Stilbaai, about four hours away from Cape Town, is perched on the Southern Cape Coast of South Africa. It is popular for its excellent swimming and surfing conditions, which are made all the more special by the truly spectacular setting. However, this area is also well known amongst archaeologists, who have discovered a number of ancient relics and artefacts in the surrounding Langeberg Mountain Range and nearby. These discoveries are significant as they shed light on the human civilizations of thousands of years back and tell the tale of how modern society developed.
The Blombos Museum of Archaeology is named after the Blombos Cave nearby. In this cave, researchers found a number of stone tools and other artefacts, which are now proud parts of the museum’s display. One of the most important pieces of the exhibition is a piece of ochre that has clear and deliberate geometric markings on it, which have been inscribed by human beings in a discernible pattern. Carbon dating estimates it to be more than 75 000 years old, which has led many to believe that it is the oldest piece of art in existence. There were also many little freshwater shells found at the same age layer in the caves, each of which had a tiny handmade hole in them so that they could be strung together and worn as jewellery. This is dubbed the world’s oldest necklace, and it can be found in the intriguing little Blombos Museum.
A more recent part of the exhibition outlines the unique diet of these folk, who lived mainly off the fish and shellfish, fynbos and mammals of the area. In fact, it is the availability of these food sources that ensured that this part of the population survived here for so long.
This museum is situated in the de Jagerhuis-opstal, Palinggat. It is of massive value to the local residents of Hessequ, as well as to the archaeological and anthropological value of this part of the Western Cape.
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