One of the World’s First Crayons Found in North Yorkshire

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Archaeologists think they may have found the earliest example of a crayon in an ancient lake. These crayons were apparently used to add lively color to their illustrations over 10,000 years ago. The ocher pebble was found at a location that was once one of the most well-known Mesolithic sites in Europe.

The ocher pebble, which has a distinct tan-colored pigmentation, was commonly used to add color to animal skins. In many cases, these drawings were used to teach the inhabitants which animals were safe and which ones were dangerous.

Most of these early cultures 10,000 years ago did not have a written language. Instead, they would draw and pass down knowledge from word of mouth. The University of York was the lead investigative team on this expedition.


According to the Daily Mail, the university found a similar ocher pebble on the other side of the lake, suggesting that this was a heavy foot traffic area where the hunter and gathering community would travel back and forth.

The two ocher pebbles had grind marks on them leaving investigators to think it was scrapped against something to sharpen it and give it that distinct color. The lead investigator, Dr. Andy Needham, told the BBC how he believed the pebbles were used.

“It’s possible there could have been an artistic use for these objects, perhaps for colouring animal skins or for use in decorative artwork,” he said.“Colour was a very significant part of hunter-gatherer life and ochre gives you a very vibrant red colour.”

He added that one of the most recent finds looks exactly like a crayon as it is tipped. “One of the latest objects we have found looks exactly like a crayon, the tip is faceted and has gone from a round end to a really sharpened end, suggesting it has been used,” he said.

To further substantiate their claim, archeologist found 30 red deer antlers that could have been used as a disguise when hunting.