The team has uncovered a thorny oyster shell containing the remnants of pigments. The pigments, made of ground minerals and mixed or stored in the shell palettes, could have been used as foundation or body paint. The oyster shell pigment is made from haematite, pyrite, and charcoal, creating a dark reddish-black look with a shimmery effect like today’s glitter powders. Two yellows are from ground goethite and natrojarosite; the latter was used as make up in Ancient Egypt.
Could the two sides of a an oyster shell have been fastened together to form the first compact?
The scientists also discovered cockle and scallop shells; the fact they all have holes and were painted suggests they were strung on a necklace.
Until recently, the Neanderthals have been thought of as our less intelligent ancestor. But these finds indicate that they gathered the ingredients, prepared complex paints and used the colour for decoration. It seems that the Neanderthal people were more sophisticated than we previously thought.