SIBUDU ROCK SHELTER AND THE POTENTIAL IMPACT TO IT OF THE PROPOSED RESIDENTIAL ESTATE (Wewe/Driefontein)
The significance of Sibudu (executive summary)
- Sibudu has a long Middle Stone Age record dating between 77 000 and 35 000 years ago, a period seldom represented in other South African sites, particularly outside of the Cape. It is therefore a model for the South
African Middle Stone Age sequence during a significant stage marked by a florescence of material culture that seems to imply complex cognition.
- Sibudu is one of only three sites in Africa with early sea-shell beads older than 70 000
years ago. A few beads were published in 2008. More recently, a further 8 beads have been found; they are being examined in France by Drs Vanhaeren and d’Errico and the results will be published shortly. Our aim is to get more beads from future excavations
because, with a larger collection, we shall be able to discover how they were made and how they were attached to clothing or thongs for suspension. The Still Bay Industry to which the beads belong is three metres below surface, so it will be several years
hence before we reach the industry in squares that are presently one metre deep.
- Sibudu has the world’s oldest bone arrowheads yet discovered. They are 65 000 years old. A new bone arrowhead was recovered recently and this is
presently being examined in France by Drs Backwell and d’Errico.
- Sibudu has a rare collection of bone tools dating between 77 000 and 62 000 years ago. Drs Backwell and d’Errico have been able to replicate the tools, which
include several classes that are not known elsewhere, and they are in the final stages of writing a paper for a prestigious international journal.
- Organic preservation is exceptionally good. Identified remains of animal bones, seeds and charcoal have
enabled KwaZulu-Natal environmental reconstructions from 77 000 years ago. Sibudu has a long record of animal and plant changes – remains of extinct animals and trees not found in the area today were recovered from some of the occupations.
consider the Sibudu sediments remarkable and amongst the best in the world for identifying behavioural moments in time (see the attached comment by Prof. Goldberg).
- The AD 1100 Iron Age occupation on top of the Middle Stone Age occupation
contained a pit with more than 5000 Indian red glass beads as part of several necklaces. This is KwaZulu-Natal’s biggest and oldest bead cache.
- Sibudu is well-dated because its quartz-rich sediments are ideal
for luminescence dating. A PhD student in Wales (Zenobia Jacobs) developed cutting-edge dating methodology based on Sibudu sediments. More than 20 ages are available for occupations between 77 000 and 35 000 years ago.
- Excavations are ongoing by a
team from the University of the Witwatersrand, assisted by international specialists, and the site still has much to offer. Approximately 10% of the site has been excavated, which means that much valuable information remains unexplored. In Europe some sites
less promising than Sibudu have been excavated by generations of archaeologists for more than a hundred years and excavations are ongoing.
- The site has international recognition as one of the most important sites of its kind, globally (see
the attached comments and letters). Researchers from Australia, France, Germany, United States of America and the United Kingdom have projects on material that has been excavated. South African researchers from several institutions are also involved.
- Sibudu has thus far been used for eight South African PhD projects and four UK and USA PhD projects. Several Sibudu MSc projects have also been completed.
- Sibudu has hosted three (month-long) international field schools, three post-conference
tour visits and many local school groups.
- Sibudu’s finds have resulted in numerous international and national publications in peer-reviewed journals and books (see the attached list). The site has a huge international profile and there are calls
from all parts of the world for the site to be saved from the inevitable effects of the development (excerpts from the letters are attached).
Consequences of the development for Sibudu
Experience elsewhere in South Africa shows that unprotected sites near towns or residential estates are irreparably destroyed. Rose Cottage Cave, for example, although declared a National Monument, and although securely fenced with padlocked gate, was broken
into and vandalized beyond repair. The materials that had protected the deposits were removed, the deposits were dug into and fires were lit in the holes. 100 000 years of history has been lost at this site. Similar stories about other sites can be told and
heritage agencies can confirm this claim. Sibudu is far more important than many other sites that have been lost to wanton vandalism and it would be a tragedy if it suffered the same fate as Rose Cottage.
Why should Sibudu be saved?
- Culture lifts a nation psychologically and intellectually. Whether it be World Cup soccer, fine music, literature, art or heritage of the kind that Sibudu offers, these are things that define a nation
and give it pride and ownership of the past. The poor, the homeless and the diseased will always be with us, no matter how much money is funneled into projects to alleviate these miseries. Heritage, however, is only with us for as long as we treasure and protect
it – it is a non-renewable resource.
