The ochre assemblage from Pinnacle Point 5-6

Author(s): James McGrath; Jocelyn Bernatchez

Year: 2015


In recent years, southern Africa has figured prominently in the modern human origins debate due to increasing evidence for precocious behaviors considered to be unique to our species. These significant findings have included bone tools, shell beads, engraved ostrich eggshell, and heavily ground and engraved ochre fragments. The presence of ochre in Middle Stone Age (MSA, ~250-40kya) archaeological sites in southern Africa is often proposed as indirect evidence for the emergence of symbolic or artistic behavior, a uniquely modern human trait. However, there is no remaining artwork from this period and there is significant debate about what the ochre may have been used for. Compared to other artifact classes, ochre has gone largely unstudied. A solid understanding of the ochre record throughout the MSA is necessary in order to fully assess the role of ochre in the behavioral development of modern humans. This paper presents the ochre record from a long sequence of the MSA at Pinnacle Point 5-6 in Mossel Bay, South Africa.

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Cite this Record

The ochre assemblage from Pinnacle Point 5-6. Jocelyn Bernatchez, James McGrath. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396808)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;