... But analysis of pierced, hand-coloured shells and lumps of pigment from two caves in south-east Spain suggests the cavepeople who stomped around Europe 50,000 years ago were far more intelligent – and cosmetically minded – than previously thought.
In 1985, archaeologists excavating the Cueva de los Aviones in Murcia found cockle shells perforated as if to be hung on a necklace and an oyster shell containing mineral pigments, hinting that the cave's Neanderthal residents had developed a taste for self-adornment and makeup.
Twenty-three years later, an expedition led by João Zilhão, professor of palaeolithic archaeology at the University of Bristol, turned up a pierced, orange-coloured scallop shell bearing traces of red and yellow pigment at another Murcian cave, Cueva Antón.
Despite its significance, however, the latter find was nearly overlooked.
Analysis of the reddish residues from the oyster shell from Cueva de los Aviones had found a pigment made up of minerals including lepidocrocite, haematite, pyrite, and charcoal.
The orange scallop shell found in Cueva Antón, meanwhile, had been coloured with red haematite and yellow goethite and was probably part of a necklace.
The small quantity of pigment recovered in the oyster shell also led the archaeologists to speculate that it had been made for use on the body. According to Zilhão, the effect of the darkly sparkling preparation would not have been too different from today's coruscating skin powders.
"The idea that came to our minds was that it was some kind of glitter or makeup like the shimmery stuff that people were wearing a few years ago," he said.
"Its preparation makes no sense unless it was used as a body cosmetic. We can't prove it but it makes sense."
As well as yielding evidence of mining, transportation and the ability to work to a complex recipe, said Zilhão, the existence of the cosmetics also provides an insight into Neanderthal psychology. "They are clearly used as something to convey ideas and to decorate the face and body. It shows a symbolic dimension in behaviour and thinking that cannot be denied – especially when found in connection with the perforated and decorated shells."...
Gebruikten neanderthalers make-up?
Geplaatst op 13 januari 2010 - 00:58
In 'The journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences' verscheen een artikel waarbij onderzoekers hun vermoeden uiten dat Neanderthalers make-up gebruikten...
Ik ben niet jong genoeg om alles te weten...
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