An Overview of Recent Research at Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa.

  • Author: Liora Kolska Horwitz and Michael Chazan
  • Topic: Older than 250,000 BP,Environmental archaeology,Human remains,Lithic studies,Palaeoanthropology,Zooarchaeology
  • Country: South Africa
  • Related Congress: 13th Congress, Dakar

Wonderwerk Cave (27o50’ 45”S. 23o 33” 19”E) is a dolomite tube, extending over 140 meters into the eastern flank of the Kuruman Hills in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa. The cave deposits have yielded a remarkable cultural and paleoenvironmental record spanning over 2 million years, with excellent preservation of both floral and faunal remains. An interdisciplinary research team is currently engaged in a comprehensive study of the chronlogy, archaeology, paleontology and paleoclimate, and site formation processes at Wonderwerk Cave. Here we present an overview of recent research with a particular focus on chronology, site formation processes, and the nature of hominin activity at the site. Topics to be included will be the low density of both lithic and faunal remains in the front part of the cave and the questions raised by the occupation of the back of the cave (Excavation 6) attributed to the Fauresmith. The results of our research confirm the significance of Wonderwerk Cave as a crucial site for the study of the prehistory and paleoenvironments of southern Africa.

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