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Buttons and button-like objects used as ornaments rather than fasteners have been discovered in the Indus Valley Civilization as well as Bronze Age sites in China and Ancient Rome.
Buttons made from seashell were used in the Indus Valley Civilization for ornamental purposes by 2000 BCE Some buttons were carved into geometric shapes and had holes pierced into them so that they could attached to clothing by using a thread Ian McNeil (1990) holds that: "The button, in fact, was originally used more as an ornament than as a fastening, the earliest known being found at Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley. It is made of a curved shell and about 5000 years old. Functional buttons with buttonholes for fastening or closing clothing appeared first in Germany in the 13th century They soon became widespread with the rise of snug-fitting garments in 13th- and 14th-century Europe.