Cave discovery reveals how long people have been wearing clothing

Cave discovery reveals how long people have been wearing clothing

A new archaeological finding has shed some light on the fashion of early man.

Scientists have found rare evidence of ancient people wearing clothing and their style: Approximately 90,000 to 120,000 years ago, humans were dressing in the skins and furs of carnivorous animals including sand foxes, golden jackals and wildcats, researchers wrote in a study published Thursday in the journal iScience.

Study authors were able to determine ancient fashion trends based on 62 bone tools they found in a Moroccan cave, some of which appear to have been used not for food but creating garments.

“I wasn’t expecting to find them. I was studying this assemblage initially to look at the animal bones to reconstruct the human diet,” lead author and postdoctoral scientist Emily Yuko Hallett told CNN. “And when I was going through them — there were around 12,000 animal bones — I started to notice these bones that had a very different shape. It wasn’t a natural shape. And they had sheen on them, and they were shiny, and they had striations (grooves or scratches) on them.”

The animal bones cavemen and women threw away after consuming the creature and the bones they used as tools are distinct, as the tools have a sheen to them and are somewhat spatula-shaped, Hallett added.

Excavations at Contrebandiers Cave, where bone tools used for leather-making -- the topic of a new study -- were discovered.
Excavations at Contrebandiers Cave, where bone tools used for leather-making — the topic of a new study — were discovered.
via REUTERS

“The reason people like using these tools is that they don’t pierce the skin, and so you’re left with an intact skin,” she said.

Other evidence of human style way back in the day came in the form of the cut marks that Hallett and her team found on other bones in the cave. The marks show that the cave’s former residents were taking off the skins of various local predators. Cattle-like animals’ bones in the cave, meanwhile, bore markings of having been used for meat. 

“I’m most excited about the skinning marks on the carnivores because I haven’t seen this pattern described before. And my hope is that archaeologists working in much older sites also start looking for this pattern,” Hallett said.

Scientists excavate Contrebandiers Cave, where the oldest-known archeological evidence for clothing manufacturing by humans was discovered.
Scientists excavate Contrebandiers Cave, where the oldest-known archeological evidence for clothing manufacturing by humans was discovered.
via REUTERS

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