World's oldest fishhooks found in Japan: researchers


Tokyo (AFP)

Fishhooks found on a southern Japanese island date back some 23,000 years, making them among the world's oldest fishing implements, researchers said Monday.

The hooks were discovered in Sakitari Cave on the southern end of Okinawa island several years ago, said Masaki Fujita, chief researcher for the study and a curator at Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum.

"And we have finally concluded that the geological layer in which the fishhooks were found was formed 23,000 years ago," Fujita told AFP.

The hooks, made of the shells of sea snails, were ground into a shape resembling a crescent moon and may have been used to catch parrotfish or eels.

They are of comparable age or older than similar fishhooks reported from Timor, also in the Pacific, the researchers said in an article published by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study also suggested that advanced maritime techniques existed in the Asia-Pacific much earlier than previously thought, Fujita said.

"It's amazing to know that the fishing technique that we have now could be the same as the one in ancient times," the researcher said.