Mossel Bay to seek World Heritage status for caves

Janine Oelofse

MOSSEL Bay’s famous Pinnacle Point Caves, where the earliest evidence of man surviving on marine life and engaging in symbolic human behaviour such as making tools was discovered, will be included in an application for World Heritage status.

The Mossel Bay Municipality said it was committed to constructing an interpretive centre for the caves should the site gain World Heritage status.

The application, coordinated by Heritage Western Cape, will include significant archaeological sites along the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu- Natal coastline.

Prof Curtis Marean, of the Arizona State University, and his team of archaeologists have over the past 12 years found evidence that early man lived in the Pinnacle Point caves between 40000 and 170000 years ago.

The SA World Heritage Convention committee, which oversees applications from South Africa, met in Mossel Bay to visit both Cave 13B with Marean and an old stone quarry at the Point, where the municipality plans to build the interpretive centre.

While it could take up to five years or more to obtain World Heritage status, plans are also afoot for the caves to be declared provincial and later national heritage sites. “The municipality is working closely with Heritage Western Cape, Mossel Bay Heritage, Mossel Bay Tourism and other interested parties in this regard,” the municipality said.

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