Stone Age ochre fragments

Stone Age ochre fragments

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Credit: JOHN READER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Stone Age ochre fragments. Close-up of a collection of ochre (haematite, iron oxide) fragments found during excavations at the Blombos cave site in South Africa. This site was made famous by the discovery of pieces of ochre engraved with abstract designs (centre, middle), 75000-year-old beads made from Nassarius shells, and bone tools thought to be around 80,000-years-old. The presence of these fragments in the cave indicate extensive use of the material, possibly for personal adornment or in some symbolic fashion.

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