http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.18Change: 0.02
R/$ = 11.58Change: -0.02
Au 1199.05 $/ozChange: 2.13
Pt 1200.50 $/ozChange: 3.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Feb 06, 2009

Kuruman cave shows technological development started in South Africa

Back
Africa|Fire|Water|Africa|Europe|Australia|South Africa|Spain|Stone Tools|Northern Cape|Red Sea|University Of Toronto|Anne |Francis Thackeray|Henry Methuen|Michael Chazan|Pierre Bosman|Water|East Africa
Africa|Fire|Water|Africa||||||Water|
africa-company|fire|water-company|africa|europe|australia-country|south-africa|spain|stone-tools|northern-cape|red-sea|university-of-toronto|anne|francis-thackeray|henry-methuen|michael-chazan|pierre-bosman|water|east-africa
© Reuse this



There is an amazing cave near Kuruman, in the Northern Cape, which is aptly called Wonderwerk.

It has just revealed some amazing finds. This cave is the oldest known inhabited cave in the world. Evidence of intentional human occupation of the cave two-million years ago has been uncovered by a team of scientists led by Professor Michael Chazan, of the University of Toronto.

The previous oldest known intentionally occupied cave is in Spain, but its date of occupation is 800 000 years ago. There are a few interesting points about Wonderwerk. It is horizontal and extends some 140 m into a hillside. The area is so dry that water deposition inside the cave is only 1 mm/y. So, to all intents and purposes, no water penetrates the ‘floor’ of the cave, which is composed of a 6-m layer of sediment.

Because the cave is horizontal, and because no water has flowed there for a very long time, it has been positively determined that the artefacts found at all levels were left there – they were not washed there from somewhere else.

Stone tools have been found at the bottom of the sediment, and date to two-million years ago. The real interest in this is that it shows that early man was intentionally making and using tools in South Africa long before they were used in present-day Europe.

Humans occupied the Wonderwerk cave for over a million years, much longer than any other site on the planet. There is also evidence of the use of fire in the cave and even the remains of a zebra-sized animal that had been cooked two-million years ago. So South Africa’s braai history goes back much further than people realise.

There is also evidence that the early humans explored deep into the cave, carrying burning brands of grass, so those guys had that type of curiosity. A really amazing find is evidence that stone hand axes were last made at the site 270 000 years ago but then the people moved on to more advanced technology. In the meantime, the same type of hand axe continued to be made in East Africa up to 130 000 years ago and in Europe up to 40 000 years ago.

In other words, the South African early humans were way ahead of people in Europe in terms of technology. In the South African scenario, the early people had progressed from simple stone axes to using shaped, pointed spearheads long before this technology appeared in what is Europe today.

So the idea that primitive people walked from South Africa to Europe, where they became smart and developed tools, which were then propagated back to South Africa, is wrong. The technology started here.

About 240 000 years ago, people moved up Africa. Some 68 000 years ago, a group left Africa by a Red Sea crossing. The result of this was that they split up and colonised Australia and East Asia. Then, some 45 000 years ago, they colonised Europe.

Henry Methuen found the Wonderwerk Cave in July 1844, and was amazed to see the Bushman paintings covering the walls. Pierre Bosman later became the owner of the farm in the area that included the cave. He and his family lived in the cave from 1907 to 1911, while he built his farmhouse.

Then, after the Second World War, there was a great fertiliser shortage, and the Bosman family started to dig out bat guano to sell as fertiliser. They found the first archaeological artefacts. The professionals then moved in.

In 1979, Dr Francis Thackeray, director of the Institute for Human Evolution at the University of the Witwatersrand, carried out a professional examination together with his archaeologist wife, Anne. That set the scene for the continued professional investigation that continues now.

So some of the world’s earliest technology developed in the Northern Cape . . . interesting!

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Dr Kelvin Kemm News
A really interesting social phenomenon is the antinuclear stance of many people. I find many people who are rabidly antinuclear, but then, as I chat to them socially, I find out that they have no idea what they are talking about. They often cannot tell the difference...
Congratulations to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has warned that next year’s climate change summit, to be held in Paris, will fail if world leaders put cutting carbon emissions ahead of economic growth. Abbott’s position is in stark contrast to that of...
National senior soccre team coach Ephraim 'Shakes' Mashaba was quite correct in giving May Mahlangu the chop when the player announced that he was not available to play for Bafana Bafana in recent Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. So, from me, go for it, Shakes –...
More
 
 
Latest News
China appears to have been routinely underestimating output from its sprawling steel sector, with official figures for last year alone 40-million tonnes below a key industry estimate - an amount equivalent to Germany's entire annual production. Beijing has vowed to...
Lumwana, Zambia
Canada’s Barrick Gold Corp will suspend operations at its Lumwana copper mine, in Zambia’s Northwestern province, after the country enacted legislation that raised the royalty rate on openpit mining operations from 6% to 20%. TSX- and NYSE-listed Barrick, the world’s...
The Labour Court in Johannesburg has set aside the 2011-2014 metal sector wage agreement, the National Employers' Association of SA (Neasa) said on Thursday. The 2011-2014 wage deal was the result of an agreement between the Steel and Engineering Industries...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
South Africa remains an important manufacturing and export platform for Ford Motor Company, says executive chairperson Bill Ford. However, he adds that other countries on the continent are “becoming interesting”, and that the US carmaker is casting its net wider for...
TO BE PHASED INTO SERVICE The first MeerKAT dish, with another 63 to come
Germany’s Max-Planck-Society (MPG) and the Max-Planck-Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPlfR) are investing €11-million (about R150-million) into South Africa’s MeerKAT radio telescope array programme. The money will be used to design, build and install S-band radio...
Infrastructure spend in sub-Saharan Africa will grow from $70-billion in 2013 to $180-billion by 2025, says PwC capital projects and infrastructure Africa leader Jonathan Cawood. This is one of the findings of PwC’s Capital Projects & Infrastructure report on East...
Private-owned defence and aerospace manufacturer Paramount Group and the Ichikowitz Family Foundation unveiled its Anti-Poaching Skills and K9 Training Academy in Magaliesburg last month.
MATT BARKER Wireless networks should enable users to engage and must provide relevant information to them based on their activity and location
The inclusion of Bluetooth to provide sub-three meter accuracy and heightened functionality for users is one of the ways to change existing wireless networks into engagement networks. An engagement network differs from common wireless networks in that it enables the...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks