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Thread: Prehistoric Man Made Milk-based Paint 49,000 years ago

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    Prehistoric Man Made Milk-based Paint 49,000 years ago

    • Stone flake covered in milk and ochre paint was found in Sibudu Cave, a
      rock shelter in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
    • First time milk proteins have been identified in an ochre-based paint
    • Shows South Africans made paint from the ingredients 49,000 years ago
    • Ancient people may have used pigmented mixture to decorate themselves




    Ancient cave paintings are testimony to the fact Stone Age man was keen artist.

    Now researchers have recovered a small stone flake that suggests South Africans
    expertly made their paint using milk and ochre 49,000 years ago.

    They may have used the pigmented mixture to decorate themselves or stone slabs.


    Researchers claim that South Africans made paint from milk and
    ochre 49,000 years ago, which they may have used to decorate
    themselves or stone slabs.



    While the use of ochre - a natural pigment containing iron oxide than can range from yellow and orange to red and brown – by early humans in what is now South Africa dates stretches back 125,000 years ago, this is the first time milk proteins have been identified in an ochre-based paint.

    The ancient people probably obtained the milk by killing lactating members of the bovid family, such as buffalo, eland, kudu and impala, according to Paola Villa, a curator at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History and lead study author.

    ‘Although the use of the paint still remains uncertain, this surprising find establishes the use of milk with ochre well before the introduction of domestic cattle in South Africa,’ she said.

    ‘Obtaining milk from a lactating wild bovid also suggests that the people may have attributed a special significance and value to that product.’


    An international research team discovered the milk and ochre covered
    flake dating back 49,000 years in a layer of Sibudu Cave, a rock shelter
    in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The area is shaded on this map.




    THE MILK AND OCHRE-BASED PAINT


    A 49,000-year-old stone flake covered in the milk and ochre based paint was found in a layer of Sibudu Cave, a rock shelter in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

    It's the first time that milk proteins have been identified in an ochre-based paint.

    Experts think the ancient people probably got the milk by killing lactating members of the bovid family, such as buffalo, eland, kudu and impala.

    This hints that the paint was highly valued by them.

    Ochre and milk paint may have been used to decorate the body, preserve hides and used as an adhesive to make stone tools.





    The ancient people probably got the milk by killing lactating members
    of the bovid family, such as buffalo, eland, kudu (modern animals
    pictured) and impala, according to Paola Villa.



    Cattle were not domesticated in South Africa until 1,000 to 2,000 years ago, but wild bovids separate from the herd to give birth, which may have made them easy prey for Stone Age hunters.

    An international team led by the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, found the powdered paint mixture on the edge of a small stone flake in a layer of Sibudu Cave, a rock shelter in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

    Caves in the region were occupied by anatomically modern humans in the Middle Stone Age from approximately 77,000 to 38,000 years ago, according to Dr Villa.

    While ochre powder production and its use are documented in a number of Middle Stone Age South African sites, there has been no evidence of the use of milk as a chemical binding agent until this discovery.

    The location of the dried paint compound might indicate the stone flake may have been used as a mixing implement to combine ochre and milk, or an applicator to spread paint, according to the study published in Plos One.


    Body painting is widely practiced by the indigenous San people in
    South Africa, and is depicted in ancient rock art.The modern Himba
    people in Namibia mix ochre with butter as a colouring agent for
    skin, hair and leather clothing. A member of the Himba tribe is
    pictured here wearing traditional body paint.



    Scientists have previously found evidence of ochre dating back 250,000 years at African and European sites.

    Experts have surmised that ochre was sometimes combined by ancient Africans with resin or plant gum to use as an adhesive for attaching shafts to stone tools or wooden bone handles.

    Dr Villa said it may also have been used to preserve hides and for body paint.

    Body painting is widely practiced by the indigenous San people in South Africa, and is depicted in ancient rock art.

    The modern Himba people in Namibia mix ochre with butter as a colouring agent for skin, hair and leather clothing.





    Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencet...years-ago.html



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