A new discovery was just reported in the New York Times of a
100,000 year old paint making workshop in a South African cave. The
archeologists found hundred’s of pieces of red ocher stone, special ocher
grinding stones, tools made from animal bones and large abalone shells where
the paint was mixed. Before this discovery, the oldest workshop discovered was
60,000 years old while the oldest cave art found was 40,000 years old (and the
most famous cave paintings in Lascaux, France was only 17,000 years old).
The cave is called Blombos, on a high cliff overlooking the
Indian Ocean (hence the abalone shells) on the tip of South Africa. These
paint makers blended the red ocher with the binding fat of mammal-bone marrow,
charcoal, quartz grains and an unknown liquid in the shells and then scooped it
out with bone spatulas. To read the NY Times article click here.