Patterns of change and continuity in ochre use during the late Middle Stone Age of the Horn of Africa: The Porc-Epic Cave record

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dc.contributor.author Rosso, D. E.
dc.contributor.author D'Errico, F.
dc.contributor.author Queffelec, A.
dc.date.accessioned 2017-10-25T10:18:25Z
dc.date.available 2017-10-25T10:18:25Z
dc.date.issued 2017-05
dc.identifier.citation Rosso, D. E., D'Errico, F. and Queffelec, A. 2017. Patterns of change and continuity in ochre use during the late Middle Stone Age of the Horn of Africa: The Porc-Epic Cave record. PLOS ONE 12(5), Article number e0177298. en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 1932-6203 (Online)
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/23328
dc.description.abstract Ochre is found at numerous Middle Stone Age (MSA) sites and plays a key role in early modern human archaeology. Here we analyse the largest known East African MSA ochre assemblage, comprising 40 kg of ochre, found at Porc-Epic Cave, Ethiopia, spanning a period of at least 4,500 years. Visual characterisation of ochre types, microscopic identification of traces of modification, morphological and morphometric analysis of ochre pieces and modified areas, experimental reproduction of grinding processes, surface texture analysis of archaeological and experimentally ground ochre facets, laser granulometry of ochre powder produced experimentally on different grindstones and by Hamar and Ovahimba women from Ethiopia and Namibia respectively, were, for the first time, combined to explore diachronic shifts in ochre processing technology. Our results identify patterns of continuity in ochre acquisition, treatment and use reflecting both persistent use of the same geological resources and similar uses of iron-rich rocks by late MSA Porc-Epic inhabitants. Considering the large amount of ochre processed at the site, this continuity can be interpreted as the expression of a cohesive cultural adaptation, largely shared by all community members and consistently transmitted through time. A gradual shift in preferred processing techniques and motions is interpreted as reflecting cultural drift within this practice. Evidence for the grinding of ochre to produce small quantities of powder throughout the sequence is consistent with a use in symbolic activities for at least part of the ochre assemblage from Porc-Epic Cave. en_ZA
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Public Library of Science en_ZA
dc.rights © 2017 Rosso et al.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. en_ZA
dc.subject Coloring agent en_ZA
dc.subject Powder en_ZA
dc.subject Soil en_ZA
dc.subject Archeology en_ZA
dc.subject Cave en_ZA
dc.subject Color en_ZA
dc.subject Ethiopia en_ZA
dc.subject History en_ZA
dc.subject Namibia en_ZA
dc.subject particle size en_ZA
dc.subject surface property en_ZA
dc.subject technology en_ZA
dc.subject trends en_ZA
dc.title Patterns of change and continuity in ochre use during the late Middle Stone Age of the Horn of Africa: The Porc-Epic Cave record en_ZA
dc.type Article en_ZA
dc.journal.volume 12 en_ZA
dc.journal.title PLOS ONE en_ZA
dc.description.librarian EM2017 en_ZA
dc.citation.doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0177298 en_ZA
dc.citation.issue 5 en_ZA
dc.funder Research by DR was funded by the Generalitat de Catalunya (Ajuts per a la contractacio de personal investigado r novell, FI-DGR), the Doctoral Research scholarship Programme of the Martine Aublet Foundation, and the Eiffel Excellence Scholarship Programme of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Internationa l Development. en_ZA


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