Bilzingsleben (Paleolithic site)
Bilzingsleben is a former stone quarry in Thuringia, notable for its wealth of palaeolithic human fossils and artifacts. Bilzingsleben is located on the northern border of the Thuringian Basin, a depression made of triassic Keuper. To the North are the Kyffhäuser mountains and Schmücke that contain Bunter sandstone and Muschelkalk deposits; the regions are separated by the local hercynian fault-line. The fault-line is the cause for numerous springs in this area; the emerging spring waters in turn have dissolved the local calcareous rocks and formed the interglacial travertine deposits that cover the Bilzingsleben site. The 400.000 year long conservation is attributed to the travertine's remarkable resilience to erosional processes. The site itself was part of a fluvial terrace in Pleistocene, Central European river basin now situated 1.5 km south of the village of Bilzingsleben, Sömmerda district at 175 m above sea level in an old travertine quarry, called Steinrinne, where travertines have been quarried since early modern times and the material was used in the towns of the region, for example Kindelbrück's city wall.
Fossilized bones at the site had been found since the 13th century. In 1710 David Siegmund Büttner published his book "Rudera diluvii testes i.e. Zeichen und Zeugen der Sündfluth". In 1818 Freiherr Friedrich von Schlotheim found a human skull covered by lime concretions, it is lost today. In 1908 geologist Ewald Wüst of the University of Halle-Wittenberg published his first work on local flint artifacts. Amateur researcher Adolf Spengler took up work at the site in 1922. In 1969 Dietrich Mania professor at the University of Jena, discovered numerous fossils and artifacts during a routine investigation. Under the auspices of the Halle State Museum of Prehistory a systematic excavation was launched in 1971 that lasted until 1992 during which 1,600 m2 were documented and several human fossils were unearthed. Administration of the site has been handed to the University of Jena; the site belongs to the Reinsdorf interglacial, c. 370,000 BP. In 1974 a piece of a human skull was identified among the finds.
To date, 37 human bones and teeth have been found parts of the skull. They represent the remains of at least three individuals and have been classified as Homo erectus bilzingslebenensis by Emanuel Vlcek; the remains of the skulls show that they have been intentionally smashed postmortem, maybe as part of a burial rite. Both plant impressions in the travertine and pollen remains allow the reconstruction of the local environment. There are two deposition phases. Both are dominated by woodland species; the first phase is dominated by hazel and oak. The second phase is dominated by hornbeam and pine. 36 plant species are attested by impressions in the travertine, among them 14 tree and shrub species: Pedunculate oak Field maple and sycamore maple Large-leaved linden European ash European cornel Common hazel Aspen Birch Box Barberry Lilac Hackberry Firethorn Shrubby cinquefoil. The woods were made up of oaks and box. Herbs like wormwood, sorrel and grasses attest the presence of open steppes or meadows.
Sedges and rushes grew on the lakeshore and Sphagnum moss in the lakes. The remains of 54 species of animals have been found in Bilzingsleben, 35 species of mammals, six kinds of birds, three reptiles, three amphibians and five kinds of fishes. Among the mammals are: Straight-tusked elephant Rhinoceros Aurochs Steppe wisent Horse Red deer Fallow deer Giant deer Roe deer Bear Lion Wildcat Fox Wild boar Wolf Macaque A now extinct beaver. Woodland animals predominate, but there are some species that prefer more open habitats as well, like rhinoceros and bison. Mollusks attest to a climate, warmer and wetter than today; the average annual temperature is supposed to have been the annual precipitation 800 mm. The lithic industry is characterized by chopping tools of diminutive sizes. There are no true hand axes; the raw material is flint, although quartzite and travertine have been used as well. There are numerous bone tools; some hoes are made of ivory. Wooden artefacts have been preserved. One bone fragment, an elephant tibia, has two groups of 7 and 14 incised parallel lines and might represent an early example of art.
The regular spacing of the incisions, their subequal lengths and V-like cross-sections suggest they were created at the same time, with a single stone tool. The tibia dates to between 400,000 years ago; the interpretation as an early calendar is a possibility. D. Mania found large stones arranged in a circular manner, he thought that it was a base for a dwelling. However, ring-center analysis showed. C. Gamble proposed. J. Bur
Homo erectus is a species of archaic humans that lived throughout most of the Pleistocene geological epoch. Its earliest fossil evidence dates to 1.8 million years ago. A debate regarding the classification and progeny of H. erectus in relation to Homo ergaster, is ongoing, with two major positions: 1) H. erectus is the same species as H. ergaster, thereby H. erectus is a direct ancestor of the hominins including Homo heidelbergensis, Homo antecessor, Homo neanderthalensis, Homo Denisova, Homo sapiens. Some paleoanthropologists consider H. ergaster to be a variety, that is, the "African" variety, of H. erectus. H. Erectus became extinct throughout its range in Africa and Asia, but developed into derived species, notably Homo heidelbergensis; as a chronospecies, the time of its disappearance is thus a matter of contention. The species name proposed in 1950 defines Java Man as the type specimen. Since there has been a trend in palaeoanthropology of reducing the number of proposed species of Homo, to the point where H. erectus includes all early forms of Homo sufficiently derived from H. habilis and distinct from early H. heidelbergensis.
In this wider sense, H. erectus had been replaced by H. heidelbergensis by about 300,000 years ago, with possible late survival in Java as late as 70,000 years ago. The discovery of the morphologically divergent Dmanisi skull 5 in 2013 has reinforced the trend of subsuming fossils given separate species names under H. erectus considered as a wide-ranging, polymorphous species. Thus, H. ergaster is now well within the accepted morphological range of H. erectus, it has been suggested that H. rudolfensis and H. habilis should be considered early varieties of H. erectus. The Dutch anatomist Eugène Dubois, inspired by Darwin's theory of evolution as it applied to humanity, set out in 1886 for Asia to find a human ancestor. In 1891–92, his team discovered first a tooth a skullcap, a femur of a human fossil on the island of Java, Dutch East Indies. Excavated from the bank of the Solo River at Trinil, in East Java, he first allocated the material to a genus of fossil chimpanzees as Anthropopithecus erectus the following year assigned his species to a new genus as Pithecanthropus erectus —from the Greek πίθηκος and ἄνθρωπος —based on the proposal that the femur suggested that the creature had been bipedal, like Homo sapiens.
Dubois' 1891 find was the first fossil of a Homo-species found as result of a directed expedition and search. The Java fossil from Indonesia aroused much public interest, it was dubbed by the popular press as Java Man. Most of the spectacular discoveries of H. erectus next took place at the Zhoukoudian Project, now known as the Peking Man site, in Zhoukoudian, China. This site was first discovered by Johan Gunnar Andersson in 1921 and was first excavated in 1921, produced two human teeth. Davidson Black's initial description of a lower molar as belonging to a unknown species prompted publicized interest. Extensive excavations followed, which altogether uncovered 200 human fossils from more than 40 individuals including five nearly complete skullcaps. Franz Weidenreich provided much of the detailed description of this material in several monographs published in the journal Palaeontologica Sinica. Nearly all of the original specimens were lost during World War II. Similarities between Java Man and Peking Man led Ernst Mayr to rename both Homo erectus in 1950.
Throughout much of the 20th century, anthropologists debated the role of H. erectus in human evolution. Early in the century, due in part to the discoveries at Java and Zhoukoudian, the belief that modern humans first evolved in Asia was accepted. A few naturalists—Charles Darwin most prominent among them—theorized that humans' earliest ancestors were African: Darwin pointed out that chimpanzees and gorillas, humans' closest relatives and exist only in Africa; the derivation of the genus Homo from Australopithecina took place in East Africa after 3 million years ago. The inclusion of species dated to just before 2 million years ago, Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis, into Homo is somewhat contentious; as H. habilis appears to have coexisted with H. ergaster/erectus for a substantial period after 2 Mya, it has been proposed that ergaster may not be directly derived from habilis. Homo erectus emerged about 2 million years ago. Fossils dated close to 1.8 million years ago have been found both in
Neanderthal extinction began around 40,000 years ago in the Paleolithic Europe, after anatomically modern humans had reached the continent. This date, based on research published in Nature in 2014, is much earlier than previous estimates, it was established through improved radio carbon dating methods analyzing 40 sites from Spain to Russia; the survey did not include sites in Asia. Evidence for continued Neanderthal presence in the Iberian Peninsula at 37,000 years ago was published in 2017. Hypotheses on the fate of the Neanderthals include violence from encroaching anatomically modern humans and pathogens, competitive replacement, competitive exclusion, extinction by interbreeding with early modern human populations, natural catastrophes, failure or inability to adapt to climate change, it is unlikely. In research published in Nature in 2014, an analysis of radiocarbon dates from forty Neanderthal sites from Spain to Russia found that the Neanderthals disappeared in Europe between 41,000 and 39,000 years ago with 95% probability.
The study found with the same probability that modern humans and Neanderthals overlapped in Europe for between 2,600 and 5,400 years. Modern humans reached Europe between 43,000 years ago. Improved radiocarbon dating published in 2015 indicates that Neanderthals disappeared around 40,000 years ago, which overturns older carbon dating which indicated that Neanderthals may have lived as as 24,000 years ago, including in refugia on the south coast of the Iberian peninsula such as Gorham's Cave. Zilhão et al. argue for pushing this date forward to 37,000 years ago. Inter-stratification of Neanderthal and modern human remains is disputed; some authors have discussed the possibility that Neanderthal extinction was either precipitated or hastened by violent conflict with Homo sapiens. Conflict and warfare are ubiquitous features of hunter-gatherer societies, including conflicts over limited resources, such as prey and water, it is therefore plausible to suggest that violence, including primitive warfare, would have transpired between the two human species.
The hypothesis that early humans violently replaced Neanderthals was first proposed by French palaeontologist Marcellin Boule in 1912. Several finds in both Homo-sapiens and Neanderthal bones indicate inter-species aggression from injuries that could only have come from spear or other projectile tips crafted with prevalent tool-making methods contemporary to the time. Another possibility is the spread among the Neanderthal population of pathogens or parasites carried by Homo sapiens. Neanderthals would have limited immunity to diseases they had not been exposed to, so diseases carried into Europe by Homo sapiens could have been lethal to them if Homo sapiens were resistant. If it were easy for pathogens to leap between these two similar species because they lived in close proximity Homo sapiens would have provided a pool of individuals capable of infecting Neanderthals and preventing the epidemic from burning itself out as Neanderthal population fell. On the other hand, the same mechanism could work in reverse, the resistance of Homo sapiens to Neanderthal pathogens and parasites would need explanation.
An examination of human and Neanderthal genomes and adaptations regarding pathogens or parasites may shed light on this issue. Slight competitive advantage on the part of modern humans has accounted for Neanderthals' decline on a timescale of thousands of years. Small and widely-dispersed fossil sites suggest that Neanderthals lived in less numerous and more isolated groups than contemporary Homo sapiens. Tools such as Mousterian flint stone flakes and Levallois points are remarkably sophisticated from the outset, yet they have a slow rate of variability and general technological inertia is noticeable during the entire fossil period. Artifacts are of utilitarian nature, symbolic behavioral traits are undocumented before the arrival of modern humans in Europe around 40,000 to 35,000 years ago. Jared Diamond, supporter of competitive replacement, points out in his book The Third Chimpanzee that the genocidal replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans is comparable to patterns of behavior that occur whenever people with advanced technology clash with less advanced people.
In 2006, two anthropologists of the University of Arizona proposed an efficiency explanation for the demise of the Neanderthals. In an article titled "What's a Mother to Do? The Division of Labor among Neanderthals and Modern Humans in Eurasia", it was posited that Neanderthal division of labor between the sexes was less developed than Middle paleolithic Homo sapiens. Both male and female Neanderthals participated in the single occupation of hunting big game, such as bison, deer and wild horses; this hypothesis proposes that the Neanderthal's relative lack of labor division resulted in less efficient extraction of resources from the environment as compared to Homo sapiens. Researchers such as Karen L. Steudel of the University of Wisconsin have highlighted the relationship of Neanderthal anatomy and the ability to run and the requirement of energy. In the recent study, researchers Martin Hora and Vladimir Sladek of Charles University in Prague show that Neanderthal lower limb configuration the combination of robust knees, long heels and short lower limbs, i
Blombos Cave is an archaeological site located in Blomboschfontein Nature Reserve, about 300 km east of Cape Town on the Southern Cape coastline, South Africa. The cave contains Middle Stone Age deposits dated at between c. 100,000 and 70,000 years Before Present, a Late Stone Age sequence dated at between 2000 and 300 years BP. The cave site was first excavated in 1991 and field work has been conducted there on a regular basis since 1997, is ongoing; the excavations at Blombos Cave have yielded important new information on the behavioural evolution of anatomically modern humans. The archaeological record from this cave site has been central in the ongoing debate on the cognitive and cultural origin of early humans and to the current understanding of when and where key behavioural innovations emerged among Homo sapiens in southern Africa during the Late Pleistocene. Archaeological material and faunal remains recovered from the Middle Stone Age phase in Blombos Cave – dated to ca. 100,000–70,000 years BP – are considered to represent greater ecological niche adaptation, a more diverse set of subsistence and procurements strategies, adoption of multi-step technology and manufacture of composite tools, stylistic elaboration, increased economic and social organisation and occurrence of symbolically mediated behaviour.
The most informative archaeological material from Blombos Cave includes engraved ochre, engraved bone ochre processing kits, marine shell beads, refined bone and stone tools and a broad range of terrestrial and marine faunal remains, including shellfish, birds and ostrich egg shell and mammals of various sizes. These findings, together with subsequent re-analysis and excavation of other Middle Stone Age sites in southern Africa, have resulted in a paradigm shift with regard to the understanding of the timing and location of the development of modern human behaviour. On 29 May 2015 Heritage Western Cape formally protected the site as a provincial heritage site. Cross-hatching done in ochre on a stone fragment found at Blombos Cave is believed to be the earliest known drawing done by a human in the world. Blombos Cave was first excavated in 1991–1992 as a part of Professor Christopher S. Henshilwood's doctoral thesis. At the University of Cambridge: Holocene archaeology of the coastal Garcia State Forest, southern Cape, South Africa.
Blombos Cave was one of nine Holocene Later Stone Age sites that Henshilwood excavated and it was first given the acronym GSF8. In 1997 GSF8 was renamed Blombos Cave and given its current acronym: BBC. From 1999 to 2011 in total ten field seasons, each six weeks long, have been carried out at the cave site. From the initial excavations conducted in the early 1990s, the Blombos Cave project has adopted and established new and innovative research agendas in the study of southern African prehistory. While Henshilwood's initial, doctoral research was directed towards the more recent Later Stone Age occupation levels, the focus since 1997 has been on the Middle Stone Age sequence; the Blombos Cave project has since developed academically and administratively, from being a local and small-scale test excavation to becoming an international, full scale, high-technological archaeological project. In 2010–2015 the cave site was the focus of the multi-disciplinary, pan-continental research program, the TRACSYMBOLS project.
It was led by Professor Christopher S. Henshilwood based at the Department of Archaeology, Cultural Studies and Religion at the University of Bergen and the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, together with Professor Francesco d'Errico from the University of Bordeaux 1, France; the aim of TRACSYMBOLS project is to examine how key behavioural innovations emerged among Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis in southern Africa and Europe and to explore whether and how environmental variability influenced this development between 180,000 – 25,000 years ago by combining archaeological results, original multi‐proxy palaeoenvironmental data and climatic simulations for two continents. From 2017 the cave site continues to be excavated by many of the same researchers under the newly funded Centre for Early Sapiens Behaviour at the University of Bergen, Norway; the Centre is formed in cooperation with Witwatersrand University, Royal Holloway University of Londn, Université de Bordeaux, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen and UNI research, Norway.
The aim is to follow an broader multi-disciplinary approach, the 10-year programme include cognitive studies, geoscience, climate modelling and reconstruction, fauna etc. The cave is situated in a south-facing cliff face 34.5 meter above sea level, ca. 100 meters from the present day shore line. The cave formation is set in calcretes of the Wankoe Formation, the geological setting indicates that the cave was formed by wave action sometime during the Plio-Pleistocene; the interior of Blombos Cave comprises a single main chamber, the entire interior cave floor is about 39m² behind the drip line. West of the cave's main chamber, anthropogenic deposit extends inwardly 3-5 meter. In this area, the cave ceiling lowers to a point where it falls in level with the surface, preventing access to the deposit beneath. In the area north-east of the main chamber, deposit expands into a low laying ante-chamber of unknown extent due to the sand filling it. By the end of the 2011 field season about 19.5m² of interior cave has been dug during the Blombos Cave excavations.
Blombos Cave's outer talus forms a sloping platform of about 23m² that extends 4-5 meter southwards, before the terrain abruptly drops down towards shoreline that lies some 34,5 meters below the cave entrance. The talus, which prim
Art of the Upper Paleolithic
The art of the Upper Paleolithic represents the oldest form of prehistoric art. Figurative art is present in Europe as well as in Sulawesi, beginning at least 35,000 years ago. Non-figurative cave paintings, consisting of hand stencils and simple geometric shapes, is at least 40,000 years old. According to a 2018 study based on uranium-thorium dating, the oldest examples of Iberian cave art were made as early as 64,000 years ago, implying Neanderthal authorship, which would qualify as art of the Middle Paleolithic; the emergence of figurative art has been interpreted as reflecting the emergence of full behavioral modernity, is part of the defining characteristics separating the Upper Paleolithic from the Middle Paleolithic. The discovery of cave art of comparable age to the oldest European samples in Indonesia has established that similar artistic traditions existed both in eastern and in western Eurasia at 40,000 years ago; this has been taken to suggest that such an artistic tradition must in fact date to more than 50,000 years ago, would have been spread along the southern coast of Eurasia in the original coastal migration movement.
It is important to note that most of the art of this period is expected to have been lost, as it was submerged in the early Holocene sea level rise. Cave art in Europe continued to the Mesolithic about 12,000 years ago. European Upper Paleolithic art is known informally as "Ice Age art", in reference to the last glacial period. In November 2018, scientists reported the discovery of the oldest known figurative art painting, over 40,000 years old, of an unknown animal, in a cave on the Indonesian island of Borneo. Art of the European Upper Paleolithic includes rock and cave painting, drawing, carving and sculpture in: clay, antler and ivory, such as the Venus figurines, musical instruments such as flutes. Decoration was made on functional tools, such as spear throwers, perforated batons and lamps. Engravings on flat pieces of stones are found in considerable numbers at sites with the appropriate geology, with the marks sometimes so shallow and faint that the technique involved is closer to drawing – many of these were not spotted by the earliest excavators, found by teams in spoil heaps.
Painted plaques are less common. It is possible that they were used in rituals, or alternatively heated on a fire and wrapped as personal warmers. Either type of use may account for the many broken examples with the fragments dispersed over some distance. Many sites have large quantities of flat stones used as flooring, with only a minority decorated; some of the oldest works of art were found in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The Venus figurine known as the Venus of Hohle Fels, dates to some 40,000 years ago; the so-called Adorant from the Geißenklösterle cave dates to about the same time. Other fine examples of art from the Upper Palaeolithic includes: cave painting, incised / engraved cave art such as at Creswell Crags, portable art, open-air art. There are numerous carved or engraved pieces of bone and ivory, such as the Swimming Reindeer found in France from the Magdalenian period; these include spear throwers, including one shaped like a mammoth, many of the type of objects called a bâton de commandement.
The animals depicted are prey sought by the Paleolithic hunters, such as reindeer,horses,bisons,mammoth, the woolly rhinoceros, birds, as well as apex predators such as lions panthers or leopards,hyenas and bears. The human form was represented comparatively rarely; the Lion-man of Hohlenstein-Stadel is a hybrid creature with a lion's head on a human body. Representation of males are rare prior to incipient Mesolithic. Mesolithic examples include the "Pin Hole man" of Derbyshire. There is evidence for some craft specialization, the transport over considerable distances of materials such as stone and, above all marine shells, much used for jewellery and decorating clothes. Shells from Mediterranean species have been found at Gönnersdorf, over 1,000 kilometres from the Mediterranean coast; the higher sea levels today mean that the level and nature of coastal settlements in the Upper Paleolithic are now submerged and remain unknown. Cave paintings from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi are situated in the Caves in the district of Maros were dated based on Uranium–thorium dating in a 2014 study.
The oldest dated image was a hand stencil, given a minimum age of 39,900 years. A painting of a babirusa was dated to at least 35.4 ka, placing it among the oldest known figurative depictions worldwide. A cave at Turobong in South Korea containing human remains has been found to contain carved deer bones and depictions of deer that may be as much as 40,000 years old. Petroglyphs of deer or reindeer found at Sokchang-ri may date to the Upper Paleolithic. Potsherds in a style reminiscent of early Japanese work have been found at Kosan-ri on Jeju island, due to lower sea levels at the time, would have been accessible from Japan. In November 2018, scientists reported the discovery of the oldest known figurative art painting, over 40,000
Diepkloof Rock Shelter
Diepkloof Rock Shelter is a rock shelter in Western Cape, South Africa in, found some of the earliest evidence of the human use of symbols, in the form of patterns engraved upon ostrich eggshell water containers. These date around 60,000 years ago; the symbolic patterns consist of lines crossed at right oblique angles by hatching. It has been suggested that "by the repetition of this motif, early humans were trying to communicate something, they were trying to express the identity of the individual or the group." The cave is about 17 kilometres from the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean in a semi-arid area, near Elands Bay about 150 kilometres north of Cape Town. It occurs in quartzitic sandstone in a butte that overlooks in an east direction 100 metres above the Verlorenvlei River, it contains one of "most complete and continuous Middle Stone Age sequences in southern Africa" stretching from before 130,000 BP to about 45,000 BP and encompassing pre-Stillbay, Howiesons Poort, post-Howiesons Poort periods.
It is 15 metres deep. Research is based upon finds discovered in a trench excavated within it, 16 metres across and 3.6 metres in depth. The deposits consist of burnt and nonburnt organic residues and ash that came from hearths, ash dumps and burnt bedding, it was first excavated in 1973 by Cedric Poggenpoel. Since 1999 it has been researched in a collaboration between the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cape Town and the Institute of Prehistory and Quaternary Geology at the University of Bordeaux. At Diepkloof Rock Shelter, from 70-74 ka bifaces and bifacial points are present while less complex forms such as backed artifacts occur from 70 ka through 60 ka and are subsequently replaced with unifacial points. Quartz and quartzite predominate the earliest unit with few occurrences of silcrete. During 70-74 ka unit, silcrete has replaced quartz while quartzite is still dominant. From 65-70 ka quartz becomes dominant again with quartzite being present; some 270 fragments of ostrich eggshell containers have been found covered with engraved geometric patterns.
The fragments have a maximum size of 20–30 mm, though a number have been fitted into larger 80 × 40 mm fragments. It is estimated. Eggshell fragments have been found throughout the period of occupation of the cave but those with engraving are found only in several layers within the Howiesons Poort period; these occur across 18 stratigraphic units those with the stratigraphic names Frank and Darryl. This suggests the tradition of engraving lasted for several thousand years; the engraving consists of abstract linear repetitive patterns, including a hatched band motif. One fragment has two parallel lines, it has been suggested that they form "a system of symbolic representation in which collective identities and individual expressions are communicated, suggesting social and cognitive underpinnings that overlap with those of modern people." Moreover, they show "the development of a graphic tradition and the complex use of symbols to mediate social interactions. The large number of marked pieces shows that there were rules for composing designs but having room within the rules to allow for individual and/or group preferences."Earlier finds exist of symbolism, such as the 75,000-year-old engraved ochre chunks found in the Blombos cave, but these are isolated and difficult to tell apart from meaningless doodles.
The engravings are found on ostrich eggshells. Ostrich eggshells have an average volume of 1 litre, they may have had drinking spouts, holes to enable them to be strung as a canteen for easier carrying, seem to have been part of "daily hunter-gatherer life". They involved skill to make, with one of the researchers involved noting "Ostrich egg shells are quite hard. Doing such engravings is not so easy." The preservation of organic matter such as wood, grass and fruits at the site has been described as "exceptional". Pollen remains allow the identification of the local plants; the Howiesons Poort period shows evidence for thicket or shrubland vegetation now found in gorges, such as Diospyros, Cassine peragua, Maytenus and Hartogiella schinoides. Afromontane trees found in the area, include Ficus, Kiggelaria africana, Podocarpus elongatus, Celtis africana; this suggests a more diversely wooded riverine environment than now present in the area. Animal remains include those of mammals and intertidal marine shells.
Most bones found in the cave come from rock hyrax, cape dune mole-rats and grysbok. Animals from rocky environments are found including klipspringer, vaalribbok. There is evidence of local grasslands, with remains of zebras and hartebeest. Hippopotamus and southern reedbuck came from the local river; the sea coast seems to have moved up the river, as there are fragments from black mussels, granite limpets, Cape fur seals. Although there are ostrich-shell remains, no ostrich bones have been found. Tortoise bones are those of the angulate tortoise, still found in the area; these are noted to have been "remarkably large compared with their Late Stone Age counterparts, suggesting different intensities of predation between MSA and Late Stone Age populations". Diepkloof Rock Shelter was declared a provincial heritage site by Heritage Western Cape on 23 September 2014 in terms of Section 27 of the National Heritage Resources Act; this gives the site Grade II status and provides it with protection under South African heritage law.
