Scientists have found two 23,000-year-old fish hooks on the Japanese island of Okinawa.

M. Fujita et. al., PNAS 113, 37 (16 September 2016) National Academy of Sciences

People have apparently been living on the island, located between Taiwan and the Japanese islands, for at least 30,000 years.

A recent excavation has uncovered two fish hooks believed to be 23,000 years old made out of seashells. Found by Japanese archaeologists excavating a cave, they discovered both a finished and an unfinished fishhook, carved and ground from sea snail shells.

Radiocarbon dating pieces of charcoal found in the same layer as the fishhooks, the researchers determined that the hooks are between 22,380 and 22,770 years old.

These findings show that prehistoric people used more advanced fishing techniques than previously known. The previous record holding oldest fish hooks found was just under 20,000 years old and was found at Timor and Papua New Guinea.

Advanced maritime adaptation in the western Pacific coastal region extends back to 35,000–30,000 years before present