martes, enero 24, 2012

Pigmento de ocre neandertal de 250 mil años de antigüedad

Al parecer los neandertales ya utilizaban pigmentos como decoración mucho tiempo antes de lo que se tenía documentado hasta la fecha. Fue descubierto en Holanda, en Maastricht-Belvédère, con una antigüedad de entre 200 y 250 mil años. El material es un óxido de hierro o pigmento de ocre, asociado a herramientas de piedra y hueso neandertales. El análisis dio que se trata de un tipo de hematita, y que no es local, sino que la fuente del material estaba a decenas de kilómetros del yacimiento donde lo encontraron.

Aquí una noticia sobre el asunto: El Mundo.

Abstract del paper publicado en PNAS:

The use of manganese and iron oxides by late Neandertals is well documented in Europe, especially for the period 60–40 kya. Such finds often have been interpreted as pigments even though their exact function is largely unknown. Here we report significantly older iron oxide finds that constitute the earliest documented use of red ochre by Neandertals. These finds were small concentrates of red material retrieved during excavations at Maastricht-Belvédère, The Netherlands. The excavations exposed a series of well-preserved flint artifact (and occasionally bone) scatters, formed in a river valley setting during a late Middle Pleistocene full interglacial period. Samples of the reddish material were submitted to various forms of analyses to study their physical properties. All analyses identified the red material as hematite. This is a nonlocal material that was imported to the site, possibly over dozens of kilometers. Identification of the Maastricht-Belvédère finds as hematite pushes the use of red ochre by (early) Neandertals back in time significantly, to minimally 200–250 kya (i.e., to the same time range as the early ochre use in the African record).

image

Publicar un comentario