Do you ever wonder what amazing stories of human evolution a humble sewing needle may tell us? Scientists believe that humans created the precursors of needle as early as 76,000 years ago in South Africa. The first eyed needles were created about 45,000 years ago in Siberia and China. In Europe, sewing cloths started somewhere around 26,000 years ago and in North America around 13,000 years ago.
Studies found needles older than 10.000 years with different forms and shape and hence possibly different functionalities. Some of these needles may have been used for sewing thick hides whereas other may have been used for delicate embroidery work.
The history of needles is intricately tied in with the history of cultural and aesthetic evolution in humans. The evolution of needles, and sewing in turn, also hints at the extensive migration and colonization of far away lands. The ability to produce needles, find the right techniques and materials to sew together a protective cover indicates the evolving complexity of human thought processes.
Today we may be using all kinds of innovative notions, but the stories our simple hand-held tools and notions hold are fascinating. We will explore more such interesting stories in future.
Sewing needles reveal the roots of fashion (2019): Jacob Pagano
The origin and evolution of sewing technologies in Eurasia and North America (2018); Errico et Al.