Jennifer Viegas covers the recent discoveries at Sibudu Cave, South Africa: “Stone Age color, glue ‘factory’ found”.
A once-thriving 58,000-year-old ochre powder production site has just been discovered in South Africa. The discovery offers a glimpse of what early humans valued and used in their everyday lives. The finding, which will be described in the Journal of Archaeological Science, also marks the first time that any Stone Age site has yielded evidence for ochre powder processing on cemented hearths -- an innovation for the period. A clever caveman must have figured out that white ash from hearths can cement and become rock hard, providing a sturdy work surface.
This appears to have been a site of intensive processing, with thousands of pieces of ochre nearby. I wonder whether the intensification implies a trade network for exchange of the product.