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01-May-2020 03:55

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The chemical extraction of gold is facilitated with lime and the need for this valuable mineral sparked a second rush on lime mining.

Lime was discovered in the cave formations now known as the Sterkfontein Caves and new digs were set up.

The two skeletons are of an adult female and a young male, recently named “Karabo”, which means “answer” in Setswana.

The Cradle of Humankind encompasses the farms of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans and Kromdraai that are located an hour’s drive from Johannesburg.

Panoramic views make it a memorable occasion and the tranquil atmosphere blanketing the valley offer visitors a brief respite from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

THE CRADLE OF HUMANKIND The Maropeng Visitor Centre and the Sterkfontein Caves are located in a picturesque valley known as the Cradle of Humankind.

The small caverns are deep and narrow in places which can be slightly daunting if you suffer from claustrophobia but a tour of Sterkfontein Caves is just one of the places you should visit if you have a fascination with the past.

Meet Mrs Ples, a 2.1 million-year old Australopithecus skull and Little Foot, an almost complete Australopithecus skeleton more than three million years old.

The Sterkfontein Caves are located in the Cradle of Humankind which is one of the world’s richest hominid fossil sites.

It is also the site of the longest continuous palaeoanthropological dig in the world.

It is one of eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South Africa and the only one in Gauteng.

It is internationally renowned as the “place where humankind originated” and regardless of your beliefs (creation versus evolution); a tour of its facilities helps put modern life into perspective.An hour-long guided tour of Sterkfontein Caves takes visitors on a journey deep under the earth to the place where the remains of some of our oldest ancestors have been discovered.

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