Journey into deep time...
Wonderwerk Cave - a miracle of heritage preservation
This remarkable cave is located 45 km south of Kuruman, and 43 km north of Danielskuil.
The cave is a solution cavity, which means that it was filled with water millions of years ago. The space had been carved into the dolomite limestone of the 2.3-billion year-old Ghaap Plateau.
Archaeological excavations of the 140m-long cave suggest datings of more than two million years ago. The bedrock in the front of the cave is covered by 4m of almost horizontal deposit layers. The uppermost metre spans the past 300 000 years, while the bottom layer reaches back to 2-million years. Investigation of the layers shows human occupation at all levels.
The cave has yielded hand axes, cleavers, evidence of the use of fire, grass bedding, animal remains (including extinct species), engraved stones, and a wide range of Stone Age artifacts. Researchers have found decorated ostrich eggshells, stone tools, and handaxes. San ("bushman") rock paintings can be seen on the walls.
All archaeological material brought out of the Wonderwerk cave is held by the McGregor Museum in Kimberley.
The cave was first inhabited by white settlers in the early 20th century, when the farmer P.E. Bosman and his family lived there between 1909 and 1911 while he was building the present homestead. (Isn't it curious that "Bosman", in Afrikaans, means "Bushman"?)