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The oldest artificially colored bead was found in Japan.

Nov 8

Japanese researchers have found traces of red pigment on a bead found in Okinawa Prefecture. The age of the bead dates back to 23,000 years. This makes this artifact the oldest colored accessory ever found in Japan.

The bead was found in Sakitari-do cave in Nanjo and was artificially colored red during the Paleolithic period.

Scientists speculated that pigments were used in the Japanese archipelago at that time. This discovery is the first evidence that Paliolithic locals have already used pigments to color their accessories.

On the surface of the bead, a red pigment containing iron was detected by X-ray fluorescence analysis.

This discovery proves that pigments were used for decorative purposes during the Paleolithic era.

Seiji Kadowaki, a lecturer at the Nagoya University Museum who specializes in prehistoric archaeology, said, "It appears ancient people took a lot of time and effort to make these objects, from finding the shells to coloring them. The decorative objects may have been used as tools for communication, which is also interesting in terms of human history."