Oldest bedding in the world found in South Africa – and it's at least 200,000 years old
In 2010, archaeologist Lyn Wadley discovered layers of sedge leaves interspersed with medicinal herbs in Sibudu Cave in KwaZulu-Natal. They were 77,000 years old and showed that early humans had purposefully made insect-repelling bedding areas for themselves.
And that is why Wadley recognised the latest find immediately when she and colleagues began excavating in Border Cave in the Lebombo mountains of KwaZulu-Natal. “The bedding there was better preserved, but it was the same kind of thing and as soon as I saw this similar occurrence in Border [Cave], I knew that this was it,” explains Wadley, an honorary professor of archaeology at Wits University.
The research team dated the broad-leafed floor coverings, mixed with ash, to more than 200,000 years ago, making it the oldest instance of humans intentionally laying down grass bedding.
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