Bone Fragment Reveals Humans Wore Leather Clothes 39,000 Years Ago
This discovery helps solve a mystery about the emergence of fitted clothing. Homo sapiens reached Europe around 42,000 years ago, yet eyed needles haven’t been found in this region from earlier than around 26,000 years ago and these aren’t strong enough to repeatedly puncture thick leather – raising the question of how these ancient people managed to make garments to fit them. “The knowledge about making fitting clothing without bone needles is something we didn’t have access to before,” says Doyon. “The location and date are interesting: southern Europe nearly 40,000 years ago,” says Gilligan. “That’s quite soon after the arrival of Homo sapiens, during some rapid cold swings in the climate. It’s when and where we’d expect our ancestors to need good clothes for protection.”
Doyon and his colleagues argue that this punch board marks a crucial cultural adaptation to climate change that helped modern humans expand to new regions. The punch board was one of six artifacts found at the Canyars site, they say, and could have been part of a repair kit.