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The paper is aimed at studying the traces of paint and pigment residues in the chamber of Chaos at Kapova Cave (Shulgan-Tash), the floor relief of which was formed by large blocks of limestone as a result of a partial collapse of the ceiling. It was on the surface of the stones and in the space between them that numerous caches of a pigment of specifi c mulberry and bright red shades were found, as well as small pigment residues with a diameter of less than 1 cm. 10 samples of such pigments were analyzed. For comparison, samples of pigments from the cultural layer of the Chamber of Signs and the Dome Chamber and fi ve samples of clays from the cave were also selected. A total of 22 samples were analysed using powder X-ray diffraction and 15 samples using scanning electron microscopy and X-ray microanalysis. It was found that two types of pigment were used for the preparation of paints: specularite, which is a form of hematite with large platy crystals up to 30 microns, and red ocher with a size of hematite crystals of 0.4-0.6 microns. For the preparation of paint, the pigments were mixed with clay, which was used as a fi ller. The presence of illite/muscovite in clay is typical for samples from Chamber of Chaos. Kaolinite also was found in pigment samples, which is probably a component of red ocher, and not just clay. Thus, the fi nds caches of pigment on the fl oor in the Chaos Hall have two fundamentally different compositions: the fi rst contains pure specularite or mix with clay and the second is red ocher. Anorthite is present in almost all samples, which can probably be a diagnostic sign of local origin minerals.


Cave art, paints, technology, sources of raw materials, analytical methods, Kapova Cave

Aleksandr S. Pakhunov

Institute of Archeology RAS, Moscow, Russia

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