- Knowledge about past behaviour, past environments and peoples’ cultural responses to change in the past helps to prepare us for future uncertainties. For example, vegetation and animal populations in
the Sibudu area responded dramatically to changes in temperature and moisture several times during the past 77 000 years. These changes in turn affected the subsistence potential of the area and the size of population that could be supported by available resources.
- The site still contains a wealth of information about our heritage and it needs to be preserved well into the future so that new and as yet undeveloped scientific techniques can be applied there to provide more information about past behaviour and environments
- The site is a place where generations of South Africans can learn to excavate and do research on our heritage. It is also a place where generations of South Africans and visitors to the country can learn about Africa’s rich
past. If wisely cared for the site can eventually become an important archaeo-tourism resource.
SIBUDU PUBLICATIONS 2010-2001
International journals and volumes
Wadley, L. 2010. Were snares and traps used in the Middle Stone Age and does it matter? A review and a case study from Sibudu, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution 58: 179–192.
Wadley, L. 2010. Cemented ash as a receptacle
or work surface for ochre powder production at Sibudu, South Africa, 58,000 years ago. Journal of Archaeological Science 37: 2397-2406.
Wadley, L. 2010. Compound-adhesive manufacture as a behavioral proxy for complex cognition in the Middle
Stone Age. Current Anthropology 51: S111-119.
Jamie L. Clark, Ligouis, B. 2010. Burned bone in the Howieson’s Poort and post-Howieson’s Poort Middle Stone. Journal of Archaeological Science 37: 2650-2661.
at Sibudu (South Africa): behavioral and taphonomic implications
Goldberg, P., Miller, C.E., Schiegl, S., Ligouis, B., Berna, F., Conard, N.J. and Wadley, L. 2009. Bedding, hearths, and site maintenance in the Middle Stone Age of Sibudu
Cave, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 1(2): 95-122.
Hall, G., Woodborne, S. and Pienaar, M. 2009. Rainfall control of the 813 C ratios of Mimusops caffra from KwaZulu-Natal,
South Africa. Holocene 19 (2): 251 - 260.
Herries, A.I.R., 2009. New approaches for integrating palaeomagnetic and mineral magnetic methods to answer archaeological and geological questions on Stone Age sites. In Fairbrain, A., O’Conner,
S., Marwick, B. (Eds.) Terra Australis 28 - New Directions in Archaeological Science. The Australian National University Press, Canberra, Australia. Chapter 16: 235-253.
Wadley, L., Hodgskiss, T. and Grant, M. 2009. Implications for complex cognition
from the hafting of tools with compound adhesives in the Middle Stone Age, South Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 106 (24): 9590-9594.
Soriano, S., Villa, P. and Wadley, L. 2009. Ochre for the toolmaker: shaping the Still
Bay points at Sibudu (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa). Journal of African Archaeology Vol. 7 (1): 41-54.
Lombard, M. and Wadley, L. 2009. The impact of micro-residue studies on South African Middle Stone Age research. In: Haslam, M., Robertson,
G., Crowther, A., Nugent, S. and Kirkwood, L. (eds). Archaeological Science under a Microscope. Studies in Residue and ancient DNA Analysis in Honour of Thomas H. Loy, pp.11-28. Canberra: Australian National University Press.
d’Errico, F. and Wadley, L. 2008. Middle Stone Age bone tools from the Howiesons Poort layers, Sibudu Cave, South Africa. Journal of Archaeological Science 35: 1566-1580.
Clark, J.L., Plug, I., 2008. Animal exploitation strategies during
African Middle Stone Age: Howiesons Poort and post-Howiesons Poort
fauna from Sibudu Cave. Journal of Human Evolution 54: 886–898.
d’Errico, F., Vanhaeren, M. and Wadley, L. 2008. Possible shell beads from
the Middle Stone Age of Sibudu Cave. Journal of Archaeological Science 35: 2675-2685.
Jacobs, Z., Wintle, A.G., Duller, G.A.T., Roberts, R.G. and Wadley, L. 2008. New ages for the post-Howiesons Poort, late and final Middle Stone Age at Sibudu
Cave, South Africa. Journal of Archaeological Science 35: 1790-1807.
