Archaeologists have found evidence that may identify the oldest home in human history. According to a report by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, researchers have learned that humans lived in the ancient Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa as early as two million years ago.
The archaeologists, who have published their report in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews, believe that the cave was among the sites of the earliest indoor uses of fire and hand axes. That report is authored by Ron Shaar, Ari Matmon, Liora Kolska Horwitz, Yael Ebert, and Michael Chazan.
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Wonderwerk Cave was first excavated in the 1940s, and since then it has remained a subject of fascination for researchers around the world. Previous studies at the cave have focused on the crystals found in its depths and works of art on its walls.
“We have evidence for unusual symbolic activity in Wonderwerk dating around 400,000–500,000 years ago, which predates Middle Stone Age sites like Blombos,” Chazan told Haaretz. “People were sitting at the back of the cave, 140 meters from the entrance. They don’t appear to have been making tools there.”
This revelation about the dwellers in the Wonderwerk Cave is not the only major archaeological headline in recent days. Last week, archaeologists at the ancient Mayan city-state of Tikal in Guatemala found evidence of new connections between the Mayan and Teotihuacan civilizations. And researchers using artificial intelligence have made new strides in demystifying the origins and authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls.