Ancient Eye on Humanity South Africa’s Blombos Cave Is a Window to Our Past—and Perhaps Our Future




New paper published in Oceanography
Dybas, C.L. 2013. Ripple marks—The story behind the story. Oceanography 26(3):10–13, http://
Ripple Marks: The Story Behind the Story by Cheryl Lyn Dabas
“At home” is a perch high above the sea on a rocky ledge along the South African
coast east of Cape Town. “Just here” is an indentation on that cliff, a cave some
35 meters above sea level and 100 meters from the coast.
Called Blombos Cave, it’s a time capsule sealed tens of thousands of years
ago. The cave lies near Cape Agulhas, where the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans
flow into one another. The past and present—and perhaps the future—
merge here as well.
The cave’s opening, an almond-shaped eye, faces the sea. Once, it was shuttered
by windblown sand from nearby dunes. But 20 years ago, archaeologist Christopher
Henshilwood of the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, and the University
of Bergen in Norway removed Blombos’ eye-patch.
What Henshilwood found would change our understanding of human history—
and the likely date when our species began to use symbols to communicate


Link to the paper

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

« Klipdrift Shelter, southern Cape, South Africa: Preliminary Report on the Howiesons Poort layers. | Main | Nutritional values of tortoises relative to ungulates from the Middle Stone Age levels at Blombos Cave, South Africa: Implications for foraging and social behaviour »