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Ancient artifacts

Archaeologists discover the world's oldest fishhooks in Okinawa

Scientists have found the oldest known fishhooks in the world on a tiny island in Japan's Okinawa archipelago, the site of a major U.S.-Japan battle in World War II, according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States.

The hooks were discovered in a limestone cave and are believed to be about 23,000 years old. They are carved from sea snail shells and are thought to have been used to catch crabs and freshwater snails from a stream on the island.

This find displaces another set of ancient fishhooks found in East Timor in 2011. The earlier discovery was dated between 16,000 and 23,000 years old, but carbon dating places the new hooks between 22,380 and 22,770 years of age.