Ochre and Human Evolution
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The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology
Red ochre and hematite are the most widely used body paints and cosmetics. Their use extends back half a million years. Ethnographically, the most widespread context of use is in collective ritual. The uniformitarian principle would suggest that cosmetic usage—and possibly collective ritual—is of similar antiquity. How this intuitive insight might be placed on a firmer footing and inform understanding of the evolution of collective ritual and symbolic culture remains a fundamental challenge.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Watts, Ian, "Ochre and Human Evolution" (2018). KIP Articles. 7899.