Recently archaeologists discovered beads in a cave in South Africa dating back 75,000 years. These beads from the Middle Stone Age period were made from shells, pierced and strung. The beads could have been used either to decorate clothing, worn as jewellery or even as some prehistoric method of bookkeeping.
Lead author Professor Christopher Henshilwood reported in 2004 issue of ‘Science’ journal:“These beads are symbolic, and symbolism equates with modern human behaviour,”he went on to quote:“Now we have evidence at 75,000 years ago for people to be able to store information outside the brain, in an artificial information device like a book or a computer,”
“We don’t know exactly how they were used, but we do know that in all instances where beads are used in hunter-gatherer societies, the beads have meaning. They are not merely decoration.”
Even jewellery communicates information, , Henshilwood argued.
“If you are wearing a Bulgari necklace, you are making a statement,” he said. “Or a rosary.”
The importance of the bead find suggest that intellectually modern human beings descend not from Europe as scientists had previously suggested but originate from Africa.