A 100,000-Year-Old Ochre-Processing Workshop at Blombos Cave, South Africa

  title={A 100,000-Year-Old Ochre-Processing Workshop at Blombos Cave, South Africa},
  author={Christopher S. Henshilwood and Francesco d’Errico and Karen L. van Niekerk and Yvan Coquinot and Zenobia Jacobs and Stein-Erik Lauritzen and Michel Menu and Renata Garc{\'i}a-Moreno},
  pages={219 - 222}
Early humans mixed and stored ochre pigments in shells 100,000 years ago, an indication of the emergence of higher planning. 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… 

An abstract drawing from the 73,000-year-old levels at Blombos Cave, South Africa

This cross-hatched pattern drawn with an ochre crayon on a ground silcrete flake recovered from approximately 73,000-year-old Middle Stone Age levels at Blombos Cave, South Africa demonstrates the ability of early Homo sapiens in southern Africa to produce graphic designs on various media using different techniques.

Ochre use at Sibudu Cave and its link to complex cognition in the Middle Stone Age

Ochre pieces were used experimentally for a variety of grinding, scoring and rubbing activities to record and compare the use-wear markings that each activity creates on the ochre piece. Ochre that

Neural correlates of perceiving and interpreting engraved prehistoric patterns as human production: Effect of archaeological expertise

The attribution of a natural rather than human origin to the marks elicited greater activity in the salience network in both groups, reflecting the uncertainty and ambiguity in the perception of, and decision-making for, natural patterns.

Recognizing Complex Cognition through Innovative Technology in Stone Age and Palaeolithic Sites

  • L. Wadley
  • Psychology
    Cambridge Archaeological Journal
  • 2013
Cognitive complexity is defined here as the capacity for abstract thought, analogical reasoning, cognitive fluidity, innovative thought, complex goal-directed actions, flexibility in problem-solving,

Middle Stone Age Ochre Processing and Behavioural Complexity in the Horn of Africa: Evidence from Porc-Epic Cave, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia

It is argued that the ochre reduction sequences identified at Porc-Epic Cave reflect a high degree of behavioural complexity, and represent o chre use, which was probably devoted to a variety of functions.

Ochre and pigment use at Hohle Fels cave: Results of the first systematic review of ochre and ochre-related artefacts from the Upper Palaeolithic in Germany

The first in-depth study of the diachronic changes in ochre use throughout an entire Upper Palaeolithic sequence at Hohle Fels cave, Germany, spanning from ca.

The Rise of Cognition

The vocalization abilities, particularly in songbirds, let us conclude that despite common features the ability to compute simple recursive hierarchical structures in a symbolic fashion seems to be unique to modern humans.

Decoding the Blombos Engravings, Shell Beads and Diepkloof Ostrich Eggshell Patterns

The debate regarding the status of the Blombos ochre engravings and shell beads for gauging the timeline of when cognitive abilities and symbolic intent appeared has been controversial. This is



Implications for complex cognition from the hafting of tools with compound adhesives in the Middle Stone Age, South Africa

Compound adhesives made from red ochre mixed with plant gum were used in the Middle Stone Age of South Africa and this ability suggests overlap between the cognitive abilities of modern people and people in the MSA.

Blombos Cave, Southern Cape, South Africa : Preliminary report on the 1992-1999 excavations of the Middle Stone Age levels

The Later- and Middle Stone Age levels at Blombos Cave (BBC) were excavated over four field seasons between 1992 and 1999. Here we report on the results from the Middle Stone Age (MSA) levels. The

An Early Case of Color Symbolism

Prehistoric archaeology provides the temporal depth necessary for understanding the evolution of the unique human ability to construct and use complex symbol systems. The longstanding focus on

Ages for the Middle Stone Age of Southern Africa: Implications for Human Behavior and Dispersal

Age ages for nine sites from varied climatic and ecological zones across southern Africa show that both industries were short-lived (5000 years or less), separated by about 7000 years, and coeval with genetic estimates of population expansion and exit times.