The Working of Pigment during the Aurignacian Period: Evidence from Ucagizli Cave (Turkey)

By Minzoni-Deroche, Angela; Menu, Michel et al. | Antiquity, March 1995 | Go to article overview

The Working of Pigment during the Aurignacian Period: Evidence from Ucagizli Cave (Turkey)


Minzoni-Deroche, Angela, Menu, Michel, Walter, Philippe, Antiquity


New finds from the Upper Palaeolithic of Anatolia, and the mineralogical analysis of their colours, extends evidence of a precocious interest in pigments from the western European heartland of Palaeolithic painting into the Near East.

Introduction

The discovery of a new Palaeolithic site in Turkey was made possible by a recent research programme carried out in the southeastern part of this country. Ucagizli is a cave site located on the east Mediterranean coast at the foot of the Cassius mountains (Minzoni-Deroche 1992). Finds from it - a coloured pebble, a small bladelet with some traces of red colour on one edge, and two coarse nodules of a hard black and red material - suggest the manufacture of pigment by Palaeolithic people.

In the decorated caves of the Pyrenees (largo sensu) from the Magdalenian, analysis of pigment has been carried out on the cave paintings and on mobiliary objects found in the excavations. These identified the manufacture of a specific matter from selected minerals previously ground and mixed together (Clottes et al. 1990a), sometimes also with an organic bmnder (Pepe et al. 1990) - evidence of prehistoric intention to manufacture a real paint, each component of which brought its own property. At La Vache (Alliat, Ariege) for instance, a cave settlement occupied during the Magdalenian period, a true oil paint was manufactured. It was used for painting in the sanctuary of Niaux opposite and across the Vicdessos river (Clottes et al. 1990b). Crayons from Lascaux (Dordogne) (Couraud & Laming Emperaire 1979) or from Arcy-sur-Cure (Yonne) (Couraud 1991) show streaks which may be considered evidence that coloured powder was collected by scraping.

The colour of iron oxides and hydroxides - 'ochres' - changes with simple roasting in open air at moderate temperatures. Goethite, yellow iron hydroxide, becomes browner around 250 [degrees] C, before reaching the bright red colour of haematite, a red iron oxide at about 500 [degrees] C. At higher temperatures, the colour turns to purple and, with temperatures over 1000 [degrees] C, to black (Bouchonnet 1977). In a prehistoric open fire, temperatures between 500 [degrees] C and 700 [degrees] C may be obtained and maintained. Archaeological clues to such a transformation have been forwarded by A. Leroi-Gourhan for the Chatelperronian levels of the Grotte du Renne at Arcy-sur-Cure where nodules of various colours, from yellow to deep red, were excavated in a 'series of small hearths which had been used for the roasting of ochre' (Leroi-Gourhan 1962). In fact, prehistoric people tried very early to modify the colour of minerals from yellow to red. As early as the Mousterian, at La Ferrassie (Dordogne), a sandstone pebble was found with combustion traces; it was associated with ash remains and burnt bone scraps, revealing human intent to make a deep red pigment. Aurignacian remains are numerous: pigments probably heated with various colours have been found, for instance, at La Quina, Les Gardes (Charente) (Henri-Martin 1965) and in the Hyaena Gallery at Brassempouy (Landes) (H. Delporte, pers. comm.). In Perigordian V levels at La Ferrassie, raw nodules associated with used artefacts have been found connected with fire remains. A flat yellow piece of fine sandstone (10.4x6.8x2.8 cm) had been heated on both sides - a change in colour was observed); and it shows many use-wear traces by way of spots and streaks (San Juan 1990). Inside the Upper Solutrean levels from the Fourneau du Diable (Dordogne) (Peyrony 1932) red haematite nodules were excavated in association with yellow goethite ones and combustion remains. From the Upper Magdalenien at Abri Pasquet (Dordogne), F. Carre studied a brownish clay level including traces of human occupation which cannot be interpreted further because of the lack of tools on the minuscule surface that could have been exploited. But he found a small structure made of pebbles which broke out in the fire and upon which spots of red ochre and manganese oxide were found, interpreted as an 'area of colouring matter preparation through roasting' (Carre 1983).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Working of Pigment during the Aurignacian Period: Evidence from Ucagizli Cave (Turkey)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.