derevyanko


Writing in the Novosibirsk magazine, Science First Hand, Dr Derevyanko said: 'Two fragments of the bracelet of a width of 2.7cm and a thickness of 0.9 cm were found. The estimated diameter of the find was 7cm. 

'Near one of the cracks was a drilled hole with a diameter of about 0.8 cm. Studying them, scientists found out that the speed of rotation of the drill was rather high, fluctuations minimal, and that was there was applied drilling with an implement - technology that is common for more recent times.

'The ancient master was skilled in techniques previously considered not characteristic for the Paleolithic era, such as drilling with an implement, boring tool type rasp, grinding and polishing with a leather and skins of varying degrees of tanning.'

Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?


Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?


Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?
Сonsensus on the age would be announced after the experts had discussed the dating, and that a major scientific journal study was expected. Pictures: Konstantin Tynayev 


Chlorite was not found in the vicinity of the cave, and is thought to have come from a distance of at least 200km, showing how valued the material was at the time.

Dr Derevyanko said the bracelet had suffered damage, including visible scratches and bumps although it looked as if some of the scratches had been sanded down.

Experts also believe that the piece of jewellery had other adornments to make it more beautiful.

'Next to the hole on the outer surface of the bracelet can be seen clearly a limited polished zone of intensive contact with some soft organic material,' said Dr Derevyanko. 

'Scientists have suggested that it was a leather strap with some charm, and this charm was rather heavy.

'The location of the polished section made it possible to identify the 'top' and 'bottom' of the bracelet and to establish that it was worn on the right hand.'

Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?
Professor Anatoly Derevyanko, former director of Novosibirsk Institute of Archeology and Ethnography


Redating the age of the bracelet would also mean other items found in the same layer were also older.

A striking example is a Paleolithic needle now dated at 50,000 years.

This is also seen as be made by the extinct Denisovans.

Located some 150 km south of Barnaul, the the cave has immense palaeontological importance. 

Over the years a number of remains have been found there, including some of extinct animals such as the woolly mammoth. In total evidence of 66 different types of mammals have been discovered inside, and 50 bird species.

The most exciting discovery was the remains of the Denisovans, a species of early humans that dated back as early as 600,000 years ago and were different to both Neanderthals and modern man.

In 2000 a tooth from a young adult was found in the cave and in 2008, when the bracelet was found, archaeologists discovered the finger bone of a juvenile Denisovan hominin, whom they dubbed the 'X woman'. 

Further examination of the site found other artifacts dating as far back as 125,000 years.

Dr Shunkov has suggested that the bracelet indicates the Denisovans - though now extinct - were more advanced than Homo sapiens and Neanderthals.

'In the same layer, where we found a Denisovan bone, we found interesting things; until then it was believed these the hallmark of the emergence of Homo sapiens,' he said. 

'First of all, there were symbolic items, such as jewellery - including the stone bracelet as well as a ring, carved out of marble.'

'These finds were made using technological methods - boring stone, drilling with an implement, grinding - that are traditionally considered typical for a later time, and nowhere in the world they were used so early, in the paleolithic era. At first, we connected the finds with a progressive form of modern human, and now it turned out that this was fundamentally wrong. 

'Obviously it was  Denisovans, who left these things.'

Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?


Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?


Could this stunning bracelet be 65,000-to-70,000 years old?
The 7 centimetre (2 3/4 inch) needle was made and used by our long extinct Denisovan ancestors


This indicated that 'the most progressive of the triad' (Homo sapiens, Homo Neanderthals and Denisovans) were Denisovans, who according to their genetic and morphological characters were much more archaic than Neanderthals and modern human.' 

But could this modern-looking bracelet have been buried with older remains, perhaps dug into the cave floor in a later era to hide it?

The experts considered this possibility but rejected it, saying they believe the layers were uncontaminated by human interference from a later period. The soil around the bracelet was also dated using oxygen isotopic analysis.

The unique bracelet is now held by the Museum of History and Culture of the Peoples of Siberia and the Far East in Novosibirsk. 

Irina Salnikova, head the museum, said of the bracelet: 'I love this find. The skills of its creator were perfect. Initially we thought that it was made by Neanderthals or modern humans, but it turned out that the master was Denisovan, at least in our opinion.'

Comments (20)

What beautiful, intricate work!

We only guess the who, what & wherefores germane to the item; such as the story of it's use; who wore it and 'what did it mean' to the wearer.

But regardless, it is such an object that intoxicates us with a sense of wonder.

Great work. Best of luck in the future investigations, excavations.
Denis Ovan, Manchester, England.
03/10/2017 12:01
0
0
All due respect the bracelet is a pretty good idea but considering the fact that the individual who made this item was highly advanced I would assume they'd also have had common sense to know if they wore that stone bracelet, even occasionally for it to have wear on it, they'd break it easily at some point due to the environment not being so dainty like lol. In my opinion could it possibly be a hair decor that wraps around the hair whether it be up in a bun or braid and the "needles" they found are actually the bone that goes through the holes carved into the stone and the hole at the end of the needle is an area to leave a dangling charm/stone at the end...Hmmmm...something to think about and entertain. Awesome news to read. Us natives in the southwest were at one time considered "savages" and uncivilized in this country, yet our people were eating and drinking out of some badass pottery in Mesa Verde, CO nd Chaco Canyon NM, lol. Never judge a book by its cover
The wonderer, Southwestern Pueblo Rez, USA
21/09/2017 16:40
0
0
I wish I had a dime for every time people jump to conclusions. Jumping to conclusions must have given Homo Sapiens an evolutionary edge I guess.

