Monday, March 23, 2015
Researchers examining artifacts in a museum collection from a cave excavation in Croatia have discovered this 130,000 year-old necklace or bracelet made of eagle talons. The excavations at the cave of Krapina were conducted a hundred years ago, and recovered both Neanderthal skeletal remains and Mosterian stone tools that are typically associated with Neanderthal occupations. These eagle talons, from a White-tailed Eagle, were originally lumped in with the general faunal collection from the site.
During a re-examination of the collection last year, researchers noticed that four of the talons had been cut and that they had polished facets on them consistent with talons rubbing against each other as if worn on a string or worn against hide.
There's a reason we keep these collections in museums. It seems several times a year I come across stories where the review of an old collection comes up with new discoveries like this.