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World’s Oldest Purse Adorned with Dog Teeth

The world's oldest purse features a decoration that doesn't look so different from modern beading. It's just way more gruesome.

Dog teeth decorate the world’s oldest purse. Photo: U.S. Army/Sgt. Rodney Foliente

The world’s oldest purse features a decoration that doesn’t look so different from modern beading. It’s just, by modern standards, a bit more gruesome.

National Geographic reports:

Excavators at a site near Leipzig uncovered more than a hundred dog teeth arranged close together in a grave dated to between 2,500 and 2,200 B.C.

According to archaeologist Susanne Friederich, the teeth were likely decorations for the outer flap of a handbag.

“Over the years the leather or fabric disappeared, and all that’s left is the teeth. They’re all pointing in the same direction, so it looks a lot like a modern handbag flap,” said Friederich, of the Sachsen-Anhalt State Archaeology and Preservation Office.

The purse came from a site that’s turning up Stone and Bronze Act artifacts—hundreds of graves, tools, ceramics and other day-to-day items from a time before glass and ceramic beading existed.

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About Sarah Laskow
Sarah Laskow

Sarah Laskow is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor of Smart News. Her work has appeared in print and online for Grist, GOODSalon, The American Prospect, Newsweek, New York among other publications.

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