Palaeontology and archaeology of Western Cape, South Africa

Cederberg, South Africa



Time-travelling in the Cape

Tom Gray

Tue, 14 Nov 2006

While most visitors to the Western Cape are happy to explore the Garden Route, the wine routes, the whale route and more, there’s one route that has yet to be fully ‘discovered’, and yet it’s probably the most unique of the lot — the route back in time.

While the cradle of humankind complex near Sterkfontein [but is it? See here] has done much to highlight South Africa’s unique position on the map of human prehistory, the fact is that the Western Cape’s incredible scale of history has yet to be fully exploited.

From 450-million-year-old glacier tracks in the Cederberg (try to imagine that on a blistering Cederberg summer’s day), to dinosaur graveyards and traces of the earliest human beings, the region has a wealth of sites waiting to be properly discovered by visitors.

There are one million years of archaeology here, says Professor John Parkington of the UCT Archaeology department, pointing to shell middens along the coastlines and metres-deep evidence of human habitation in mountain caves.

But most remarkable of all is the fact that the very origin of our species is written on the rock walls of the Cederberg.

Bigger brain, better art

For while archaeological sites further up the continent contain examples of our ancestors, and possibly the mythical “missing link” between us and the apes, it’s in the Western Cape that we find the first examples of homo sapiens, our species or literally “people like us”.

Cederberg has San rock art: here; and here.

4 thoughts on “Palaeontology and archaeology of Western Cape, South Africa

  1. Pingback: New wasp species discovered on Table Mountain, South Africa | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: South African leopards like Chanel perfume | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: South Africa’s oldest Australopithecus fossil | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: 70,000 years old python sanctuary in Botswana | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.