Archaeological evidence in a rock shelter on the edge of the Kalahari Desert in South Africa is challenging the notion that the origin of our species is related to the coastal environment.
“The findings we have obtained from this rock shelter indicate that oversimplified models of the origin of our species are no longer accepted. There is evidence that many regions of the African continent are involved, and the Kalahari is just one of them.” Dr. Wilkins said.
“As early as France, the archaeological evidence of Homo sapiens has been found in the coastal areas of South Africa. This supports the view that our origin is related to the coastal environment. In southern Africa, there are almost no well-preserved archaeological sites with data, which can tell us that Man originated outside the coast.
“The rock refuge on Ga-Mohana Mountain sits on a vast savannah in the Kalahari. It is such a place.”
Today, some local communities have used it as a place for spiritual activities. Archaeological research on the rock shelter shows that it has a long history as a place of spiritual significance.
Researchers unearthed 22 white calcite crystals and ostrich eggshell fragments from 105,000-year-old sediments in Ga-Mohana Hill North Rockshelter, which has a much wetter environment than today. These objects are believed to be water containers. The researchers were pleased to discover that the combination of human-collected crystals and ostrich eggshell fragments on Ga-Mohana Hill was significantly older than the combination reported in other indoor environments.
Dr. Wilkins said: “Our analysis shows that the crystals were not introduced into the deposit through natural processes, but were intentionally collected objects that may be related to spiritual beliefs and rituals.”
Dr. Sechaba Maape of the University of Witwatersrand said: “The crystal points to the spiritual or cultural use of the shelter 105,000 years ago.” “Considering that the site is still used for ritual activities today, this is really amazing.”
The optically excited luminescence (OSL) date in the OSL laboratory of the Department of Geology at the University of Innsbruck in Austria limits the age of the archaeological layer.
Dr. Michael Meyer, the head of the OSL laboratory, said: “This technology measures the natural light signal accumulated in the deposited quartz and feldspar particles over time.” “You can think of each grain as a miniature clock , We can read natural light or luminous signals from it to understand the age of the archaeological deposits.”
The name Kalahari is derived from the word Kgala in Tswana, which means “great thirst”. Today, Ga-Mohana has a semi-arid climate with little seasonal rainfall. However, ancient evidence of abundant water in the landscape can be clearly seen in the massive limestone formations surrounding the refuge. The age of these people using uranium dating is about 110,000 to 100,000 years ago, exactly the same time people lived there.
Dr. Robyn Pickering, Director of the Institute of Human Evolution, said: “This is a story of water. In the dry landscape we know now, people with adaptive ability developed the landscape, not only Survive and can thrive.” HERI), located at the University of Cape Town.
Due to the increasing spiritual importance of Ga-Mohana Hill, researchers realized the need to minimize its impact on the local community’s use of rock shelters after each season.
Dr. Wilkins said: “Maintaining visible traces and working with local communities is essential to the sustainability of the project.” “As a result, Ga-Mohana Hill can continue to provide new information about the origin and evolution of the Kalahari Homo sapiens. opinion.”
References: “Janet Wilkins, Benjamin J. Schoville, Robyn Pickering, Luke Gliganic, Benjamin Collins, Kyle S. Brown, Jessica von der Meden, Wendy Khumalo, Michael C. Meyer, Jayne Wilkins, “Instinctive acts of intelligence in 105,000 years Previous Behavior in the Wet Kalahari Desert”, Sechaba Maape, Alexander F. Blackwood and Amy Hatton, March 31, 2021, natural.
DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-021-03419-0