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ACTIVITY: Historos Cave

John Reader / Photo Researchers, Inc.


Earlier in this lesson, you learned about the fields of archaeology and anthropology. Now you’ll be putting that information to use as you attempt to describe how early humans at a fictional site would have lived. While Historos Cave is fictional, the images in this activity are from a variety of sites in the area around Blombos Cave, South Africa. This activity will allow you to draw on information from earlier in the lesson as well as new research in order to draw conclusions about how early humans lived.


Blombos Cave is an archaeological site on the southern coast of South Africa, not far from Cape Town. In 1991, archaeologists began to excavate a wealth of artifacts that gave them new information about the early humans who had lived in the cave off and on starting about 100,000 years ago. Scientists have used the tools, fossils, paintings, and other clues found at Blombos to learn a great deal about the lives of early humans.
Historos Cave is a fictional cave similar in geography and composition to Blombos. Download the Historos Cave Worksheet. You’ll examine the photographs of the objects on the worksheet, all of which were found at this fictional site, to paint a picture of the daily lives of the people who lived there.
Often, as at Blombos Cave, scientists from different disciplines work together to analyze the objects and other clues found at a site. Together, they’re able to develop a detailed idea of the lives of the people who lived there. Now you’ll have a chance to be part of the interdisciplinary team working at Historos Cave.
Choose one of these disciplines and one image and think about the questions that a scholar from that discipline would ask:
  • anthropologist
  • archaeologist
  • geologist
  • paleontologist

For Further Discussion

In the Questions Area below, share your chosen discipline and some of the questions a scholar from that discipline would ask. Then, comment on someone else’s questions by writing about the ways in which looking at the cave from both of the disciplines, as opposed to yours alone, would strengthen your understanding of the lives of the people who lived there.

Want to join the conversation?