Stone Age paint shop unearthed

Finds show how ancient people created and stored a red-colored liquid

By Bruce Bower, 12:09 PM October 13, 2011

People concocted a colorful pigment of their imagination around 100,000 years ago. In a cave hugging what’s now South Africa’s coast, Stone Age humans stirred up a recipe for a red-hued paint that they stored in abalone shells and possibly used to decorate themselves or their belongings.

In a technological advance impressive for its time, these hardy foragers worked out a system for collecting components of a pigmented compound, producing the substance and storing it.

“Recovery of these t...

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