Using clues left behind over the millennia, we can trace our history in southern Africa from the very beginnings of human development, some 2.5 million years ago, to the present.
The Stone Age spans a lengthy period - from about 2 million years ago, to 1 800 years ago, and gets its name from the use made of simple stone tools. Divisions into early, middle and late Stone Age exist
, according to the complexity of the tools used.
Homo habilis made the earliest evidence of technological awakenings
, stone tools. Although archaeologists give names to various types of artefacts, which suggest a specific function, e.g., hand-axe, the actual function of these tools is generally not known. By between 1 million and 500,000 years ago
, the Homo erectus (`erect walking') people had developed.
They appear to have been more adept at catching small game
than their predecessors. They also appear to have been able to use fire. Later, by between 500,000 and 200,000 years ago at the end of the Early Stone Age, 'archaic' or early forms of Homo sapiens (`wise')
, the scientific name for the group that includes ourselves existed.
The Early Stone Age began some 2.5 million years ago with the Oldowan Industry made by Homo habilis, and ended by 200,000 years ago with the Acheulian Industry, made by Homo erectus and early Homo sapiens.
The earliest artefacts from this era date back as much as 1.7 million years. In the Kruger Park area, artefacts occur on most hilltops
in the Limpopo/ Luvuvhu floodplains, and along the Makhadzi Spruit, next to the Lebombo Mountains. It is interesting that they were some 80 to 100 meters from the present spruit, indicating that it might have been a river in earlier days.