Jacobs, Z., Roberts, R.G., Galbraith, R.F., Deacon, H.J., Grün, R., Mackay, A., Mitchell, P.J., Vogelsang, R. and Wadley, L. 2008. Ages for the Middle Stone Age of Southern
Africa: Implications for Human Behavior and Dispersal. Science 322, 31 October: 733-735.
Lombard, M. 2008. Finding resolution for the Howiesons Poort through the microscope: micro-residue analysis of segments from Sibudu Cave, South Africa.
Journal of Archaeological Science 35: 26-41.
Wadley, L. and Mohapi, M. 2008. A segment is not a monolith: evidence from the Howiesons Poort of Sibudu, South Africa. Journal of Archaeological Science 35: 2594-2605.
Plug, I. and Clark, J. 2008. The contribution of Sibudu fauna to an understanding of KwaZulu-Natal environments at ~60 ka, ~50 ka and ~37 ka. In: Badenhorst, S., Mitchell, P. and Driver, J.C. (eds) People, Places and Animals of Africa: Papers in Honour
of Ina Plug, pp. 34-45. Oxford: BAR International Series 1849.
Wadley, L. 2007. Announcing a Still Bay Industry at Sibudu Cave, Journal of Human Evolution 52: 681-689.
Cain, C. R. 2006. Implications of Marked Artifacts from the
Middle Stone Age of Africa. Current Anthropology. 47: 675-681.
Cain, C. R. 2005. Using Burned Animal Bone to Look at Middle Stone Age Occupation and Behavior. Journal of Archaeological Science. 32: 873-884.
Lombard, M. 2005. Evidence for hunting and hafting during the Middle Stone Age at Sibudu Cave, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: a multianalytical approach. Journal of Human Evolution 48:279-300.
Villa, P., Delagnes, A. and Wadley, L. 2005. A
late Middle Stone Age artefact assemblage from Sibudu (KwaZulu-Natal): comparisons with the European Middle Palaeolithic. Journal of Archaeological Science 32:399–422.
Wadley, L. 2005. Putting ochre to the test: replication studies of
adhesives that may have been used for hafting tools in the Middle Stone Age. Journal of Human Evolution 49:587–601.
Wadley, L. 2005. Ochre crayons or waste products? Replications compared with MSA ‘crayons’ from Sibudu Cave,
South Africa. Before Farming 2005 (3):1–12.
Wadley, L., Williamson, B. and Lombard, M. 2004. Ochre in hafting in Middle Stone Age southern Africa: a practical role. Antiquity 78 (301): 661–75.
National journals and volumes
Wood, M., Dussubieux, L. and Wadley, L. 2009. A cache of ~5000 glass beads from the Sibudu Cave Iron Age occupation. Southern African Humanities 21: 239–261.
Wadley, L. In press. Sibudu Cave: recent archaeological work on the Middle Stone Age. In: Reynolds, S.C. and Gallagher, A. (eds) African Genesis: Perspectives on Hominid Evolution. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press.
Plug and J.L.
Clark. 2008. In The Air: A Preliminary Report On The Birds From Sibudu Cave, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. South African Archaeological Society Goodwin Series 10: 133-142.
Wadley, L. 2008. The Howieson’s Poort Industry of Sibudu Cave.
South African Archaeological Society Goodwin Series 10: 122-132.
Wadley, L. and Whitelaw, G. (eds) 2006. Sibudu Cave: background to the excavations, stratigraphy and dating. Southern African Humanities 18 (1).
Wadley, L. and
Jacobs, Z. 2006. Sibudu Cave: background to the excavations, stratigraphy and dating. Southern African Humanities 18:1–26.
Lombard, M. 2006. First impressions of the functions and hafting technology of Still Bay pointed artefacts from
Sibudu Cave Southern African Humanities 18(1): 27-41.
Delagnes, A., Wadley, L., Villa, P. and Lombard, M. 2006. Crystal quartz backed tools from the Howiesons Poort at Sibudu Cave. Southern African Humanities 18:43–56.
Lombard, M. 2006. Direct evidence for the use of ochre in the hafting technology of Middle Stone Age tools from Sibudu Cave, KwaZulu-Natal. Southern African Humanities 18(1):57-67.
Cochrane, G. W. G. 2006. An analysis of lithic artefacts
from the ~60 ka layers of Sibudu Cave. Southern African Humanities 18(1): 69–88.
Villa, P. and Lenoir, M. 2006. Hunting weapons of the Middle Stone Age and the Middle Palaeolithic: spear points from Sibudu, Rose Cottage and Bouheben.
