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The Use of Ochre and Painting During the Upper Paleolithic of the Swabian Jura in the Context of the Development of Ochre Use in Africa and Europe

Sibylle Wolf
  • Corresponding author
  • Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment, Sigwartstrasse 10, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
  • Department for Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Burgsteige 11, 72070 Tübingen, Germany
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Nicholas J. Conard
  • Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment, Sigwartstrasse 10, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
  • Department for Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Burgsteige 11, 72070 Tübingen, Germany
  • Institut für Naturwissenschaftliche Archäologie, Rümelinstr. 23, 72070 Tübingen, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Harald Floss
  • Department for Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Burgsteige 11, 72070 Tübingen, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Rimtautas Dapschauskas
  • Gerda Henkel Foundation; Department of Prehistory and Middle Eastern Archaeology, University of Heidelberg, Marstallhof 4, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Elizabeth Velliky
  • Institut für Naturwissenschaftliche Archäologie, Rümelinstr. 23, 72070 Tübingen, Germany
  • Archaeology/Centre for Rock-Art Research and Management, M257, Faculty of Arts, School of Social Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley WA 6009, Australia
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Andrew W. Kandel
  • Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, ROCEEH—The Role of Culture in Early Expansions of Humans, University of Tübingen, Rümelinstr. 23, 72070 Tübingen, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2018-05-12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opar-2018-0012


While the earliest evidence for ochre use is very sparse, the habitual use of ochre by hominins appeared about 140,000 years ago and accompanied them ever since. Here, we present an overview of archaeological sites in southwestern Germany, which yielded remains of ochre. We focus on the artifacts belonging exclusively to anatomically modern humans who were the inhabitants of the cave sites in the Swabian Jura during the Upper Paleolithic. The painted limestones from the Magdalenian layers of Hohle Fels Cave are a particular focus. We present these artifacts in detail and argue that they represent the beginning of a tradition of painting in Central Europe.

Keywords : ochre use; Middle Stone Age; Swabian Jura; Upper Paleolithic; Magdalenian painting


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About the article

Received: 2017-06-08

Accepted: 2017-12-13

Published Online: 2018-05-12

Citation Information: Open Archaeology, Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 185–205, ISSN (Online) 2300-6560, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opar-2018-0012.

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