Sterkfontein Caves – West Rand, South Africa - Atlas Obscura

Sterkfontein Caves

West Rand, South Africa

Caves that can't seem to quit producing the remains of prehistoric humans. 


Situated in an area of South Africa known as the “Cradle of Humankind,” the Sterkfontein Caves have produced some of the finest remains of early man anywhere in the world.

This system of limestone caves became famous with the 1947 discovery of the two-million-year-old fossil skull dubbed “Mrs. Ples.” After this monumental find, work continued at the site for decades. Then in 1997 “Little Foot,” a hominid skeleton aged at about 3.5 million years, was discovered in the caves. In addition to these two “stars,” the caves have also produced over 500 other fossils. With such a successful rate of finds at the site, work has continued there to this day. The caves have also been opened for visitors to tour portions of the active dig site. Here, more than anywhere else in the world, guests may be likely to stumble upon one of their own ancestors. 

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