Southern African Humanities 18(1): 89–122.
Pickering, R. 2006. Regional geology, setting and sedimentology of Sibudu Cave. Southern African Humanities 18(1):123–129.
Herries, A. I. R. 2006. Archaeomagnetic evidence
for climate change at Sibudu Cave. Southern African Humanities 18(1):131–147.
Schiegl, S. and Conard, N.J. 2006. The Middle Stone Age sediments at Sibudu: results from FTIR spectroscopy and microscopic analyses. Southern African
Allott, L. F. 2006. Archaeological charcoal as a window on palaeovegetation and wood-use during the Middle Stone Age at Sibudu Cave. Southern African Humanities 18(1): 173–201.
Sievers, C. 2006.
Seeds from the Middle Stone Age layers at Sibudu Cave. Southern African Humanities 18(1): 203–222.
Wintjes, J. and Sievers, C. 2006. Seeing Sibudu seeds: an illustrated text of the more frequent Middle Stone Age stones, nuts and
seeds. Southern African Humanities 18(1): 223–233.
Renaut, R. and Bamford, M.K. 2006. Results of preliminary palynological analysis at Sibudu Cave. Southern African Humanities 18(1): 235–240.
Cain, C. 2006. Human
activity suggested by the taphonomy of 60 ka and 50 ka faunal remains from Sibudu Cave. Southern African Humanities 18(1): 241–260.
Wells, C. R. 2006. A sample integrity analysis of faunal remains from the RSp layer at Sibudu Cave. Southern
African Humanities 18(1): 261–277.
Glenny, W. 2006. Report on the micromammal assemblage analysis from Sibudu Cave. Southern African Humanities 18(1): 279–288.
Plug, I. 2006. Aquatic animals and their associates from
the Middle Stone Age levels at Sibudu. Southern African Humanities 18(1): 289–299.
Reynolds, S. C. 2006. Temporal changes in vegetation and mammalian communities during Oxygen Isotope Stage 3 at Sibudu Cave. Southern African
Humanities 18(1): 301–314.
Wadley, L. 2006. Partners in grime: results of multi-disciplinary archaeology at Sibudu Cave. Southern African Humanities 18:315–341.
Wadley, L. 2005. A typological study of the final Middle
Stone Age stone tools from Sibudu Cave, KwaZulu-Natal. South African Archaeological Bulletin 60:1–13.
B.S. Williamson. 2005. Subsistence strategies in the Middle Stone Age at Sibudu Cave: the microscopic evidence form stone tool residues,
in: F. d’Errico, L. Backwell (Eds), From Tools to Symbols. From Early Hominids to Modern Humans, Witwatersrand University Press, Johannesburg, 2005, pp. 512-524.
Allott, L.F. 2004. Changing environments in Oxygen Isotope Stage 3: reconstructions
using archaeological charcoal from Sibudu cave. South African Journal of Science 100: 179-184.
Cain, C.R. 2004. Notched, flaked and ground bone artifacts from Middle Stone Age and Iron Age layers of Sibudu Cave. South African Journal of
Science 100: 195-197.
Lombard, M., 2004. Distribution patterns of organic residues on Middle Stone Age
points from Sibudu Cave, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. South African Archaeological Bulletin 59, 37–44.
Lombard, M., I. Parsons
and M.M. van der Ryst. 2004. Middle Stone Age lithic point experimentation for macro-fracture and residue analyses: the process and preliminary results with reference to Sibudu Cave points. South African Journal of Science 100: 159-166.
I. 2004. Resource exploitation: animal use during the Middle Stone Age at Sibudu Cave, KwaZulu-Natal. South African Journal of Science 100: 151-158.
Wadley, L. and Z. Jacobs. 2004. Sibudu Cave, KwaZulu-Natal: Background to the excavations of
Middle Stone Age and Iron Age occupations. South African Journal of Science 100: 145-151.
Schiegl, S., P. Stockhammer, C. Scott and L. Wadley. 2004. A mineralogical and phytolith study of the Middle Stone Age hearths in Sibudu Cave, KwaZulu-Natal,
South Africa. South African Journal of Science 100: 185-194.
Williamson, B.S. 2004. Middle Stone Age tool function from residue analysis at Sibudu Cave. South African Journal of Science 100: 174-178.
