Shoelace tag valued above gold

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A simple tag to prevent shoelaces from fraying was deemed to be worth more than gold by the indigenous Cubans who traded with Christopher Columbus.

Scientists from University College London, UK, have been analysing grave goods from indigenous burials on Cuba dating to the Spanish contact.

They were surprised to find little gold - which is abundant in the region.

Instead, the most common artefacts were small brass tubes thought to be cheap lacetags from European clothing.

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