Artifacts Found In Tibet May Be The World’s Oldest Stone Needles

Archaeologists digging along the shore of Lake Xiada Co in western Tibet in 2020 made a remarkable discovery: six stone artifacts that may be the oldest stone sewing needles in the world. These needles, dating back to between 7049 and 6568 B.C.E., are just over an inch long and have a pointed tip on one end and an eye-like opening on the other. Their composition includes materials like tremolite, serpentine, actinolite, and talc.

The Debate Over Their Use

While the study’s authors believe that these objects were once used as needles, not everyone agrees. Some researchers argue that the grooves on the sides of the needles suggest they were scraped and then ground into shape, making them stronger than bone needles. However, the process of creating these stone needles took much longer than producing softer bone needles, indicating that they may have been used for tougher tasks, such as sewing material for tents.

Stone needles

Traces of Red Paint and Spiritual Significance

Traces of red paint on the needles suggest that they may have had some kind of religious or spiritual significance. Ancient people in Tibet believed that the color red could breathe “life and energy” into stone tools and keep “evil spirits at bay.” The discovery of these needles challenges the conventional timeline of needle history and provides new insights into ancient human ingenuity.

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