Archaeologists say they may have discovered one of the earliest examples of a ‘crayon’ — possibly used by our ancestors 10,000 years ago for applying colour to their animal skins or for artwork.
The ochre crayon was discovered near an ancient lake, now blanketed in peat, near Scarborough, North Yorkshire. An ochre pebble was found at another site on the opposite side of the lake.
The pebble had a heavily striated surface that is likely to have been scraped to produce a red pigment powder. The crayon measures 22mm long and 7mm wide.
A pendant was discovered at Star Carr in 2015 and is the earliest known Mesolithic art in Britain. Here, more than 30 red deer antler headdresses were found which may have been used as a disguise in hunting, or during ritual performances by shamans when communicating with animal spirits. Paper. (public access) – Andy Needham, Shannon Croft, Roland Kröger, Harry K. Robson, Charlotte C.A. Rowley, Barry Taylor, Amy Gray Jones, Chantal Conneller. The application of micro-Raman for the analysis of ochre artefacts from Mesolithic palaeo-lake Flixton. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 2018; 17: 650 DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2017.12.002 More.
Those Stone Age people get smarter every time we run into them. Is there an explanation for that?
File under: Missing link still missing.
See also: Australia: Sophisticated inland campsite 50 000 years ago
The search for our earliest ancestors: signals in the noise
Early human religion: A 747 built in the basement with an X-Acto knife