Roberta Writes – Thursday Doors: Exploring Sterkfontein Caves, Cradle of Mankind

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

“Within the Sterkfontein Caves, scientists have discovered many hominid and other animal fossils, dating back more than 4-million years, to the birth of humanity. The most important and most famous of these fossils are “Mrs Ples”, a 2.1-million-year-old Australopithecus skull, and “Little Foot”, an almost complete Australopithecus skeleton that is more than 3-million years old. These fossils, both found in the Sterkfontein Caves in the Cradle of Humankind, tell us much about the precursors of modern humans, Homo sapiens.”

My family recently went on a tour of the Sterkfontein Caves to see the museum with the various fossils and to explore the caves with a tour guide.

These are the pictures from the museum:

Entrance to the museum complex
Back door to the complex

After looking through the museum, we went on a tour of the caves:

This is a short video I took of some of the rock formations in the caves.

This is ‘the elephant’ formation:

If you are interested in ancient history, you should have a look at Jacqui Murray’s site and books here: https://worddreams.wordpress.com/

Jacqui Murray has two series about ancient man. The first is the Dawn of Humanity series and the second is the Crossroads series. You can find out more about Jacqui’s books here: https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ

Born in a Treacherous Time (Dawn of Humanity Book 1) Kindle Edition

You can join in Thursday Doors here: https://nofacilities.com/2021/09/09/family-tower-public-school/

91 thoughts on “Roberta Writes – Thursday Doors: Exploring Sterkfontein Caves, Cradle of Mankind

  1. That looks like it had to be very interesting, Robbie. Thanks for including the videos. I know it’s hard to get everything into the frame of a single photo when you’re in a cave.

    Do they think the skeletons are of “people” who lived in these caves? I would imagine caves provided a modicum of protection from the elements.

    Interesting history and great photos. Thanks for sharing with Thursday Doors. Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI Dan, I’m glad you enjoyed this post. I love caves, they are completely fascinating for me. People actually didn’t live in these caves. The entrance is man made. The skeletons that have been found in the caves are people who fell into the caves through holes in the roof. There are other digs in the area that were homes to ancient man. The other one I wanted to visit is still closed due to covid. Next time! I’ll be posting about Maropeng next week. The museum there as replicas of Lucy from Ethiopia.

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      1. Not in this cave, Liz. The Sudwala caves in Mpumalanga, SA were inhabited and have an interesting history. Paul Kruger was believed to have hidden some of the Kruger millions in the Sudwala caves during the Second Anglo Boer War.

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  2. The cave of Eden? What a wonderful experience. If you are into spelunking in the dark depths where troglodytes roam, you would love Carlsbad Caverns in southern New Mexico. I don’t think any early hominids have been found there, but lots of bats and bat guano have. The caverns are huge, deep (almost 800 feet deep), and go on for about 33 miles. If you ever make it to my part of the world, you should add CBC to your to-do list.

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    1. Hi Timothy, thanks for that information. I hope to get there some day. I have visited caves in New Zealand and the UK as well as a number in South Africa. I am a big cave lover. I must look for the pictures of the other caves we’ve visited. Thanks for your interest.

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      1. You can see some of the formations at CBC in this post” https://wp.me/p1yQyy-5MI. When I was a teenager, I did a primitive cave tour at CBC. We had helmets with lights and we used ropes. We did a lot of crawling through tight places on our bellies and descending into the abyss. I don’t think they do those kind of tours anymore, but it was a blast. Definitely not something for people with claustrophobia or acrophobia.

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    1. HI Annette, it is me who suggests these trips. I often come across interesting places during my historical research. My boys are used to visiting caves, castles, and museums. They think that is how you spend your holidays [grin]. Greg first visited the Castle of Good Hope when he was 18 months old.

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  3. I am green with jealousy, Robbie. You are so lucky to have visited those caves. Love the elephant–I see him well. Ms. Ples would be my Boah, same genus and species. Living in caves was such an innovation for early man. Thanks for sharing these.

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    1. My pleasure, Jacqui. Next week I’ll share about Maropeng and include my pictures of Lucy. A fantastic experience. I want to go back and visit the Bothongo Wondercave. They were closed during our recent trip and so was the hippo sanctuary.

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      1. Great question, Robbie. This entire area, in prehistoric times, was an inland sea, but no caves that I’m aware of. The closest is very interesting. It is farther away than I thought, but there’s not really a straight-line route. Carlsbad Caverns is a little under 3 hours drive away. There’s a good deal of info about it online. Hugs!

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      2. Ah. I didn’t read all the other comments. It’s funny — In the mid 2000s I lived about 15 minutes away from Tim, but we didn’t know each other. Then I moved to DC and we got blog-acquainted a couple of years later. Google says he’s about 3 1/2 hours north of me. The caves are almost 3 hours south of me. With my unique disabilities, my comfort zone used to be 1 mile, so I’m not likely to see them. (I don’t think my “comfort zone” is enough to even measure now. It keeps getting smaller. LOL.) Virtual travel is a wonderful thing. 🙂

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  4. I like your unique doors in this post, Robbie. We have some terrific caves only a couple of hours away from where we live. On the tour, the guide turned off the electricity inside the cave for a few seconds to show us that we literally could not see our own hands even though they were inches from our faces.

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  5. Thanks for the lovely tour, Robbie! I thought of Jacqui’s Lucy too. Long, long ago I remember visiting the Cuevas del Drach in Mallorca, which were spectacular. Now, sadly my cave visiting days are over, due to dodgy knees which can’t cope with steps, so I’d rather visit virtually (or in fiction).

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    1. Hi Chris, you could do this tour if you can’t climb stairs. They are quite steep and there are a few. There isn’t another option for getting in and out of the cave. Cuevas del Drach in Mallorca sounds lovely. Have you visited the Cango Caves ever?

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      1. I decided to give them a miss when we went to Oudtshoorn. No more caves – unless they have bearers! I learned my lesson walking down to a restaurant at the foot of the cliff in Hermanus. I almost had to crawl back up.

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      1. I think the last cave tour I was on was probably 25-30 years ago. At one point, the guides turn off their flashlight so that we can experience what total darkness is like. it’s a bit unnerving… 🙂

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  6. I like how you think outside the box with Thursday Doors. Caves are fascinating! We have Linville Caverns in western NC. I always want to stay there longer than the tour. Would just have to dress warm.

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  7. And, just like that, it appears that only a wrought iron gate separates us from the birth of humanity.

    Great video, Roberta. I wonder why do museums like that Cobalt blue so much for their exhibit background.

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  8. What a fascinating post with wonderful photos and videos, Robbie. I love the last elephant formation. I’ve only been to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico and Mercer Caverns in Murphy, CA. Both were very interesting and had a large number of stalactites and stalagmites.Thanks for sharing!

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