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Africa – The Cradle of Humankind
World-renowned archaeologist Professor Phillip Tobias once said that “Humanity was Africa’s gift to the world.” Many scholars believe that Africa is the birthplace of mankind, and with substantial archaeological findings in their favor, the world tends to agree.
South Africa – Journey to the Origins
South Africa is home to some three million years of prehistory and history, inherited from ancient cultures who made their mountains and plains their home. This rich heritage places the country among the few regions in the world where these steps towards cultural development can be followed. If you are interested in the origins of mankind, a trip to South Africa is highly recommended. There are a host of places where incredible discoveries have been made over the years and they are now open to members of the public. Trips to these countries allow enthusiasts to see their origins.
By 1924, the world had focused its attention on Asia in the search for the origins of mankind. Professor Raymond Dart revolutionized this way of thinking when he discovered the skull of a six-year-old child in a block of stone sent to him from the town of Taung in the North West Province of South Africa. The skull exhibited both ape and human anatomical features and was named Australopithecus africanus. Kafka is considered among the 20 most important scientific discoveries of the 20th century. After the skull was discovered, scientists turned their attention to South Africa and a large number of archaeological sites were found. of Taung Heritage Site now one of South Africa’s top tourist destinations, a monument has been built to commemorate the discovery and an old mining tunnel has been reopened for visitors to explore. The Blue Pools are another feature that attracts visitors to the Heritage Site. Discovered after a dynamite explosion on a mountain!
in which lime was being quarried, the pools are surrounded by caves and streams and are a popular spot for hiking, plane rides, picnics and barbeques.
Another remarkable discovery was made in 1947 by Dr Robert Broom, who discovered a perfectly preserved adult skull, Australopithecus africanus, belonging to the 2.5 million year old “Mrs. Ples” at Sterkfontein. Several hundred discoveries followed, some dating back 3.5 million years, and the Sterkfontein site earned its name – Cradle of Humanity. Some of the Cradle’s finds include 500 skulls, jaws, teeth and skeletal fossils of early hominids, thousands of other animal fossils, over 300 fossil wood fragments and over 9,000 stone tools. Cradle of Humanity [http://www.africanoutposts.co.za/index.q] it is a World Heritage Site and certain areas are open to the public. There are also various exhibitions, guided tours and lectures by renowned archaeologists. The Cradle Restaurant is the perfect day of exploration and enlightenment. This beautiful restaurant built of stone, steel and glass opens on three sides with a magnificent view of Africa!
South Africa’s Limpopo Province is a land of myth and legend – the area has a rich cultural history and has many archaeological sites. of Makapansi cave and nearby archaeological and fossil sites are located at Makapansgat Farm, 19 km north of Mokopane. It was here in 1948 that the fossil remains of Australopithecus africanus, a 3.5 million year old ape, were found by Raymond Dart. The Makapans Valley, a National Heritage site and currently in line for World Heritage status, contains an extensive and complete record of hominid occupation. The Makapan Caves are full of fossils and archaeological remains and you can take a tour of the caves and area.
Long before Bartholomew Dias laid siege to the Cape in 1488, the art of goldsmithing was being mastered by the Bantu-speaking people living nearby The Limpopo River. Recently, gold objects and other exciting finds have been made here. Also near the Limpopo River, Thulamela in the Kruger National Park it was home to a large stone-walled settlement. Much of the ancient stone walls have been restored to their former glory and the National Parks Board is working on plans to make this fascinating site a tourist destination in the northern part of the Kruger National Park. Not only can you marvel at the sites archaeological finds, but you can also enjoy spending time in one of the world’s most popular game reserves.
In recent years, South Africa has once again attracted the attention of the world with the discovery of human remains in Klasies River Caves along the coast of the Eastern Cape. Human remains with modern anatomical features have been found, dating back over 100,000 years. If these dates are correct, then it is in southern Africa that the world’s oldest remains of our species, Homo sapiens, have been found – some 60,000 years before their arrival in Europe and Asia.
In addition to all the human remains discovered in South Africa over the years art treasure. South Africa has the largest collection of Stone Age paintings and carvings in the world. The San have left us a priceless and unique artistic legacy.
Robert Ardry wrote that, “Mankind evolved under the summit of the skies of Africa on the great card table of the African Savannah.” Exploring this evolution is a wonderful way to gain insight into the origins of humanity. Not only will you be enlightened on your tour of the archaeological treasures of South Africa, but you will also be able to experience the modern treasures of these beautiful countries.
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