Direct evidence for the use of ochre in the hafting technology of Middle Stone Age tools from Sibudu Cave


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Publication Date

January 2006


Microscopy was performed on tools obtained from the Middle Stone Age deposits of Sibudu Cave because previous observations suggested that there might be a possible functional role for ochre at the site. Analyses of the distribution patterns of ochre residues conducted on post-Howiesons Poort points and Howiesons Poort segments from Sibudu Cave show that ochre was an integral part of the hafting technologies for the duration of these techno-complexes. Close associations between ochre and resin on these tools strengthen the hypothesis that ground ochre was probably mixed into the adhesives that were used to glue the tools to hafts. The evidence presented here expands our understanding of the versatility and value of pigmentatious material in prehistory; it is not intended to be an alternative or replacement hypothesis for its possible symbolic role.


Hafting Technology, Middle Stone Age, Ochre, Resin, Sibudu Cave And Southern Africa

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Southern African Humanities, Vol. 18, no. 1 (2006).