Blombos Museum of Archaeology

This little specialised museum is dedicated to presenting to the public, the stone age history of the area and specifically, the findings at the Blombos cave and the work carried out by Professor Chris Henshilwood.

The displays include descriptive panels and stone tool artefacts of the earlier, middle and later stone age and artefacts from the Blombos cave itself. The most significant find in the Blombos cave was a small piece of ochre inscribed deliberately by human hand with a cross-hatched pattern and an accurate replica is on display. This has been dated at 75000 years before present and although the meaning of the inscription is not known, it is an example of modern abstract thought and this piece of ochre is believed to be the world’s oldest example of art.

Also on display is the world’s oldest necklace. Little fresh water “Tic” shells were excavated in the Blombos cave also from the 75000 year layers. The remarkable fact here is that it has been shown that each shell has a handmade little hole and that these shells were strung together and worn as body adornment.

The survival of humanity has been attributed to the fact that abundant shell fish and edible fynbos was available here on the Southern Cape Coast during a time when the world was experiencing very harsh climatic conditions. This belief has been based on excavations made in the caves at Panicle Point in Mosselbay and research done by Professor Curtis Marian. A display of the diet, covering fish, Shellfish, mammals and fynbos of these early Southern Cape Coast people has recently been added in the museum.

Blombos Museum of Archaeology
Telephone: +27 (0)28 754 3247

“Blombos Cave, with assemblages of between around 140 000 to 70 000 years ago, is renowned for the discovery of two pieces of ochre with deliberately engraved geometric patterns, dating to 77 000 years ago. “

– Iziko Museums

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