Blombos Cave is an archaeological site located in Blombosfontein Nature Reserve, about 300 km east of Cape Town on the Southern Cape coastline, South Africa.The cave contains Middle Stone Age deposits currently dated at between c.
The excavations at Blombos Cave have yielded important new information on the behavioural evolution of modern humans.From the initial excavations conducted in the early 1990s, the Blombos Cave project has adopted and established new and innovative research agendas in the study of southern African prehistory.While Henshilwood’s initial, doctoral research was directed towards the more recent Later Stone Age occupation levels, the focus since 1997 has been on the Middle Stone Age sequence.The Blombos Cave project has since then developed academically, economically and administratively; from being a local and small-scale test excavation to becoming an international, full scale, high-technological archaeological project.On Heritage Western Cape formally protected the site as a provincial heritage site.at the University of Cambridge: Holocene archaeology of the coastal Garcia State Forest, southern Cape, South Africa.
Blombos Cave was originally one of nine Holocene Later Stone Age sites that Henshilwood excavated and it was first given the acronym GSF8 (Garcia State Forest, site no. In 1997 GSF8 was renamed Blombos Cave and given its current acronym: BBC.
From 1999 to 2011 in total ten field seasons, each six weeks long, have been carried out at the cave site.
The archaeological record from this cave site has been central in the ongoing debate on the cognitive and cultural origin of early humans and to the current understanding of when and where key behavioural innovations emerged among Homo sapiens in southern Africa during the Late Pleistocene.
Archaeological material and faunal remains recovered from the Middle Stone Age phase in Blombos Cave – dated to ca.
100,000–70,000 years BP – are considered to represent greater ecological niche adaptation, a more diverse set of subsistence and procurements strategies, adoption of multi-step technology and manufacture of composite tools, stylistic elaboration, increased economic and social organisation and occurrence of symbolically mediated behaviour.
The most informative archaeological material from Blombos Cave includes engraved ochre, These findings, together with subsequent re-analysis and excavation of other Middle Stone Age sites in southern Africa, have resulted in a paradigm shift with regards to the understanding of the timing and location of the development of modern human behaviour.