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Green reapers

First farmers cultivated an interest in green stone beads

By
11:17am, June 17, 2008

Fledgling farmers in the Middle East treasured ornamentation as much as irrigation. These ancient villagers traveled great distances to obtain green stone for making beads and pendants that held special meaning for them in a brave new agricultural world, a new study finds.

Bead-making began by 110,000 years ago in what’s now Israel. But an emphasis on green beads emerged only about 11,000 years ago in concert with the agricultural revolution, say archaeologist Daniella Bar-Yosef Mayer of the University of Haifa in Israel and geologist Naomi Porat of the Geological Survey of Israel in Jerusalem.

“Because beads in white, red, yellow, brown and black colors had

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