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Putting a face to a fossil: Meet John Gurche

We chatted to renowned palaeoartist John Gurche about his fascinating work of creating a face from a fossil. You may recognise his work from museums, publications and even some movies.

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Scientist, storyteller, textbook writer: meet our new curator

Kimberleigh Tommy’s curiosity about the past started with a childhood fascination with Egypt. The idea of piecing together the story of a people by carefully examining what they left behind was intriguing. But was this a viable career option for her? She didn’t think so. However, Tommy, now a fully fledged biological anthropologist, proved herself wrong. She has just been appointed curator at the Maropeng and Sterkfontein Caves Visitor Centres.

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Our curator’s farewell: it’s not a goodbye, it’s a see you later

We’re sad to see her go, but our curator, Dr Keneiloe Molopyane, is about to embark on an exciting new chapter in her career in the palaeosciences. Molopyane will be leaving her position as curator at Maropeng at the end of March to head back into academia and exploration. We chatted to her as she prepares to take the next step.

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Introducing Dr Keneiloe Molopyane

Maropeng’s intrepid curator, Keneiloe Molopyane, has dived fearlessly into caves and oceans in search of answers to one of humankind’s most intriguing questions: “Where do we come from?” Yet, despite her adventures, she counts her journey to her doctorate as among her most daunting challenges.

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Taking the world on our journey of discovery: UW 105

Maropeng’s intrepid curator, Keneiloe Molopyane, has been part of a team uncovering a mystery at a new fossil site in the Cradle of Humankind. The site is called UW 105 and since September, teams of scientists have been meticulously mapping out the underground area and creating an above-ground replica to analyse their findings thoroughly. She’s penned a piece on the fascinating work going on at the site.

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We’re reopening! Here’s what you need to know

The Maropeng Visitor Centre and the Sterkfontein Caves will be open during the festive season. Please note, we are only allowing online bookings in order to limit the number of visitors to our site. No tickets will be sold on site.

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Got a question? Here’s our Covid-19 FAQ

We’ve put together an FAQ to help you plan your trip to our sites in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site in Gauteng, South Africa.

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#FossilFriday feature: Drimolen skull shows evidence of microevolution

A skull discovered at the Drimolen Palaeocave System in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site is making global headlines. Researchers say the Paranthropus robustus specimen shows evidence of microevolution. The findings were published earlier this week.

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On reopening Maropeng: a letter from our MD

Since we moved to lockdown level 1 in September, we have received a flood of enquiries from South Africans eager to visit or revisit our vast site. In all likelihood, and at the very least, Maropeng, the official visitor centre to the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, and the Maropeng Boutique Hotel, will be able to reopen in December this year.

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The Maropeng family mourns the loss of a shining star

The team at Maropeng is mourning the loss of a dear friend and colleague, Dinaledi Esau. Dinaledi joined the Maropeng team in 2013 and was a member of the first team of Cradle Ambassadors when the programme was launched in 2017.

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The Maropeng maintenance team: willing, able and upbeat

The Maropeng brand is recognised for so much more than its work showcasing the world-renowned fossil discoveries that have come out of South Africa.

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Maropeng through the eyes of our guides

A tour of Maropeng and the Sterkfontein Caves is a voyage of delight and discovery. It will take you on a trip through time as you visit caves famous for their fossil finds and learn more about humanity’s history.

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Changing the narrative: celebrating South Africa’s young scientists

Whether they’re making their own stone tools, squeezing through caves or making anthropology accessible to more South Africans, our country has a vibrant cohort of young scientists who are doing their bit to uncover humanity’s origin story. During Youth Month this year, we decided to turn the spotlight on them.

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Opinion: I can’t breathe

“It may be innocuous to you, my friend and peer,” my black, 18-year-old son wrote to his white friends at school.

“I don’t usually like posting and talking about race, because it’s such a sensitive, controversial topic. And most people don’t seem to care when it doesn’t involve them. But I would like to ask you a few questions.

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Owning the African story: the role of museums in 2020

When she took the reins as curator at Maropeng, adventurer and archaeologist Keneiloe Molopyane had a compelling notion of the importance of museums in society. Nine months later, on International Museum Day, Molopyane, an archaeologist and biological anthropology PhD candidate, shared her thoughts on the impact and importance of museums on the African continent.

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Bones and Stones: Curator in the Cradle

Covid-19 and the lockdowns that countries are dealing with worldwide have meant a reinvention of how people stay connected. Faced with this challenge, three archaeologists, Matt Lotter, Tim Forssman and Matt Caruana, have come together to produce a podcast titled “Bones and Stones”.

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Be sure to #VisitTheCradleLater

Right now, the best thing we can all do for each other is to stay at home and stay healthy. While you’re not able to come and visit us right now, we know you’ll #VisitTheCradleLater. In the meantime, share your best pictures of your adventures in the Cradle of Humankind with us.

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How to keep learning during lockdown

Are you scrambling to find interesting ways to keep your children busy during the lockdown? Here’s a look at some of our favourite ideas from around the world.

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Maropeng memories: how our site has been honouring our human rights

Human rights are the moral compass that has been guiding and nurturing human civilisation for centuries. They exist to encourage freedom of expression, ensure that people have access to basic necessities and protect us from all kinds of injustices.

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Find out more about the Cradle by dipping into these three books

Maropeng has contributed a whole lot more to history than acting as a discovery site for archaeological treasures. Since opening to the public in 2005, the Unesco World Heritage Site has spent the past 14-plus years hosting world-class conferences, helping to organise prestigious book launches and collaborating with world-renowned intellectuals who are helping to rewrite human history.

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#MaropengTurns14: celebrate our significant discoveries – and win!

Since opening to the public back in 2005, Maropeng has fulfilled more than just its mandate of collecting, preserving and exhibiting items of historical importance.

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Christmas cuisine and cosy accommodation at the Cradle

Even your home-cooking skills deserve a break during the holidays! So why don’t you take time off and bring the family to the Maropeng Boutique Hotel?

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HANDS that rock the Cradle: bringing locally inspired pieces to Maropeng

Prepare to make a whole new discovery when you go to the Cradle of Humankind and visit the HANDS that rock the Cradle shop at Maropeng. The arts and crafts shop officially opened its doors for business on 1 November 2019.

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The Long March to Freedom has moved on

Maropeng has bade a fond farewell to the iconic The Long March to Freedom exhibition, which we hosted at Maropeng for nearly a year.