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. 2011 Oct 14;334(6053):219-22.
doi: 10.1126/science.1211535.

A 100,000-year-old Ochre-Processing Workshop at Blombos Cave, South Africa

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A 100,000-year-old Ochre-Processing Workshop at Blombos Cave, South Africa

Christopher S Henshilwood et al. Science. .
Free article

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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