Blombos Cave to feature in Canadian documentary

  • February 08, 2015

Blombos Cave in the Southern Cape is set to feature in a Canadian documentary series on the origins of early man.

The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) has released a statement on the exciting development.

Blombos Cave was discovered in 1991 by Wits researcher, Professor Christopher Henshilwood. In it, archaeologists found marine shell beads, engraved ochre and bone tools that date back 75 000 years.

Panorama shot of Blombos Cave interior, taken during the 2010 field season. Photo courtesy of Magnus Haaland

Researchers believe that these finds may indicate that the roots of modern human behaviour can be traced back to Southern Africa. The documentary will trace the survival story of Homo sapiens.

Speaking about the Blombos discoveries in 2012, Henshilwood stressed the significance of the discovery of what’s believed to be the first abstract art (engraved ochre and engraved ostrich eggshell); the first jewellery (shell beads); the first bone tools; and the first probable use of stone-tipped arrows launched by bow.

“All of these innovations, plus many others we are just discovering, clearly show that Homo sapiens in Southern Africa at that time were cognitively modern and behaving in many ways like ourselves. It is a good reason to be proud of our earliest, common ancestors who lived and evolved in South Africa and who later spread out into the rest of the world after about 60 000 years,” he said.

Much older findings in our own Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site have long suggested that humanity has its roots in Africa.

Mrs Ples, a 2.1-million-year-old Australopithecus africanus skull, and Little Foot, an almost complete Australopithecus prometheus skeleton (that is more than 3-million years old) were found in the Sterkfontein Caves.

If you’d like to visit this ancient site yourself, you can book your tickets here.

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