New findings that the activity of making images in the sand in the Cape South Coast, Western Cape may date back to between 70 000 - 158 000 years ago may help confirm that the Cape is the Cradle of Human Culture.
The discovery, made by research associate at the African Centre for Coastal Palaeoscience at Nelson Mandela University Dr Charles Helm and his team, further suggests that humankind’s cognitive and creative abilities advanced in this area.
The findings were announced last month.
“We are proud of Dr Helm’s latest findings. It provides further evidence that the development of modern human behaviour started in the Western Cape. This new discovery will form part of the Cradle of Human Culture which was launched earlier this year in conjunction with Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Department of Economic Development and Tourism and the Cradle of Humankind. Our province is rich with cultural heritage and history, this is just another reason why people should visit our province,” says Wesgro CEO Tim Harris.
The Cradle of Human Culture encircles an area focused on three sites – Diepkloof Rock Shelter on the Cape West Coast; Blombos Cave near Stilbaai; and Pinnacle Point near Mossel Bay.
The Cradle consists of two archaeological and paleontological heritage routes, the Artist’s Journey in the Cape West Coast and the Coastal Journey, in the Southernmost Cape Coast, and showcases the earliest evidence of modern human behaviour including social, behavioural and cultural innovation.
Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais commends Dr Charles and his team and gratefully welcomes their latest findings. “The new developments in research now affirms that the Cradle of Human Culture is not only an archaeological discovery, but is indeed a journey of human expression and humanity itself that showcases the behavioural development of Homo sapiens from as far back as 100 000 years ago,” he said.
David Maynier, Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, congratulated Dr Helm and his team: “These are truly extraordinary findings! Archaeological research such as this is so important to our understanding of ancient humans, and these discoveries contribute greatly to our diverse range of cultural tourism offerings in the Western Cape.”