Stone Age Necklace


Humans may have been wearing jewellery as far back as 75,000 BP, if 41 shells found at Blombos Cave in South Africa prove to be beads. This fun activity can be divided into a number of phases for children to participate in (to suit your requirements and time available) however there may some some adult preparation required to drill small holes.

Materials & Tools:

  • Leather lace / nylon cord (around 50-60cm per necklace)
  • Natural materials for example:
    • Seashells / snailshells (empty)
    • Hazelnuts
    • Animal horn beads (from craft shop)
    • Seeds
    • Small stones with natural holes (also known as Faerie Stones, Odin Stones)
    • Clean woodchips
  • Modelling clay (e.g. air-dry clay / FIMO)
  • Acrylic paints & brushes
  • Drill and 2-3mm drill bit
  • Safety glasses
  • Cocktail stick
  • Plastic Sheeting/newspaper (optional)

Necklace 1: Made from wolf teeth, amber beads, animal horn, yellow periwinkle seashells (Littorina littorea) and authentic neolithic beads from the Sahara desert

Necklace 2: Made from animal horn and common periwinkle seashells (Littorina littorea)

Necklace 3: Made from a wolf tooth's, animal horn bean and authentic neolithic beads from the Sahara desert

Preparation:

>Collecting & Preparing Natural Materials

  • Decide what natural materials can be easily obtained from where you live
  • Use the drill with a 2-3mm drill bit to make a hole in each object (wear safety glasses while drilling) - consider how each object will hang on the necklace before deciding where to drill the hole
  • With hollow and brittle objects like seashells, you should half bury the object in air-dry clay / FIMO (or bluetack) before attempting to gently drill the hole, as it should stop the seashell from breaking (this may require some practice)

Objective:

>Natural Materials Necklace

  • Provide each child with a 50-60cm necklace cord and various natural materials (with pre-drilled holes)
  • Thread each natural object onto the cord, ideally using a repeating pattern (e.g. 2 horn beads; 1 seashell; 2 horn beads; 1 seashell)
  • Knot the two loose ends of the necklace cord

>Home-made Materials Necklace

  • Provide each child with plastic sheets / newspaper
  • Provide each child with some air-dry clay / FIMO and suggest objects they can mould (e.g. wolf fang; amber beads; odin stone)
  • Use a cocktail stick to poke a small hole into the object (this is to allow it to be threaded on the necklace)
  • Follow instructions (FIMO) to set the modelling clay
  • Use the acrylic paints to decorate the objects
  • Provide each child with a 50-60cm necklace cord
  • Thread each home-made object onto the cord, ideally using a repeating pattern (e.g. 2 horn beads; 1 seashell; 2 horn beads; 1 wolf fang; 2 horn beads; 1 seashell; 2 horn beads)
  • Knot the two loose ends of the necklace cord

Further Activity Examples:

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