Visit the Cradle of Humankind with the Alliance Française JHB

In celebration of Heritage Day, the Alliance Française of Johannesburg invites you to visit the Cradle of Humankind on Thursday 24 September 2015.


The visit will be hosted by Dominic Stratford (co-permit holder of Sterkfontein) and Francis Thackeray (former director of Human Evolution at the University of the Witwatersrand).

The tour includes:

- guided visits (in English) of two sites (Sterkfontein and Swartkrans),
- visit of a museum,
- picnic (bring your own) with discussion about human evolution through observing skull moldings,
- bus ride from the Alliance Française to the sites and back.

The Cradle of Humankind, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of the richest area in the world for fossils of hominins (or human ancestors) and various associated extinct and extant animals. The wealth of fossils in this region has greatly contributed to document the context and mechanisms of human evolution in the southern part of the African continent. Among the sites from the Cradle of Humankind, Sterkfontein and Swartkrans, located about 50 km north- west of Johannesburg, are especially remarkable. Sterkfontein, under nearly uninterrupted excavations for more than 75 years, has yielded the largest assemblage of early hominin remains in the world, found together with thousands of fossils of antelopes, primates, carnivores and rodents. The Sterkfontein caves contain several fossiliferous deposits, which cover more than 2 million years of human history. Of special interest is the recovery, in one of these deposits, of one of the most complete skeleton of Australopithecus ever found, nicknamed "Little Foot", and dating back to 3.6 million years ago.

Swartkrans, a couple of kilometres away from the Sterkfontein Caves, is equally remarkable. In this eroded cave, hundreds of fossils of Paranthropus robustus, an extinct hominin species that roamed South Africa two millions years ago, were uncovered. Furthermore, at Swartkrans some of the oldest pieces of evidence of controlled use of fire, most likely by groups of Homo ergaster occupying the cave entrance, were identified.

  • Fees: R300 per person / R200 for kids under 12, this tour is not suitable for children under 6.
  • Please bring your own picnic basket, sport shoes, a hat and sunscreen.
  • Book before 15 September at the Alliance Française: or 011 646 1169.

publie le 07/01/2016

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