http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.08Change: -0.01
R/$ = 11.55Change: 0.02
Au 1258.20 $/ozChange: -1.10
Pt 1221.50 $/ozChange: 4.00
 
 
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 Letters 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
Updated 26 minutes ago When making high-powered science and technology decisions, it is necessary to involve science and technology professionals. It really is. It is necessary to listen to the opinions of science and technology professionals. It really is. Do readers detect a note of...
The 2014 matric results came out and the pass rate was a couple of percentage points lower than the previous year. That is fine. It is an acceptable number and gives one confidence in the system.  A year ago, when there was such euphoria at a significant increase in...
Every year, there is a major hype about matric results and this is taken as a measure of the educational health of the country. This is wrong.  Matric supplies only one aspect of the workforce of the nation. Just before Christmas, I was invited to visit a factory for...
More
 
 
Latest News
Updated 5 hours ago Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to Africa fell by 3% to around $55-billion in 2014, amid an 8% fall in global inflows to an estimated $1.26-trillion, from $1.36-trillion in 2013. In its Global Investment Trends Monitor, the United Nations Conference on Trade...
Updated 7 hours ago A trading demonstration has showcased the applicability, functionality, utility and readiness of the well-established, commercial and financial electronic infrastructure provided by private-sector commodity registry Silocerts and the JSE as a potential platform for...
Updated 7 hours ago While South African consumers will get a reprieve on the back of a lower oil price, all the potential benefits could be overshadowed by the nation’s ongoing electricity shortages. A surprise cut to below $50/bl for crude oil would soften the blow of rising costs on...
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
Updated 18 minutes ago The international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope – which is to be jointly hosted by South Africa and Australia with, later, outstations in other countries – may not yet exist, but international scientific working groups are already deciding what...
Updated 18 minutes ago A free Web-based solar power plant capacity-planning tool offers project planners and developers, as well as governments, a means to assess the solar energy potential of thin-film solar PV power over an area of land. The tool was developed by thin-film solar...
Updated 18 minutes ago As yet, no specific methodology, timeline or costs have been finalised to remedy the water ingress, excessive to contractual specifications, into the Gautrain tunnel between emergency shaft two (E2) and Park Station, says Bombela Concession Company technical and...
ASTRAPAK The group highlighted that executive strategic interventions and other group-wide business improvement imperatives were progressing favourably
Updated 18 minutes ago The “seriously disruptive” electricity outages in South Africa have cost packaging group Astrapak more than R2-million in “irrecoverable downtime costs”, the company said on Monday, adding that the power cuts were negating some of the benefit of energy saving...
Updated 18 minutes ago Bakkies and more affordable cars dominated South Africa’s new vehicle market in 2014. Unaudited data from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) shows that South Africa’s most popular vehicle in 2014 was the Toyota Hilux, selling 37 562 units.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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