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SEMINAR: Archaeology Seminar Series

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Today's date is Wednesday, March 03, 2021
Archaeology Seminar Series : Identifying diachronic changes in ochre behaviours throughout the Upper Palaeolithic (ca. 40-12.5 kya) of Southwestern Germany Other events...
Though many European Upper Palaeolithic (ca. 40-12.5 kya)sites boast early examples of symbolic expression in the form of “artistic” materials (e.g. cave art, personal ornaments,figurines), comparatively little research has been conducted on the intricacies surrounding the use of ochre materials outside of Neanderthal and purely cave art contexts. This gap in research is largely the result of a lack of systematic and holistic analyses of ochre and pigment materials from Upper Palaeolithic Central European sites. Here, I present an indepth study on the diachronic changes in ochre behaviours at Hohle Fels cave, Germany. A recent reassessment of the assemblage yielded 935 individual ochre artefacts, with 27 bearing definite traces of anthropogenic modification and 21 artefacts that are possibly modified. These artefacts show that while a wide variety of ochre types, textures, and colours is seen throughout the entire sequence, more hematite-rich specular ochres as well as fine-grained deep-red iron oxide clays were preferred during the Gravettian (ca. 30-27 kya) and Magdalenian (15.5-12.5 kya), while the Aurignacian (40-30 kya) contains a vast array of colours and textures. These artefacts,along with modern-day ochre samples from surveys, were further investigated using neutron activation analysis (NAA) in order to explore questions of “provenance” or whether the artefacts could be attributed to geological sources. The results show that while new evidence for distant (≥300 km) ochre procurement is seen in the Aurignacian, local sources were consistently accessed throughout the entire Upper Palaeolithic. Furthermore, a comparative analysis of ochres from nearby contemporary cave sites of Geißenklösterle and Vogelherd show that though inhabitants of these caves collected ochre from the same areas, some sources were kept exclusive to certain groups. This data, coupled with the presence of artefacts with ochre residues as well climatic and environmental fluctuations, offer an example of the complexity of ochre behaviours and how these changed and flourished over time in Southwestern Germany.
Speaker(s) Elizabeth Velliky
Location Law Lecture Room 1, G.31
Contact Ana Paula Motta <[email protected]>
Start Thu, 28 Mar 2019 16:00
End Thu, 28 Mar 2019 17:00
Submitted by Karen Eichorn <[email protected]>
Last Updated Fri, 22 Mar 2019 14:29
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