Oldest Human burial in Africa discovered at Panga ya Saidi cave

The scientists have found the oldest human burial in Africa. The site is 78,000 years old. The cave site was discovered near Kenyan coast. The site is called “Panga ya Saidi”. The remains of a child whose age was two to three years led to the discovery of the cave. The child was put to rest with a pillow.

About the Child

  • The scientists have nick named the child as “Mtoto”.
  • The child was buried in a residential site.
  • The gender of the child is still unclear.
  • The child was placed in a flexed position. That is, the child was lying to its right side with the knees drawn towards the chest.
  • The pillow used to rest the child was made of perishable material.

About the site

The community that lived near the site belonged to hunter-gatherer culture. This is because remains of different types of antelope species and other prey were found at Panga ya Saidi. These people used stone tools to scrap and bore holes.

Significance of the site

Both ancient Homo sapiens and Neanderthal practised funerals.

Neanderthal Burial Site

The oldest Neanderthal burial site was discovered in Israel. It is 120,000 years old. It was discovered in the Kebara Cave. It is situated on the western escarpment (steep slope) of the Carmel Range. Kebara is a limestone cave.

In 1982, Kebara 2 was discovered. It is the most complete postcranial Neanderthal skeleton found till date. The Neanderthal (skeleton) was nick named Moshe.

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