Project introduction

Since the 1920s, palaeoanthropological fieldwork in South Africa has focused on a handful of fossil-bearing cave sites mostly located in what is now known as the Cradle of Humankind. Our objective is to survey and inventory over 200 other historic mines located in the Malmani Dolomite system throughout the northern region of South Africa. We are using GPS and GIS systems to record the location of these sites and the presence or absence of fossiliferous sediments and other palaeontologically interesting features. Our ultimate goal is to discover new hominin fossil sites to further our understanding of Plio-Pleistocene human evolution.

Our first site visit of this field season was to Gondolin, a 1.7-1.8 Ma palaeocave located in the Northwest Province of South Africa that has previously yielded Paranthropus teeth and various fossilized fauna, including bovids (antelope), equids (horses), and one lagomorph (rabbit) (Adams et al., 2007). The good news is that our field test of our GPS equipment was successful! Part of the site documentation process includes photographic recordings of the site and its features. Here is a photo that demonstrates just how dense the fossils in bone breccias can be:

For more information about our field crew and project partners, please click on the “About” tab.

References
Adams JW, Herries AIR, Kuykendall KL, Conroy GC. 2007. Taphonomy of a South African cave: geological and hydrological influences on the GD 1 fossil assemblage at Gondolin, a Plio-Pleistocene paleocave system in the Northwest Province, South Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews 26:2526-2543.

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