Sites & cities that bear the name of Wonderwerk Cave

Wonderwerk Cave

Today in : South Africa
First trace of activity : ca. 2,000,000 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 10th century C.E

Description : Wonderwerk Cave is an archaeological site, formed originally as an ancient solution cavity in dolomite rocks of the Kuruman Hills, situated between Danielskuil and Kuruman in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa. It is a National Heritage Site, managed as a satellite of the McGregor Museum in Kimberley. Geologically, hillside erosion exposed the northern end of the cavity, which extends horizontally for about 140 m (460 ft) into the base of a hill. Accumulated deposits inside the cave, up to 7 m (23 ft) in-depth, reflect natural sedimentation processes such as water and wind deposition as well as the activities of animals, birds, and human ancestors over some 2 million years. The site has been studied and excavated by archaeologists since the 1940s and research here generates important insights into human history in the subcontinent of Southern Africa. Evidence within Wonderwerk cave has been called the oldest controlled fire. Wonderwerk means "miracle" in the Afrikaans language. The cave contains up to 6 m (20 ft) depth of archaeological deposits reflecting human and environmental history through the Earlier, Middle and Later Stone Ages to the present. Cosmogenic dating suggests that basal sediment entered the cave some 2 million years ago. Rock art occurs in the form of parietal paintings within the first 40 m (130 ft) from the entrance, possibly all less than 1000 years old, and small engraved stones found within the deposit, mainly from the Later Stone Age sequence where they date back some 10,500 years. The associations of older engraved or striated pieces have yet to be substantiated.

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