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The term ochre actually encompasses a vast number of iron ore minerals that can be quite different from each other chemically. Here at Chucalissa, two of the most commonly used types of ochre are hematite (red ochre) and limonite (yellow ochre). Two of the three principal iron ores, hematite and limonite are frequently found in rocks and soils throughout North America. They tend to be dense but relatively easy to grind into a powder, and prehistoric peoples most commonly used them as dyes for items like plant-fiber textiles or woven-cane baskets. Alternately, powdered ochre could be mixed with a suitably viscous material and used as a pigment for personal adornment during ceremonial events or even as a war paint.


Ochre; Red Ochre; Hematite; Mineral