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The oldest jewellery in South America > The oldest jewellery in South America  |  Print  |  E-mail a friend
At Jiskairumoko near Lake Titicaca in Peru, a 4,000-year-old gold necklace was found in a pit. It consists of nine gold beads that are thick and cylindrical in shape and with different lengths. One of the beads is perforated. A small greenstone was found in the soil close by.

The necklace is more than 200 years older than the first indications of the Mayan culture, the oldest of the more well-known Indian cultures in South America.

The gold recovered at Jiskairumoko was discovered at a burial site dated between 2155 and 1936 BC, as part of the gold and turquoise necklace shown in the illustration. The burial site contained the mixed bones of an elderly adult and a child (4-6 years old). The beads were discovered near the base of the adult cranium close to the jawbone.

No sign of tools that could have been used to create the beads was found at the site, so archaeologists are unsure how the 4,000 year old necklace was made.

But they discovered marks of a distinctive stone hammer on each of the beads, which makes it likely that the raw native gold was hammered first with a hammer and then bent and/or hammered around a hard cylindrical object to create the tubular shape.

There is no question to its age. At the end of March 2008, researchers reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) that radiocarbon dating of nearby material places the necklace's origin at about 2100 BC.

 Gold and Status
 Accumulation or Distribution
 Social Structures

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