Wadley, L. 2004. Vegetation
changes between 61 500 and 26 000 yars ago the evidence from seeds in Sibudu Cave, KwaZulu-Natal. South African Journal of Science 100: 167-173.
Wadley, L. 2001. Preliminary report on excavations at Sibudu Cave, KwaZulu-Natal. Southern
African Humanities 13: 1-17.
SELECTED COMMENTS ON THE DEVELOPMENT NEAR SIBUDU FROM INTERNATIONAL AND SOUTH AFRICAN RESEARCHERS
“Sibudu is part of
the heritage of all South Africans, and indeed we should be planning for it to become a World Heritage Site. Therefore, the development of housing, which is so desperately needed in South Africa, should be planned with great sensitivity, every effort should
be made to ensure that the proposed building of housing in the vicinity of Sibudu does not encroach on the remaining, valuable, ancient archaeological deposits there, much of which remain to be excavated by young South African students of the future.”
Professor Emeritus Phillip V. Tobias (Fellow of the Royal Society; Honorary Professorial Research Fellow; Member of the Institute for Human Evolution; School of Anatomical Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand).
“Sibudu Rock Shelter is important for human history because it preserves carefully documented direct evidence for several important features of the evolution of modern human cognitive, symbolic and technological capacities. This
site will undoubtedly yield more evidence for this important period of human evolution. It deserves highest priority for protection and support for continued research. It should be added to the UNESCO World Heritage site list, with all of the protections
this list confers on the world's most valuable archaeological and cultural resources.” Professor Stanley Ambrose (Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois, Urbana, USA)
"Sibudu has produced, and is still
producing, finds that explore the beginnings of what it is to be human. The site is an essential resource for understanding the origins of our own species and a place of outstanding international significance. To compromise its integrity in any way, especially
when archaeological excavations are still ongoing, would be to shame South Africa before the world. I hope that the proposals to build above the site and close to it will be rejected as they would seriously impair South Africa's reputation as a country that
has, since the ending of apartheid, been increasingly applauded for its efforts to preserve and research the heritage of its citizens". Professor Peter Mitchell (FSA and Professor of African Archaeology, University of Oxford, UK).
is really shocking, honestly. I can understand the need for new housing and development, but not at the expense of South Africa's heritage and patriomony. This is especially true for Sibudu, which for me with 40 years of experience in the field of geoarchaeology,
is one of the most remarkable sites I've seen: its record of human activities can be seen at a temporal resolution that simply does not exist in most prehistoric sites IN THE WORLD. I am not given to hyperbole, so I really mean this. I sincerely
hope that you are successful in your efforts to protect the site.” Professor Paul Goldberg (Geoarchaeologist, University of Boston, USA).
" Sibudu Cave is a key site … in the evolution of our species, Homo
sapiens. Sibudu … is unique … it is extremely important for understanding biogeographic and cultural diversity in early modern humans in South Africa". Dr Andrew I.R. Herries (Head of integrative Palaeoecology and Anthropology
Studies and Head of UNSW Archaeomagnetism Laboratory - University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia).
“This is very bad news. Sibudu is a key site for understanding the development of early modern humans in Africa, and it is of international
importance.” Professor Judith Sealy (Archaeology Dept, UCT, Cape Town).
“Sibudu is an extraordinary cave which has yielded important evidence of African origins in an exciting period of South African
prehistory.” Professor Francis Thackeray (Director, Institute for Human Evolution, University of the Witwatersrand).
"With its extensive Middle Stone Age sequence and unparalleled organic preservation, Sibudu offers
unique insight on behavioral evolution during a critical period in the development of our species." Dr Jamie Clark (Southern Methodist University, Texas, USA).
“The archaeological excavations at Sibudu Cave have
established the site as one of the top ten examples of the changing skills and lifeways of the people who lived there over the last 100,000 years or more. It is an archive that must not be lost to South Africans through neglect or willful damage and any development
in the vicinity must make provision for its protection in perpetuity”. Dr Janette Deacon (Archaeological Heritage Consultant, Stellenbosch).
"The precious heritage of Sibudu belongs to all humanity; we are all African
in origin." Professor Larry Barham (Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, University of Liverpool, UK; Editor: Before Farming: the archaeology and anthropology of hunter-gatherers)
“Outstanding preservation and
deep archaeological deposits give Sibudu a high international significance and make it the most important site in KwaZulu-Natal for research of human origins.” Gavin Whitelaw (Chief curator, Natal Museum).
cave contains a world renowned record of early human cultural development. Preservation of this unique heritage resource is of utmost importance for the province of KwaZulu-Natal.” Dr Carolyn Thorp (Assistant Director, Department of
Human Sciences, Natal Museum).
