Apollo 11 Cave
|Apollo 11 Cave|
27,000-year-old stone slab drawings from the Apollo 11 Cave in Namibia.
The Apollo 11 Cave is an archeological site in the ǁKaras Region of south-western Namibia, approximately 250 kilometres (160 mi) southwest of Keetmanshoop. The name given to the surrounding area and presumably the cave by the Nama people was “Goachanas”. However, the cave was given its name by German archaeologist Wolfgang Erich Wendt who was working in the cave when he heard of the Apollo 11 crew's successful return to Earth on July 24, 1969.
The cave contained some of the oldest pieces of mobile art ever discovered in southern Africa, associated with charcoal radiocarbon dated from 27,500 to 25,500 BP. In total, seven grey-brown quartzite slabs were excavated from the cave. Besides the slabs, the cave contained several white and red paintings. The subject of paintings ranged from simple geometric patterns to bees, which are still a nuisance to the unwary traveler.
Art was also found near the cave in the form of engravings, on the banks of a riverbed, and on a large limestone boulder located 150 metres (490 ft) from the cave. The engravings consisted of depictions of animals as well as simple geometric patterns. It is hard to pin point dates of the engravings and paintings, but the paintings may belong to period as far back as 10,400 BP and the engravings may come from early settlers in the first millennium AD. These dates come from Wendt’s stratigraphic record of the site as well as evidence from other sites in the surrounding area.
More recent finds include two rib pieces (one with 26 notches; the other with 12 notches) dated to 80,000 BP.
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- Ralf Vogelsang et al.: New Excavations of Middle Stone Age Deposits at Apollo 11 Rockshelter, Namibia: Stratigraphy, Archaeology, Chronology and Past Environments. Journal of African Archaeology 8 (2) 2010, pp. 185-218.