World’s oldest fishhooks found in cave in Nanjo
Archaeologists have unearthed 23,000-year-old fishhooks in Sakitari Cave in Nanjo City. The limestone cave is located at a sightseeing site Gangala Valley in Tamagusuku.
The Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum announced the discovery Saturday.
The fishhook is about 1.4cm long. It is made of a trochidae shell, using the bottom part of the shell and has a sharpened edge. Archaeologists also found sandstone used for grinding the hooks, and an unfinished fishhook from the same stratum.
The hooks were discovered in 2012, and their age was identified using radioactive carbon dating. Bones of scarus, a large parrot fish, and giant mottled eels that may have been caught using the fishhooks were also fund at the site.
They also found an infant’s bone that dates back 30,000 years. Sakitari Cave is located next to Yamashita Cave where relicts of people who supposedly existed about 36,500 years ago have been found. Excavations in the area have revealed that Paleolithic men, who caught fish from the sea and rivers, lived in the area about 20,000 years continuously. The finds indicate that there used to be an original culture on Okinawa during the Paleolithic era. The investigation to the discoveries is expected to unravel facts of Japanese Paleolithic culture as well.