Our ancestors 'decorated houses with homemade paint'

Our ancestors 'decorated houses with homemade paint'

Apart from decorating their homes to brighten the place up, the neolithic men also painted designs like chevrons and zig-zags on interiors; they used red, yellow and orange pigments from ground-up minerals and bound it with animal fat and eggs to make their paint, say the archaeologists.

It is the earliest ever example of man using paint to decorate their properties in Britain, if not in Europe, the 'Daily Mail' reported. Until now experts believed that it was the Romans who were the first to introduce paint to decorate houses to Britain 3,000 years later.

In fact, the archaeologists made the discovery at the site of a Stone Age settlement on the island of Orkney. A neolithic village consisting of 15 small dwellings was first discovered at Brodgar on Orkney in the 1980s.

Then last year archaeologists dug up a number of nearby temples that the inhabitants would have worshipped in. Several stones used to form the buildings have now been found to have been painted and decorated by the locals in 3,000 BC. It's thought that this was done to enhance important buildings and may have been found in entranceways or areas of the building which had particular significance.

Nick Card, of the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology, said: "This is a quite exceptional discovery. We have found seven stones in this ritual centre. Some of them were covered in paint and others appear to have had designs such as chevrons and zig zags painted on.

"When you think of the neolithic period you think of a grey, monochrome world. But we have suspected that colour was a part of their world. Paint pots have been found at various other sites before but we assumed this was for personal adornment. But we now know they used it to paint their walls.

"Earthy colours were used like oranges, yellows and reddy-browns pigments probably derived from various minerals that had been crushed up and mixed with a binding agent such as animal fat or eggs to create this primitive paint."