. Space Travel News .




.
ABOUT US
100,000-year-old ochre toolkit and workshop discovered in South Africa
by Staff Writers
Johanannesburg, South Africa (SPX) Oct 17, 2011

An ochre-rich mixture, possibly used for decoration, painting and skin protection 100,000 years ago, and stored in two abalone shells, was discovered at Blombos Cave in Cape Town, South Africa. Credit: Prof. Christopher Henshilwood, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

An ochre-rich mixture, possibly used for decoration, painting and skin protection 100,000 years ago, and stored in two abalone shells, was discovered at Blombos Cave in Cape Town, South Africa.

"Ochre may have been applied with symbolic intent as decoration on bodies and clothing during the Middle Stone Age," says Professor Christopher Henshilwood from the Institute for Human Evolution at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, who together with his international team discovered a processing workshop in 2008 where a liquefied ochre-rich mixture was produced.

The findings will be published in the prestigious international journal Science, on Friday, 14 October 2011.

The two coeval, spatially associated toolkits were discovered in situ (not been moved from its original place of deposition) and the kits included ochre, bone, charcoal, grindstones and hammerstones.

The grinding and scraping of ochre to produce a powder for use as a pigment was common practice in Africa and the Near East only after about 100,000 years ago.

"This discovery represents an important benchmark in the evolution of complex human cognition (mental processes) in that it shows that humans had the conceptual ability to source, combine and store substances that were then possibly used to enhance their social practices," explains Henshilwood.

"We believe that the manufacturing process involved the rubbing of pieces of ochre on quartzite slabs to produce a fine red powder.

"Ochre chips were crushed with quartz, quartzite and silcrete hammerstones/grinders and combined with heated crushed, mammal-bone, charcoal, stone chips and a liquid, which was then introduced to the abalone shells and gently stirred. A bone was probably used to stir the mixture and to transfer some of the mixture out of the shell."

The quartz sediments in which the ochre containers were buried were dated to about 100,000 years using Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating. This is consistent with the thermoluminescence dating of burnt lithics and the dating of calcium carbonate concretions using uranium-series dating methods.

"The recovery of these toolkits adds evidence for early technological and behavioural developments associated with humans and documents their deliberate planning, production and curation of pigmented compound and the use of containers.

It also demonstrates that humans had an elementary knowledge of chemistry and the ability for long-term planning 100,000 years ago," concludes Henshilwood.

Related Links
University of the Witwatersrand
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here




.
.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
...
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries






.

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle



ABOUT US
In the brain, winning is everywhere
New Haven CT (SPX) Oct 11, 2011
Winning may not be the only thing, but the human brain devotes a lot of resources to the outcome of games, a new study by Yale researchers suggest. The study published in the journal Neuron shows that when participants play games, such as rock-paper-scissors, almost the entire brain is engaged, not just the reward centers of the brain, which have been assigned the central role for shaping adapti ... read more


ABOUT US
Huge stakes riding on maiden Soyuz launch from Kourou

Virgin Galactic to give NASA a ride

Indian-French satellite put into orbit

Chinese rocket sends French telecom satellite into space

ABOUT US
Russia invited to join Mars missions

Mars Express observes clusters of recent craters in Ares Vallis

Wet and Mild: Caltech Researchers Take the Temperature of Mars' Past

New Mystery On Mars' Forgotten Plains

ABOUT US
Subtly Shaded Map of Moon Reveals Titanium Treasure Troves

NASA's Moon Twins Going Their Own Way

Titanium treasure found on Moon

NASA Invites Students to Name Moon-Bound Spacecraft

ABOUT US
Series of bumps sent Uranus into its sideways spin

Mission to Mysterious Uranus

Spinning hourglass object may be the first of many to be discovered in the Kuiper belt

Dwarf Planet Mysteries Beckon to New Horizons

ABOUT US
UChicago launches search for distant worlds

Astronomers Find Elusive Planets in Decade-Old Hubble Data

University of Texas-led Team Discovers Unusual Multi-Planet System with NASA's Kepler Spacecraft

Heavy Metal Stars Produce Earth-Like Planets

ABOUT US
Caltech Event Marks 75th Anniversary of JPL Rocket Tests

Russia puts new Rus-M carrier rocket project on hold

Russia to abandon rocket booster work

Pee power: Urine-loving bug churns out space fuel

ABOUT US
China's first space lab module in good condition

Takeoff For Tiangong

Snafu as China space launch set to US patriotic song

Civilians given chance to reach for the stars

ABOUT US
NASA's Dawn Science Team Presents Early Science Results

Amateur skywatchers help space hazards team

New View of Vesta Mountain From NASA's Dawn Mission

Almahata Sitta Meteorites Could Come From Triple Asteroid Mash-Up


.

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement