Saturday, September 18, 2004

Cave bling

Our concern with material wealth and status and the Homeric world’s preoccupation with τιμη seem to have deep, deep roots. Here are some excerpts from an Ananova news service article, concerning a piece in the British journal New Scientist:

Beads, jewellery and ornaments found at a cave in Blombos, South Africa, are thought to be status symbols dating back up to 77,000 years. Until now it had been thought that an interest in fancy accessories only started around 40,000 years ago.

The New Scientist report says the earliest nomadic hunters were far more civilised than thought previously. And the lust for bling led to an early pecking-order in which people with the right gear seemed more important: “Prestige goods could be the first step on the road to modern civilisation, paving the way for agriculture and urbanisation. No one believes the guy who spends £670,000 on a Bugatti Veyron does so because he needs to travel at 250mph. We all know he is buying an exclusive status symbol. But don't knock it—he is just being civilised.”

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