Cryptocarya woodii, the aromatic leaves
How did people sit and lie down on the rocky floor of this shelter ? They cut sedge plants which grew nearby and spread them on the floor. This type of sedge still grows in this region, and local Zulu people weave it into mats. Sibudu people
mixed with it some aromatic leaves of the cryptocarya woodii tree which is potent against insects – mosquitoes, lice, bed bugs – these ancient inhabitants did not want these pests invading their comfy bedding ! This shows how cleverly they used
their knowledge of plants to make their lives more comfortable.
But as they ate, worked and slept on the same bedding, it must have got quite dirty over time. Hygiene was easy: they simply burnt the bedding and went out to gather more sedge and leaves
!The layers of burnt bedding can be seen clearly in the soil strata as the archaeologists dig down. The oldest is from 77000 years ago, which makes this bed(ding) the oldest ever found in the WORLD