20,000-Year-Old Fishhooks Found in East Timor

15 December, 2011 at 21:32 | Posted in Science | Leave a comment
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By Arshdeep Sarao
Epoch Times Staff

Researchers have unearthed fish remains, dating back to 42,000 years ago, along with fishhooks in East Timor. The fishhooks, dated to between 23,000 and 16,000 years old, are the earliest definitive evidence of fishing found to date.

A team of archaeologists, led by Dr. Susan O’Connor from Australian National University, carried out the excavations at Jerimalai, a cave on the coastline of East Timor.

So far, only two test pits, each with an area of one square meter (almost 11 sq. ft.), have been excavated, O’Connor told The Epoch Times in an e-mail. She said the team may return for more excavations.

“When we return we hope to get a much bigger sample of the types of hooks and other technological items,” O’Connor said.

Around half of the species of fish found in the older cave deposits were tuna, which live in deeper waters. The fishhooks were found in deposits that contained a greater proportion of shallow-water fish, such as trevallies and groupers, which are commonly caught with baited hooks.

The discovery is significant in understanding the maritime and fishing culture of humans from 42,000 years ago.

“They had much more advanced maritime skills than we had previously understood early modern humans to have,” O’Connor said.

“Capturing pelagic fish such as tuna requires high levels of planning and complex maritime technology. The evidence implies that the inhabitants were fishing in the deep sea,” the researchers wrote in their paper published in the journal Science on Nov. 25.

via 20,000-Year-Old Fishhooks Found in East Timor | Beyond Science | Science | Epoch Times

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