Ochre has been a part of our human story since the very start. Societies have used this distinctive material since prehistory through ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, the Maori people of New Zealand, Paleoindians in the Americas, tribes throughout Africa and, of course, Aboriginal Australians.
Researchers discovered the earliest use of 'human worked' ochre at archaeological sites at Olorgesailie, Kenya, dated to around 307,000 years ago - close to the of the emergence of Homo sapiens. These finds support an emerging view amongst archaeologists and neuroscientists that 'modern' human cognition may have developed much earlier than thought.
A window into our development