In the dolomite rocks of the Kuruman Hills, in the Northern Cape, South Africa, is one of South Africa’s archaeological treasures, offering a glimpse into the very distant past. Translated from Afrikaans, Wonderwerk means ‘miracle’.

The cave itself extends some 139 metres into the earth, and preserves a record of almost two million years of intermittent human activity. Through the extensive archaeological work carried out at Wonderwerk, research has generated significant insights into Southern African early human history, including what is considered ‘the oldest evidence of the controlled use of fire’. Wonderwerk gives unique evidence and insights into how local humans lived many thousands of years ago during prehistoric early stone age times, when hand axes were the most recognisable tool form. Near the mouth of the cave, the walls are covered in paintings that feature a variety of animals include eland, elephant and ostriches.

Wonderwerk is a South African National Heritage Site and will soon be nominated for UNESCO World Heritage status.

The Zamani Project has visited this site several times since the first spatial documentation in 2005 as a part of the Wonderwerk Cave Research Project, an interdisciplinary and international collaboration that was initiated to explore this and other early archaeological sites in the region. Other field campaigns to Wonderwerk were in 2010 and 2019.

>> Read more about the "Wonderwerk Cave Research Project"

Similar sites with Rock Art:
Clanwilliam Dam (South Africa), Gamepass Shelter (South Africa)


> Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
> The Saville Foundation
> University of Toronto (2019)

Collaborators / Partners 

> Liora Kolska Horwitz (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
> Michael Chazan (University of Toronto)

3D Model of the Wonderwerk Cave

This model was created in 2010. It is a "not textured" model. To show the inside of the cave better, the top part of the Cave was taken away.

3D Model of the Wonderwerk Cave

This model was created in 2019. It shows the entrance part of the Cave. This model is fully textured.

>> back to the top <<

© Copyright 2021 Zamani Project - All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy