Archeology - Visit to Bolt’s Farm [fr]
In 2006, a partnership between CNRS and Ditsong National Museum of Natural History in Pretoria led to the creation of a French-South African scientific research team. Named HRU (Hope -Hominid Origins and Past Environments- Research Unit), the team works on the sites of Bolt’s Farm, located in the archeological area of Cradle of Humankind where remains of fossil hominids were found on various Unesco world heritage sites.
During the excavations, HRU discovered fossil deposits aged from 0,9 to 4,5 million years, representing the longest chronological sequence in Southern Africa. These paleontological deposits will help researchers to understand the evolution of the environment and the impact played by climate change on wildlife. They also hope to better understand the migratory relations between this area and Eastern Africa, partially responsible for the observed biodiversity.
On 23 October 2014, Ambassador Barbier and Frank Marchetti, head of cooperation and cultural affairs, visited the archeological site of Aves Caves, dated between 3 and 2,5 million years. It was a good opportunity for them to understand the complexity of Cradle of Humankind karst sites’ geology. Dominique Gommery, director of research at the CNRS (UPR 2147 – Dynamics of the human evolution), presented to them the excavation techniques and some of the fossils discovered on the site, as well as the various additional activities (study of the fossil material, geology, dating, isotopic analysis) that will help recreate the site’s history (how geological deposits and animal remains accumulate) and the environment at the time.