In 2015, the South African government submitte
Ochre or ocher is a natural clay earth pigment, a mixture of ferric oxide and varying amounts of clay and sand. It ranges in colour from yellow to deep brown, it is the name of the colours produced by this pigment a light brownish-yellow. A variant of ochre containing a large amount of hematite, or dehydrated iron oxide, has a reddish tint known as "red ochre"; the word ochre describes clays colored with iron oxide, derived during the extraction of tin and copper. Ochre is a family of earth pigments, which includes yellow ochre, red ochre, purple ochre and umber; the major ingredient of all the ochres is iron oxide-hydroxide, known as limonite, which gives them a yellow colour. Yellow ochre, FeO·nH2O, is a hydrated iron hydroxide called gold ochre. Red ochre, Fe2O3, takes its reddish colour from the mineral hematite, an anhydrous iron oxide. Purple ochre, is identical to red ochre chemically but of a different hue caused by different light diffraction properties associated with a greater average particle size.
Brown ochre FeO, is a hydrated iron oxide. Sienna contains both limonite and a small amount of manganese oxide, which makes it darker than ochre. Umber pigments contain a larger proportion of manganese; when natural sienna and umber pigments are heated, they are dehydrated and some of the limonite is transformed into hematite, giving them more reddish colours, called burnt sienna and burnt umber. Ochres are non-toxic and can be used to make an oil paint that dries and covers surfaces thoroughly. Modern ochre pigments are made using synthetic iron oxide. Pigments which use natural ochre pigments indicate it with the name PY-43 on the label, following the Colour Index International system; the use of ochre is intensive: it is not unusual to find a layer of the cave floor impregnated with a purplish red to a depth of eight inches. The size of these ochre deposits raises a problem not yet solved; the colouring is so intense that all the loose ground seems to consist of ochre. One can imagine that the Aurignacians painted their bodies red, dyed their animal skins, coated their weapons, sprinkled the ground of their dwellings, that a paste of ochre was used for decorative purposes in every phase of their domestic life.
We must assume no less, if we are to account for the veritable mines of ochre on which some of them lived... Iron oxide is one of the most common minerals found on earth, there is much evidence that yellow and red ochre pigment was used in prehistoric and ancient times by many different civilizations on different continents. Pieces of ochre engraved with abstract designs have been found at the site of the Blombos Cave in South Africa, dated to around 75,000 years ago; the practice of ochre painting was prevalent in ancient Australia. Pleistocene burials with red ochre date as early as 40,000 BP and ochre played a role in expressing symbolic ideologies of the earliest arrivals to the continent. In Wales, the paleolithic burial called the Red Lady of Paviland from its coating of red ochre has been dated to around 33,000 years before present. Paintings of animals made with red and yellow ochre pigments have been found in paleolithic sites at Pech Merle in France, the cave of Altamira in Spain; the cave of Lascaux has an image of a horse coloured with yellow ochre estimated to be 17,300 years old.
According to some scholars, Neolithic burials used red ochre pigments symbolically, either to represent a return to the earth or as a form of ritual rebirth, in which the colour symbolises blood and the Great Goddess. In Ancient Egypt, yellow was associated with gold, considered to be eternal and indestructible; the skin and bones of the gods were believed to be made of gold. The Egyptians used yellow ochre extensively in tomb painting, though they used orpiment, which made a brilliant colour, but was toxic, since it was made with arsenic. In tomb paintings, men were always shown with brown faces, women with yellow ochre or gold faces. Red ochre in Ancient Egypt was used as a rouge. Ochre-coloured lines were discovered on the Unfinished Obelisk at the northern region of the Aswan Stone Quarry, marking work sites. Ochre clays were used medicinally in Ancient Egypt: such use is described in the Ebers Papyrus from Egypt, dating to about 1550 BC. Ochre was the most used pigment for painting walls in the ancient Mediterranean world.
In Ancient Greece, red ochre was called μίλτος, míltos. In Athens when Assembly was called, a contingent of public slaves would sweep the open space of the Agora with ropes dipped in miltos: those citizens that loitered there instead of moving to the Assembly area would risk having their clothes stained with the paint; this prevented them from wearing these clothes in public again, as failure to attend the Assembly incurred a fine. It was known as "raddle", "reddle" or "ruddle" and was used to mark sheep and can be used as a waxy waterproof coating on structures; the reddle was sold as a ready-made mixture to farmers and herders by travelling workers called reddlemen. A reddleman named Diggory Venn was prominently described in Thomas Hardy's 1878 novel entitled The Return of the Native. In classical antiquity, the finest red ochre came from a Greek colony on the Black Sea where the modern city of Sinop in Turkey is located, it was regulated and marked by a special seal