They do not 'think' the strata is disturbed. Well and good, but more sites are needed to validate that.
Tom, Pennsyvania USA
01/09/2017 06:12
0
6
Wow! This isn't a contest people. Seems like no one is happy these days unless they can be angry at some group. In this case people are actually trading insults about whether 'modern humans'were better than 'neanderthals' or 'denisovans'. Give it up please. Do you not see how ridiculous this looks and is? There's even a stab at male/female relations here. How do we know that a woman didn't make this bracelet for a man? People have been leaving Africa constantly for a million years. Some colonies took; some didn't. There was a spectrum of humanity during this time. It's only us that feels the need to categorize everything. Soon we will discover another variety of human. Why is it that I can have 3% 'neanderthal' today but someone 60,000 years ago couldn't have 3% 'modern human' or 24% 'denisovan' or whatever?
Erik Bosma, Mission, BC, Canada
27/08/2017 05:27
4
0
Both Neanderthal and Denisovan were way ahead of 'us' for the major part of the stretch. 'Us' being anatomically modern humans. I feel it's important to realise that unadmixed modern humans have gone extinct, either outcompeted or absorbed by Denisovan/Neanderthal/AMH-hybrids, of whom modern man is a derived sample. And even that is not the entire picture: ancient lineages contributed to these hybrids that we are yet to classify. AMH is just a term, but hardly a reality ... High time to get our heads out of our arses!
jaap, st margarethen, austria
10/08/2017 03:43
4
0
happy cave wife, happy life.
,
09/08/2017 10:17
5
0
Let us at least be full of wonder. I have no preconceived thoughts and very happy to see the care and thought that will progress. The bracelet has itself a powerful grace. Eager to know more,
Hazel, Scotland
08/08/2017 01:29
9
0
According to the National Geographic Genographic Project I have Denisovan, Neanderthal and Homo sapiens,and my chromosomes reveal ancestors from Southwest Asia, Mediterranean and Northern Europe, but my parents were from the British Isles. I would like to learn of more detail concerning dispersal of Deniovans genes. Thank you for this article and please keep the research progressing.
Edward J. Garrison, Stockton, California, USA
07/08/2017 21:07
4
0
Great article. I can't stand it when people who don't really understand archaeology or don't finish the article, make inane comments about the subject. Keep up the good work folks! I notice the same recurring pattern lately and that is the surprise that "primitive" peoples weren't as primitive in some ways as we thought. That's our arrogance talking...
Kimberly McAllister, United States
07/08/2017 12:29
4
0
I'm a police detective and if you find something at the scene that tells you unequivocally it comes from a different location you do not ignore that and place the object in your report at the scene. Unfortunately, over the years archaeologist have been more concerned about getting published than with presenting the obvious facts. I'll let the reader be a detective and figure out what I'm talking about.
Dave O, US
06/08/2017 00:17
6
4
We can't connect this bracelet to Denisovans with total certainty. Neanderthals also spent time in the cave, and it could have be manufactured elsewhere and brought to the cave, perhaps from a long distance and through many hands. Recent findings have also chosen that Homo sapiens made at least two failed attempts to leave Africa before being successful some 60 000 years ago. One of these attempts reached China, thanks to solidly dated modern human teeth dated to 80 000 - 90 000 years ago. Although these first attempts failed, they left a genetic mark in both Denisovans and the Neanderthals, in the latter replacing the original mitochondrial maternal lineages with modern human ones. So, its possible that this bracelet was made by modern humans or with technology that was acquired from modern humans.
Raimo Kangasniemi, Finland
05/08/2017 06:28
6
4
I read where the Russians have said there are even more items to be revealed that have come from layer 11 in the Denisova Cave. In the article above there is mention of a ring carved out of marble also found there. Could this be the next bombshell. Could this be the next nail in the coffin of those who think early men/women were just a bunch of grunting savages until Homo sapiens came along.
Tom Baldwin, Cedar City, Utah, USA
05/08/2017 00:59
7
0
But the cave they found the bracelet wasn't occupied by Homo sapiens around 50000 years ago; so it is more likely to be Denisovans. Interestingly, native Melanesians and native Australian Aboriginals are the only present day humans to have any substantial Denisovan DNA.
Joe Lewis, Australia
04/08/2017 16:50
11
1
So we now have multiple examples of Ancient Denisovan's being considerably more advanced than modern humans were tens of thousands of years ago yet we're so ridiculously arrogant that we somehow 'know' for a fact all ancient megalithic structures were all made by modern humans, we really are a complete joke. It's embarrassing, we know basically nothing about ancient history but refuse to admit it!!!
The Splean, Melbourne Australia
04/08/2017 11:11
19
5
So we now have multiple examples of Ancient Denisovan's being considerably more advanced than modern humans were tens of thousands of years ago yet we're so ridiculously arrogant that we somehow 'know' for a fact all ancient megalithic structures were all made by modern humans, we really are a complete joke. It's embarrassing, we know basically nothing about ancient history but refuse to admit it!!!
The Splean, Melbourne Australia
04/08/2017 10:48
11
2
12

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