San Sebastian – A pendant some 25,000 years old has been found in the Irikaitz dig in northern Spain's Basque region by archaeologists from the Sociedad Aranzadi.
The piece, an oblong gray smooth stone some 10 centimeters (4 inches) in length, is perforated at one end and apparently was hung from a thong or cord around a person's neck, according to the director of the excavation, Alvaro Arrizabalaga, who added that the other end of the stone was used as a tool to retouch the edges of tools made from flint, like arrows or scrapers.
The object comes from the Cromagnon epoch.
Arrizabalaga said that the pendant is older than other such items found so far in the Praileaitz cave which are estimated to be some 15,000 years old.
In addition, he said that there have been "some 20 pieces from this same epoch" found on the Iberian peninsula to date, with the peculiar unifying element that they have always been found in caves.
"The piece is very well preserved and we've been lucky to be able to remove it without damaging it in any way" from the dig near the town of Zestoa, Arrizabalaga said.
The dig leader said the pendant "is not going to need any more restoration," and after experts study it and include it in the collection of Cromagnon discoveries found at the site, it will be placed in the hands of a public museum.
"Twenty-five thousand years ago, human beings of our species came to this place that functioned as a hunting place for wandering groups" the archaeologist said, adding that the groups of humans "moved eight times per year to zones where there were specific types of resources."
The Irikaitz deposit, where archaeologists began working in 1998, is known for being the site of discoveries of pieces up to 250,000 years old, a period when the precursors of Homo sapiens were still in existence.