Jewelry & use of Cultural Symbols
From BBC news, this article.
First farmers made ‘lucky beads’
Some of the first farmers in the Near East probably used green beads
as amulets to protect themselves and their crops, a study suggests.
The authors of the research suggest that early agriculturalists
attached special importance to this color.
Beads they recovered from dig sites in Israel had been made from a
variety of green minerals and the farmers went to great efforts to
Details appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Daniella Bar-Yosef Mayer, from Israel’s University of Haifa, and
Naomi Porat, from the Geological Survey of Israel in Jerusalem,
examined 221 beads from eight Neolithic (or late stone age) sites
dating to between 11,600 years ago and 8,200 years ago.
None of the minerals the beads were made from came from the
immediate vicinity of the sites. Some were mined from as far afield
as northern Syria, Cyprus and Saudi Arabia.
White, black, brown, yellow and red beads were being made tens of
thousands of years before the advent of agriculture.
But the researchers point out that green beads are first found in
significant numbers during the agricultural revolution which gained
pace from about 10,000 years ago in the Near East.
“We propose that the green color mimics the green of young leaf
blades, which signify germination and embody the wish for successful
crops and for success in fertility,” the authors write in PNAS.
They suggest that the onset of agriculture brought on demographic
changes such as higher birth rates, but also higher child mortality.
These early farmers may have developed new cultural devices for
dealing with these changes.
Green beads were probably used as amulets to ward off evil and as
charms for maintaining the fertility of both people and crops, say