The beach at the foot of the cliffs stretched out towards the bay. It was a pleasant place, the limestone cave offered shelter from the sun and storms, the sea provided food and the forests above provided wood and additional foods.
The men spent their days fishing, or gathering shells to make into beaded necklaces for their women to wear, carefully boring holes in the shells and stringing them on cords.
It was a good place to stop, to relax, before moving on.
Blombos Cave on the coast of South Africa gives us a glimpse into the life and mind of our ancestors from 140,000 to about 70,000 years ago. We can tell much from the things they left behind, what they hunted, what they used, the beads they used and wore and from the signs of wear on the beads, that likely the strand broke and the beads themselves were lost.
We can tell that they were processing ochre and decorating themselves and their walls with it, that they were beginning to use symbolic language and geometric patterns. We can tell that they only stayed a little while and that the cave was occupied only sporadically.
So as we explore more of Africa, what other things will we find?