“Sibudu Cave is central to our understanding of the origins of modern human lifeways.” Dr Sarah Wurz (Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte, Universität zu Köln,
“Sibudu is an exceptional archaeological site which contributes significantly to our understanding of the long and rich history of all humankind.” Dr Aron D. Mazel (International Centre for Cultural
and Heritage Studies,Newcastle University,UK).
“The excavation and studies of Sibudu have contributed immensely to our knowledge of South African prehistory and the heritage of all humans.” Dr Paola Villa (University
of Colorado Museum, Boulder, Colorado, USA).
"Sibudu Cave is a worldwide known archaeological site, which has provided crucial information about our origins and has the potential to tell us how human behavior emerged and evolved." Dr
Francesco d'Errico (Directeur de recherche au CNRS, CNRS UMR 5199 PACEA, Université Bordeaux, Talence, France.)
“It is impossible to exaggerate the contribution of Sibudu to an understanding the origins not only of
living South Africans, but of people throughout Africa and beyond.” Professor Richard G. Klein (Program in Human Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, USA; Editor: Journal Archaeological Science; Editor: Proceedings of the National
Academy of Science, USA).
“Around the world Sibudu is known as a key source of information on the
history of humankind. It would be disastrous to allow development near
this landmark site.” Professor Nicholas
Conard (Head of Department, Prehistory, Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen; Scientific Director of the Prehistoric Museum of Blaubeuren,Germany).
“The excavations at Sibudu over the past decade have played
a pivotal role in understanding the evolution of H. sapiens in southern Africa. The remaining archaeological deposits have the potential of further contributing vital information to this debate and need, at all costs, to be protected.” Professor
Christopher Henshilwood (University of Bergen, Norway; Institute for Human Evolution, University of the Witwatersrand).
“This is such an important site and it has been excavated and studied with such great expertise that
its contribution to the study of the prehistoric record of South Africa and globally is invaluable. There is still so much to investigate and learn from this site! I hope that the powers-to-be will see the importance to world heritage of leaving
the site intact and will find a way to preserve and protect it…” Professor Erella Hovers (Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mt. Scopus, Israel).
“...Sibudu is amongst the most
important heritage sites in South Africa ...it records the development of the first bow and arrow and has some of the most ancient shell beads and engraved artefacts....Many more archaeological and palaeontological treasures lie hidden in the cave deposits.”
Dr Lucinda Backwell (Senior Researcher, Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, University of the Witwatersrand).
“Please count me in to help save this heritage site”. Adekola Kolawole
(Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Ibadan, Ibadan).
“It would be a great shame if the urgent need for housing in South Africa cannot be addressed without threatening unique, non-renewable resources of such
importance as the Sibudu shelter. Sites that can shed so much light on such an important period of human history are extraordinarily rare. It would surely be in no one’s interest to threaten Sibudu, a site that shows so clearly how important this part
of the continent has been in human technological advances. Surely there is space enough to construct housing away from such national treasures.” Professor Karim Sadr (Head of School, School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental
Studies, University of the Witwatersrand).
“Having recently learned of the proposal to develop low cost housing in the vicinity of the Sibudu archaeological site, I am writing to express deep concern regarding the development’s
potential threat to the site. Your investigations at Sibudu so far have uncovered a wealth of information concerning the emergence of modern human life ways and show every sign of yielding further insights through continuing research, so I hope that
the municipal authorities can be persuaded to pursue the development project with due attention to the preservation of cultural heritage.” Dr John R. F. Bower (University of California, Davis, USA).
is an archaeological site of global importance and interest. It is currently on the forefront of multi-disciplinary research programmes that investigate early complex human behaviour in Africa – and by implication all of humanity. These research programmes,
directed by Professor Lyn Wadley, involve some of South Africa’s, and the world’s, most distinguished palaeoscientists, and the results are widely published in local and international journals and books. Apart from professional research, the site
has provided and still provides ample and stimulating opportunities for post-graduate students, training them to become highly sought-after specialists. It is unique in its cultural sequence, preservation and geographic location, and any damage or threat to
the site will result in a great loss for our country and for science.” Professor Marlize Lombard (Department of Anthropology and Development Studies, University of Johannesburg)