The Point of Human Origins, Pinnacle Point, South Africa


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March 4th 2015
Published: March 4th 2015
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Lecture on Our Origins and Our FutureLecture on Our Origins and Our FutureLecture on Our Origins and Our Future

what the archaeologists found and their vision of how the site can be used to bring awareness of man's dependence on the planet
At the Point of Human Origins. Mossel Bay, South Africa.

One more day engaged in one more truly spell binding activity. I never knew that South Africa was so chock full of wonders, but I'm certainly finding this out. I won't even have scratched the surface when my visit here ends. Today we drove to Mossel Bay (Mossel means the same as mussel or shell fish, like oysters) just over an hour away from our town, along the rugged, sprawling Indian Ocean coastline.



We were at a hideous golf course on the cliffs of Pinnacle Point where caves were discovered to contain the earliest relics of antiquity of human activity. We are talking here not about earlier hominids pre-cursors to Homo sapiens, but the oldest location known to have been inhabited by species we would recognize as humans. The Pinnacle Point caves overlook pounding surf and sandstone rock falls. In 1998 just 17 years ago, an archaeologist called Peter Nilssen undertook an Environmental Impact assessment due to plans for the development of a golf course and casino on the bluff. And as sheer fortune would have it he found and entered a cave in near pristine condition,
Dr. Peter Nilssen archaeologistDr. Peter Nilssen archaeologistDr. Peter Nilssen archaeologist

he was the modern man who first entered the caves and found evidence there of its antiquity
untouched since earliest humans had used the cave. He saw clear signs of human activity embedded in layers under more 'recent' layers of sediment and rocks, of stones chipped into tool forms and the use of ochre color for decoration.

The present level of the cave mouth is several meters above sea level, yet the cave had originally been hewn out of the soft sandstone by wave and water action. That fact alone spoke volumes about the antiquity of the cave. Another very fortunate circumstance was that the floor of the cave itself had not been tampered with therefore it gave accurate readings about the age and use of the artifacts. There were signs of recent human activity, transient in nature, perhaps by fishermen. But they had not disturbed the integrity of the cave.



When the lab results came back, they revealed human cave activities there had dated back 162,000 years. That pre dates the earliest European cave dwelling activities which are a mere 50,000 years old by a whopping 112,000 years. Europe and Asia... Lascaux et al, ... were dethroned as the cradle of civilization. Now we acknowledge Pinnacle Point, South Africa as the Point of Human Origin. The archaeologist who first entered it was himself our lecturer and personal guide! Dr Peter Nilssen. Pinnacle Point of Human Origins has applied for UNESCO World Heritage status, in spite of the golf course development which went ahead without any modification and therefore now compromises the application.Visit the website www.Humanorigin.co.za for much more fascinating detail and information. We saw a fascinating Carl Sagan short on the tiny speck called earth which is at Facebook.com/the SaganSeries <br style="color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.701961); font-family: UICTFontTextStyleBody; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal;
The caves at Pinnacle Point below the golf courseThe caves at Pinnacle Point below the golf courseThe caves at Pinnacle Point below the golf course

caves in sheer cliffs facing the pounding waves of the Indian Ocean
-webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(26, 26, 26, 0.301961); -webkit-composition-fill-color: rgba(130, 98, 83, 0.0980392);" />As part of their private fund raising effort, a charge is made for lecture and tour of the cave of first discovery, and everyone who makes the tour gets their name Registered on the Roll of Honour at the Point if Human Origins. I shall be framing and displaying my certificate! Dr Nielssen was a youthful and fascinating person with boundless energy, a passion for this work, and an unending font of knowledge. His talk ranged from geology to anatomy to spiritualism to foods to plants to climate change..... The list is long. He was very interested in such topics as how behavior is affected by imprinting, the Kehoe philosophy and even mentioned my champion Edgar Cayce. <br style="color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.701961); font-family:
Halfway down the 157 steps to the cliff bottomHalfway down the 157 steps to the cliff bottomHalfway down the 157 steps to the cliff bottom

The lecture continued and we caught our breath
UICTFontTextStyleBody; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(26, 26, 26, 0.301961); -webkit-composition-fill-color: rgba(130, 98, 83, 0.0980392);" />By the time it was all over four hours had passed. Time for lunch! At the village of Mossel bay we found a fish and chips place called the Sea Gypsy where we sat at graffiti covered tables and discussed the whole event. Margarita Hinksoni left her graffiti on the table too.


Additional photos below
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Different rock formationsDifferent rock formations
Different rock formations

had fallen away from the cave mouth where, 190,000 years previous to that, first man had lived
Only very small groups are taken inOnly very small groups are taken in
Only very small groups are taken in

to preserve the cave and allow for a true experience, no more than 12 persons
Hundreds of discarded stone bits chipped off rocks by early manHundreds of discarded stone bits chipped off rocks by early man
Hundreds of discarded stone bits chipped off rocks by early man

just lying on the adjacent cave floor. Not of archaeological use as the earth strata in this lower cave had been disturbed.


5th March 2015
Different rock formations

FASCINATING!!!!!
Wow and double wow, Margarita!
5th March 2015

Enthusiasm is contagious
Margaret, this is fabulous! Wow. Nilssen sounds amazing. I wonder if my young cousin Simon Hoyte, who is working in SA in archaeology, knows him? I would imagine so. When you describe Nilssen's enthusiasm it reminded me of Simon's and suggests a source for the latter's, so evident in his own writing which I have been following. You can read it here: https://simonhoyte.wordpress.com/ Thanks soooo much for sharing!
8th March 2015

wow!!
Thats amazing..what a wonderful experience..

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