The gripping nature of ochre: The association of ochre with Howiesons Poort adhesives and Later Stone Age mastics from South Africa

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192 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This contribution provides direct evidence for the use of ochre in adhesive recipes during the Howiesons Poort of South Africa. Stone segments from two KwaZulu-Natal sites were microscopically analyzed to document ochre and resin microresidue occurrences. These microresidues show a clear distribution pattern on the tool portions that are associated with hafting. Results from a separate quartz and crystal-quartz sample may indicate that different adhesive recipes were applied to different raw materials. A possible functional application for ochre in association with Later Stone Age mastics is also explored. The evidence and suggestions presented here expand our understanding of the versatility, use, and value of pigmentatious materials in prehistory; it is not viewed as an alternative or replacement hypothesis for its possible symbolic role during the late Pleistocene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-419
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Volume53
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Hafting
  • Microresidues
  • Middle Stone Age
  • Resin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology

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