Provenance of ochre in the natufian layers of el-Wad Cave, Mount Carmel, Israel

Mina Weinstein-Evron, Shimon Ilani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several types of ochre fragments have been found in the Natufian layers of el-Wad Cave. The same types also occur in iron oxide veins and in alluvial deposits in the area. The ochre was evidently used to extract or produce red haematite pigment, residues of which were found on basalt pestles in the cave. Experimental heating of ochre from different Carmel outcrops produced a red pigment of various colours and hues through transformation of goethite to haematite. Though no positive indication for ochre-burning by the Natufians was found, it is known that they used haematite pigment and that they possessed both the raw material (goethite-calcite type ochre) and the technical means to manufacture it artificially.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-467
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1994


  • El-wad cave
  • Israel
  • Natufian
  • Ochre

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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