Title

A 100,000-year-old ochre-processing workshop at Blombos Cave, South Africa

RIS ID

39249

Publication Details

Henshilwood, C. S., d'Errico, F., van Niekerk, K. L., Coquinot, Y., Jacobs, Z., Lauritzen, S., Menu, M. & Garcia-Moreno, R. (2011). A 100,000-year-old ochre-processing workshop at Blombos Cave, South Africa. Science, 334 (6053), 219-222.

Abstract

The conceptual ability to source, combine, and store substances that enhance technology or social practices represents a benchmark in the evolution of complex human cognition. Excavations in 2008 at Blombos Cave, South Africa, revealed a processing workshop where a liquefied ochre-rich mixture was produced and stored in two Haliotis midae (abalone) shells 100,000 years ago. Ochre, bone, charcoal, grindstones, and hammerstones form a composite part of this production toolkit. The application of the mixture is unknown, but possibilities include decoration and skin protection.

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Link to publisher version (DOI)

http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1211535