Archaeologists have made a jaw-dropping discovery just outside the coastal city of Ashkelon in Israel. The exciting find? A shark hook that's nearly 6,000 years old! Here's what researchers are saying.
The large copper fishing hook leads researchers to believe that shark was most likely eaten in ancient times in this region. The unearthed hook is around 2.5 inches long and 1.6 inches wide. This makes it big enough to reel in some heavy hitters, like the dusky shark, the sandbar shark, or even tuna. All these species are local to the Mediterranean Sea. According to The Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority, the copper hook is one of the oldest known hooks in the world at 6,000 years old. Copper was first used as a material when it was made. Not only that, but it’s an incredibly unique find, since most ancient fishhooks created during this period were made of bone and a lot smaller.
Dr. Yael Abadi-Reiss, co-director of the excavation, said, “The rare fishhook tells the story of the village fishermen who sailed out to sea in their boats and cast the newly-invented copper fishhook into the water, hoping to add coastal sharks to the menu.” The hook was uncovered during a 2018 survey of the area. The excavation covers an agricultural village that people lived in for at least 600 years, according to Abadi-Reiss. The excavations have shown signs of livestock, orchards, wheat, barley, and beans. They believe the ancient people lived in homes surrounding three large stone buildings, which they think were used for religious purposes. Abadi-Reiss said about the village, “This means it was a big enough village to support people who aren’t doing agriculture, but are specialists in things like metallurgy.”
The fishhook is a significant find because of its uniqueness. It helps to paint a picture of what everyday life was like back then. Not only did the people of this ancient village raise livestock and make bread, but they went out deep sea fishing to hunt sharks and the like. What a fascinating find!